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Belonging
[British Home Children]


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Gordon Watts Reports
Column published: 23 June 2006
By: Gordon A. Watts   Biography & Archived Articles


Gordon A. Watts Topics in this week's issue include:
  • Visitors from afar
  • British Home Children Society
  • Genealogical Societies lose remote access to Heritage Quest
  • 2009 World Acadian Congress
  • New research tool at Library and Archives Canada


Visitors from afar

Anyone having done genealogical research in Nova Scotia, and in particular the Lunenburg area, will know the name of Christopher Young. Chris has put together a number of books and CDs, including the Register of the Foreign Protestants of Nova Scotia (Bell's Notes) and Maps Associated with Lunenburg County Family History. He has contributed greatly to the content of websites dealing with Nova Scotia in general, and Lunenburg in particular.

Chris works for the federal government and recently moved temporarily to Summerland in British Columbia where he is helping to install some specialized equipment and training others in the use of it. On the first weekend in June I had the pleasure of hosting Chris in my fifth-wheel trailer at Holiday Trails Camperland, an RV Resort adjacent to Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park, about twenty minutes drive east of Chilliwack.

Over the years Chris and I have had reason to correspond through e-mail regarding our common interest in Lunenburg, and occasionally about access to Historic Census records, but we had never met until this weekend. Chris stayed with me from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, when he returned to his temporary home in Summerland.

On Saturday afternoon we had a visitor whose name is also likely familiar with many Lunenburg researchers. Frank Wagner, another 'Lunie' who now lives in Chilliwack, came out to visit for a few hours. Many will recognize Franks name in connection with his transcriptions on some Lunenburg webpages, and postings to the Lunen-Links mail list.

Understandably, much of our conversation at this time had to do with genealogy. Chris was kind enough to show us two Power Point presentations that he had prepared. One of these presentations concentrated on the migration of the Young (Jung) family from Germany to Nova Scotia, and their participation, along with other Foreign Protestants, in the founding of Lunenburg in the spring of 1753. Chris had given two showings of this presentation to Jung (Young) relatives on a recent trip to Germany. The second presentation dealt with the time spent in Germany and his travels there.

No trip to this area is complete without taking a hike up to view the falls from which Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park takes its name. For someone in reasonably good shape, it is about a fifteen or twenty minute uphill hike from the RV park. Our trip to the falls served as a reminder to me that I have to get away from the computer and get physical more frequently than I do now.

Our visit was enjoyable, and went more quickly than perhaps either of us would have liked. We will, however, get to meet again. On the weekend of 24 June, Chris will be returning to the Vancouver Lower Mainland area where we have arranged a mini-reunion of some of those in the area having ancestral connections to Lunenburg. Bernie Sheehan, who lives in South Surrey, will be hosting a barbeque for a dozen of so of us at that time. 'Reunion' is perhaps not the proper term to use, as for the most part those attending will not have met before. In any case, it should prove to be an interesting get together. I will include a report on this gathering in a future column.

For those wishing to meet Chris but who are unable to join us at this get together, all is not lost. During in his time in Summerland Chris hopes to be able to meet with others in that area, in Kamloops, and perhaps on Vancouver Island where he served many years ago during his time in the Navy.



British Home Children Society

Starting about 1870, a little-known British Child Emigration Scheme comprised of some fifty child-care organizations, emigrated 100,000 children to Canada. These children, orphans and others for whom their parents were either unable, or unwilling, to care for, were between 6-15 years old and were known as The Home Children. The familial ties of these children were frequently broken once 'in care' and sent to Canada.

The professed motive of these organizations was to provide these children with better lives than what they might have had in England. Unfortunately it did not always work out that way. Many of these children suffered from child neglect and abuse, and were often treated only as unpaid indentured farm labourers and domestic servants. The practice of exporting Home Children to Canada persisted, interrupted only by WWI and WWII, until the mid-1960s, when 15,000 children were sent to Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. Few British Home Children were able to remain in contact with their families once they arrived in Canada. Many British Home Children spent their lives trying to find their parents and siblings. Many of their descendants inherited their ancestors' lifelong search for their identities.

The name of Perry Snow is well known to those researching British Home Children. Author of "Neither Waif nor Stray: The Search for a Stolen Identity", Perry has for several years been administrator of the Rootsweb mail list for British Home Children. Perry has recently been instrumental in the formation of the 'British Home Children Society'.

The primary goal of the British Home Children Society is to create a comprehensive database of individual British Home Children records called the British Home Children Registry. This Registry will collect information about each individual British Home Child to create an ongoing legacy that will preserve their identities in perpetuity. The Registry currently has +50,000 individual records.

The website for the newly formed British Home Children Society is http://members.shaw.ca/persnow/home.htm

To join the British Home Children Society or to order the snowflake pin pictured here, go to http://members.shaw.ca/persnow/member_order.htm



Genealogical Societies lose remote access to Heritage Quest

Those researchers accustomed to accessing the large Heritage Quest and archived newspaper databases online from home, through subscriptions paid by various Genealogical and Historical Societies, will be disappointed to learn that they will soon be unable to do so.

Proquest, the company that provides Heritage Quest Online, was not prepared for the vast numbers of genealogy researchers taking advantage of this at home service, and has been losing money providing it. As a result, as current contracts with the various genealogy organizations expire, members of those groups will no longer be able to provide at home remote access to these databases.

As I understand it, this change in policy will affect those using remote at home access only through genealogy societies, and will not affect those libraries that offer the service. Public libraries, because of the expected high public access, have paid much higher rates for remote online access than have the genealogy societies. It is expected that many libraries offering this service will continue to do so.

It is unlikely that many genealogy societies would be able to afford the increased costs to allow Proquest to make a profit, or at least to break even, by continuing to provide at home remote access to their databases. We do not expect companies to continue providing services at a financial loss. It is always disappointing however, to find yet another source of information being lost to those unable to travel for the access they seek. I suspect that this change in policy may affect more researchers in the US than it does for those of us in Canada.



2009 World Acadian Congress

The 4th World Acadian Congress (CMA 2009) will be held from August 7th to August 23rd, 2009, in the Acadian Peninsula, in northeast New Brunswick.

The goal of the 2009 World Acadian Congress is to celebrate the Acadian people's heritage, to demonstrate the vitality of its language, culture and economy, to promote the Acadian Peninsula throughout Acadia, to strengthen ties between Acadians from all over the world, and to build an Acadia focused on its future, ready to enter the 3rd millennium with full force.

CMA 2009 invites a wide participation by Acadians from around the globe, either in person or through the use of modern communication technologies. For more information regarding the CMA 2009, visit their website at http://www.cma2009.ca/contenu_en.cfm?id=44



New research tool at Library and Archives Canada

The following announcement from Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada was included in the May-June 2006 issue of the LAC Newsletter.
    "I am pleased to announce that "Search All," a new electronic research tool, is now available on the website of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). It provides single-window access to the content and databases found on the LAC website, connecting users to LAC resources quickly and directly. "Search All" enables you to search various LAC resources at once, including the website, the library catalogue (which comprises records from over 1,300 contributing Canadian libraries) and the many archival descriptions. More importantly, it allows integrated searching of published and unpublished materials across the LAC collection.

    Other functions, such as the ability to search by keyword, offer many benefits. More specific functions allow you to limit your search to library, archives or website content. For example, "Archives Search" offers an integrated view of LAC archival descriptions, with links between the hierarchical levels of description. "Smart search" technology lists and ranks your search results, showing the most relevant information first; it also lets you refine searches and sort results.

    In the future, you can expect to see more sophisticated search capabilities, an expansion of one-stop searching to include additional LAC resources, and the online ordering of materials for consultation or copying.

    "Search All" has been launched as a field trial to encourage your participation in its development. We appreciate any suggestions you may have. Try "Search All" or use the search box located in the top right corner of the LAC home page and tell us what you think about this new tool."
[NOTE: many Library and Archives Canada databases can be accessed here.]



Until next time.

Gordon A. Watts gordon_watts@telus.net

Your comments regarding this newsletter, and suggestions for future articles are welcome. Click here to send me a message with a subject line of "Gordon Watts Reports".

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