Home children

Between 1869 and 1939, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency's home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home. The children were mostly placed with families in rural Canada.

There were also some Middlemore children who were brought to a farm school in British Columbia between 1936 and 1948 by the Fairbridge Society.

On this page

Before you start

Gather information such as:

  • name(s)
  • approximate year and place of birth
  • approximate year of arrival
  • place of residence in Canada
  • religious denomination

Places to look

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has many home children records that are indexed by name in these databases:

We also have these records:

1. Juvenile inspection reports (RG76 C4c)

Immigration officials created report cards as they carried out regular inspections of children brought to Canada by various organizations. These records date from 1920 to 1932. However, there are a few from 1911 to 1917 and after 1932. There is usually one or two pages per child, showing these details.

  • name
  • age or date of birth
  • ship and year of arrival
  • sending organization
  • names and addresses of employers and wages paid
  • inspector’s comments, for example “good progress and character”
  • final comments, for example "completed, gone west”

Note that this series also includes inspection cards for some European children brought to Canada by:

  • the Armenian Relief Association of Canada (1923-1932)
  • the Canadian Jewish War Orphans Committee (1920-1921)

The records are arranged in alphabetical order. They are only available on microfilm because the original records have not survived. The quality of some of the microfilm images is poor.

The microfilm is digitized on our partner website Héritage. See Juvenile Inspection Reports for the list of contents for each microfilm reel and links to those digitized microfilm.

2. Immigration Branch: Central Registry Files (RG76)

There are files in RG76 with documents to and from organizations involved in juvenile immigration. The files usually contain annual reports, correspondence and information booklets. If a file has the word “lists” in the title, it means it includes the names of children. The files cover the years from 1892 to approximately 1945.

To search for files:

  • Go to Collection Search.
  • Select Advanced Search.
  • In the Database field, select Collections and Fonds.
  • In All these words, enter "RG76".
  • In Any of these words, enter a keyword. Examples of keywords:
    • Middlemore
    • Church of England
    • Barnardo
    • Marchmont
    • Fegan
    • Rye
    • Father Hudson

If you find a file of interest to you, make a note of the volume, file and microfilm number. Then go to our partner website Héritage to view the digitized microfilm.

  • Scroll down that page to find the microfilm you want to see and click to open it.
  • Most of the images show the volume and file numbers at the bottom or side of the page.
  • Skip ahead through the images to find the volume and file number you want.
  • The documents in each file are generally arranged in date order.

3. Published sources

Books about home children and the sending organizations can help you better understand the experiences of a home child ancestor. Some books include information about specific children. Use our Aurora catalogue to search for books. Try keywords like “home children,” or “home child,” plus:

  • genealogy
  • history
  • biography
  • an organization

We've prepared a list of books about home children from our Aurora catalogue to give you an idea of the types of books you might find. Each title in this list includes the author and the LAC call number.

  • Click on a title in the list to open the full catalogue entry. If you scroll down, you'll see a list of other libraries that hold copies. You can also check your local library’s online catalogue.
  • If the call number includes the word genealogy, the book is in the genealogy room at our Ottawa location.
    • Example of a call number: Genealogy Ref. - CS88 A2 A38 2003

Related resources

Our Genealogy Services has prepared an extensive home children resource guide to help with your research. It includes:

  • background information on the juvenile emigration movement
  • information about records held at LAC and at other institutions in Canada and the U.K.
  • information and resources for the different sending organizations and receiving homes
  • links to home children websites

You can request a copy of our Home children research guide in PDF format by using our Ask genealogy a question form.