Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Talk to be given on Home Children

A press release has just been received from Touchstones Nelson -

"Are you a descendant of a British child immigrant? Is there a “home child” in your family background? How would you know? Join historian and author Art Joyce Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at Touchstones Nelson, Shawn Lamb Archives, 502 Vernon St., Nelson, BC for his presentation "Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Honouring Canada’s Child Immigrants".

These girls from the Barnardo's homes in England were among the 100,000 British poor children who were emigrated to Canada between 1869-1939. The families of the children often had no choice in their emigration and they were forced to work on farms or as household servants until legal age for little or no money. This group is arriving at St. John, New Brunswick in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

Between 1869 and 1939, 100,000 children were emigrated from Britain to Canada as a means of providing indentured labourers for newly developing farms or – in the case of girls – domestic servants for households. Tens of thousands more children were sent to Australia and New Zealand. Siblings were often separated and in most cases never saw one another or their parents again.

Joyce discovered that he was the grandson of just such a “home child” five years ago while doing genealogical research into his Joyce ancestors. Since then he has expanded his interest to include research on the history of Canada’s child immigrants, and in particular, the impact of this on families in the Columbia Basin.

He plans to compile a book based on both his family’s experience and the experiences of other Basin families who have “home children” in their background.

Joyce is the author of two books of West Kootenay history, "A Perfect Childhood and Hanging Fire & Heavy Horses", on the heritage homes and public transit of the historic city of Nelson, BC. A passage from A Perfect Childhood is quoted in the Knowledge Network’s BC Moments series and he was a popular heritage columnist for the Nelson Daily News from 1996-2000. For the past seven years he has worked as reporter and arts and culture editor for the Valley Voice newspaper in the Slocan Valley. Joyce is also the author of two recent books of poetry".

The website is at

A special "Canadian Military" websites and blogs will be listed here on Monday November 7th!