Frequently Asked Questions
Background and creation of the Home Children Canada (formerly BHCARA) British Home Children Registry
The concept of a British Home Children Registry was initially conceived by Perry Snow in 2000 in memory of his father, BHC Frederick George Snow (1909 - 1994). In November 2013 Perry transferred his rough spreadsheet to the BHCARA (Lori Oschefski) to carry on. Norah Dennis had begun a similar project and in 2014 her data was also transferred to the BHCARA. Many people have contributed to this endeavour over the years.
The aforementioned data from Perry and Norah was given to BHCARA volunteer LeeAnn Beer in 2014; who agreed to take on the project as registry administrator, committing to years of volunteer work. LeeAnn spent months merging and formatting the data, resulting in an initial list of approximately 61,000 children. Following LeeAnn's design for the new Registry database her husband Don Beer, a computer programmer and database administrator, wrote the coding for the online and searchable Home Children Canada (BHCARA) Registry you see today. Don continues to volunteer his expertise as this project progresses.
LeeAnn continues to volunteer full-time building this Home Children Canada (BHCARA) British Home Children Registry.
What is the definition of a Canadian British Home Child (BHC)?
- Aged 18 and under.
- Emigrated by an agency to be 'adopted', or placed as indentured servants (e.g. Barnardo, Macpherson, Birt, Middlemore, Quarriers) legally bound to their agency / placements. Often wages were held back until they became adults.
- Does not include the young people, often older teenagers, who voluntarily immigrated to Canada through the “assisted emigration” agencies to find regular employment.
I have found a child / person listed in the LAC Home Child database who is not in the BHC Registry... why?
The LAC "Home Child" database is a misnomer. The LAC Index actually contains many youths and adults who emigrated to Canada but, in fact, were not "Home Children". The data submitted to the LAC was initially created with the intent of being a general youth immigration index including more than just the "Home Children". A proper title for the LAC Index would be "Young Immigrants".
Were all BHCs British?
No. BHCs were emigrated from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Isle of Man; but they could have been born anywhere.
Does the Registry include BHCs emigrated to other countries?
No. The BHCARA is based in Canada and we are most familiar with Canadian records and Canadian BHCs.
Children who were brought to Canada, but subsequently left the country, are included.
Does the Registry include every BHC sent to Canada?
No. This Registry is a work in progress, with the ultimate goal of having every BHC sent to Canada included.
How accurate is the data in the Registry?
The registry contains compiled information, which by nature is subject to errors and should be considered a tertiary source. All data should be verified against original records. Where full dates were not known, calculated year of birth, age on arrival and/or arrival year may be off by one year. Where country of birth was not known, the country of the sending agency is entered. Again, all data should be verified against original records. We have compiled a collection of links to free research sources which may assist you.
Why can’t I search for an exact birth year or arrival year?
Many birth years, age on arrival, or arrival years have been calculated based on the other two numbers. Where months were unknown, this calculation could be off by a year. A negative search result based on an exact year could be misleading, therefore the default search includes one year either side of the year entered.
Why am I getting search results that do not resemble the surname I entered?
The search includes alternate names, alias, spelling variations and surnames adopted. However the search results page displays only birth surname.
Will more search features be added?
Yes. There are plans to expand on the search options.
Why is there a search option to include placement family surnames?
While legal “adoptions” were rare, some BHCs have been found on documents such as census returns with their placement family’s surname. If you check this box, the seach results will include all BHC currently in the Registry who are recorded as being placed / indentured to a family with the surname entered.
How can I add a missing BHC to the Registry?
The Registry will never be open for public editing and all future additions and amendments will be vetted. Work on the Registry is actively ongoing. Missing BHC are still being found during this process. We are not yet ready to accept any new submissions. If you are researching a BHC who cannot be found in the registry, keep in mind that the entire Registry has NOT been uploaded yet (read main search page). This answer will be amended once this work is complete.
How can I submit a correction for an existing entry?
The Registry will never be open for public editing and all future additions and amendments will be vetted. Work on the Registry is actively ongoing. It is quite possible some of these errors will be picked up during this process. Once we are ready to accept corrections, this answer will be amended. Please check back. Thank you!
How can I submit additional information for an existing entry?
The Registry will never be open for public editing and all future additions and amendments will be vetted. Work on the Registry is actively ongoing. It is quite possible some of this additional information will be entered during this process. When this part of the process is complete, this answer will be amended. Please check back. Thank you!
Are there duplicates in the Registry?
Quite likely. While every effort was made to identify duplicates while merging data from multiple sources, some may have been missed.
How can I report what I believe to be duplicate entries?
Work on the Registry is actively ongoing. It is quite possible some of these duplicates will be picked up during this process. When this part of the process is complete, this answer will be amended. Please check back. Thank you!
What happened to the "Claimed" feature?
(Discontinued 30 August 2021)
When Perry Snow started his Registry he offered to allow people to "claim" BHCs. A claimed BHC meant one or more people, likely relatives, had provided their name and email address so other researchers with an interest in the child may contact them via Perry. This was a time before social media. Initially BHCARA carried on with Perry's terminology offering the same free service, and had plans to add a claim/contact feature through the Registry's web site.
We have since reassessed the time required to code a claim/contact feature relative to our final goal for the Registry (archived and accessible for many generations to come). The claim information would never have been included in the end for archival puposes. Given the time this free service was consuming to keep up with filtering requests manually, and the fact we now have a large and helpful BHCARA (Home Children Canada) Facebook group, we feel our time will be better spent on BHC public awareness and special projects; and our programmer's time on Registry expansion plans.
If you are seeking out descendants of a particular BHC please do feel free to post in the BHCARA Facebook Group.
We may re-visit this in the future. Thank-you for your understanding.
What does “A.K.A. Surname” and “A.K.A. Given Name” mean?
A.K.A. means “Also Known As”. The child may have been known by this surname or could be found with a spelling variation in records that were misspelled or mistranscribed. May also include common misspellings. For given names this may include “nicknames” (e.g. Elizabeth known as Lizzie). Searches include these fields.
How is “Adoption” defined?
Adoptions occurring in Ontario before April 8, 1921 were made through an Act of the Ontario Legislature and are extremely rare. The BHCs noted as an “adopted” child on census records were likely terms of endearment and not a legality. Even when a child was raised using the surname of their placement family it was unlikely to have been an official adoption as we have come to know it today. For the purpose of this registry, “surname adopted” means a placement family’s surname the child was known by and used.
Can I add documents to a BHC’s entry?
No. This Registry is a repository of data from original records, not the records themselves.
Can I add a BHC’s photo to their entry?
Not at the moment. We plan to expand the registry to include BHC photographs in their record.
I previously submitted a BHC’s photo; what happened to it?
Lori still has your photographs saved. We plan to expand the registry to include BHC photographs and they will be added to the children’s information sheets at that time.
I have found a passenger list with a group of BHCs; how can I submit this information?
While we appreciate your efforts, for the most part at least one child in any given voyage is likely in the Registry. As time goes on we will be going over every passenger list known to carry BHCs to see if any children were missed. In the future, a process will be provided to submit voyage details should you find one completely missing from the registry.
This FAQ will be expanded as necessary.