Young Immigrants to Canada

UWInfo | Young Immigrants | 19th Century Immigration | Genealogy | Local History

Girls' Friendly Society (GFS)

On January 1, 1875 a group called the Girls' Friendly Society was formed in England. This group was affiliated with the Church of England and run along diocesan lines. The Archbishop of Canterbury was the first patron of the organization later being replaced by Queen Victoria.

The GFS had as it's objectives:

In 1883, the GFS began to investigate the possibity of adding emigration to there work. This work was brought about by the fact that branches of the society were being formed in many of the colonies as well as in the United States.

In 1885, Mrs. Ellen Joyce was placed in charge of the emigration work for the GFS. The society sent women from its various branches in England, Ireland and Scotland to Canada. Hundreds of women, including some widowed women with children, were assisted to emigrate. The branches of the society in Canada would send members to the docks to meet the new arrivals. They would also be given assistance in obtaining lodging and work.

These women were sent all across Canada including: Montreal and Quebec City, P.Q.; Toronto, Niagara, Hamilton, etc., Ontario; Frederickton, NB; Winnipeg and Portage La Praire, Manitoba; Qu'Appell and Regina, Sask.; Calgary, Alberta; and Vernon, Kamloops and New Westminster, BC. Work was often found in domestic service, factories, and even as cooks in lumber camps.


Records at the Library and Archives of Canada are located in MG28, I349 and also 30 reels of microfilm from A1188-A1217 are available. These records contain minute books, correspondence and emigration registers (mostly on A1194-8).

Todays Girls Friendly Society in England and Ireland.

UWInfo | Young Immigrants | 19th Century Immigration | Genealogy | Local History

© Marjorie P. Kohli, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1996-2010
Last updated: October 27, 2010, and maintained by Marj Kohli