Young Immigrants to Canada

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Dr. Stephenson and the National Children's Home

Dr. Thomas Bowman Stephenson, a Wesleyan minister, was one of the founding members of the National Children's Home. The first home opened in England in 1869. Starting in 1873 the first of these children were sent to Canada.

In 1872, Dr. Stephenson came to visit Canada and with the assistance of local Methodists he raised $1500 which was used to purchase land and a home near Hamilton, Ontario (later at 1080 Main Street East). Mr. W. Sanford Evans became the manager of the home. Later Mr. Frank Mills would take over and be the longest serving superintendent of the home.

Children were placed in the Hamilton-Niagara area. At first the home sent both boys and girls to Canada but in the 1890s they stopped bringing girls. The National Children's Home estimated that about 85% of the children remained in Canada. The other 15% they claimed either returned to England or went to the United States.


Records for this institution can be found in the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC), C4708, RG 76, Vol. 46, file #1381 part 4. Among these records is a list of some 486 lads who enlisted during the First World War.

You can also contact NCH directly.

The LAC also holds a copy of the complete list of children sent to Canada by the National Children's Home (NCH) between 1873 and 1931. The list includes name, age or date of birth, sailing date and usually the name of the ship. The list was compiled by NCH from ledgers kept at the NCH home in Hamilton, Ontario, which were returned to NCH headquarters in England when the home closed in 1934. The ledgers are now held at the NCH archives at Liverpool University, but because they contain confidential information, access is restricted by NCH. To determine if a child's name appears on the indexed list, you can send an inquiry to the Genealogy Unit at the Library and Archives of Canada, using the on-line Genealogy Inquiry Form on their web site. Click on Send an Inquiry.

You may also want to check out the holdings of the University of Liverpool, Social Work Archives.

Lists of Children

If any one has additional information on any of these children please contact me.

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

© Marjorie P. Kohli, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1997- 2010
Last updated: October 26, 2010 and maintained by Marj Kohli