Home Children as Parents

There are several factors in estimating the number of descendants of home children from statistics. You have to take into account the number of descendants of a home child, and then their descendants, and so on. At each stage there will be “leakage”.

On average, each home child had a certain number of offspring. Is that the same as for the same age cohort established in Canada?  Could a traumatic childhood have meant home children had fewer offspring on average? It could have meant they died younger before having as many children as the population at large.

Did home children leave Canada in greater numbers than the general Canadian population? Having moved at least once, so being less firmly rooted, they may have been more inclined to seek greener pastures by returning to their roots in the UK or trying their luck in the USA or further afield.

When it comes to the number of descendants it doesn’t matter whether the parent is male or female, but a complicating factor is if the mother and father are both home children.

Say each home child had three children; if both the mother and father were home children, then there would be three home children descendants rather than six.

How often do we have the situation of a home child mother and father? How might they make acquaintance? Perhaps at a church or social event in a small community.

Let’s look at a scenario.

100 boys go to a dance at which there are 100 girls. One of the boys is a home child. How does the chances of him making the best connection with a home child girl depend in the number of home child girls?

If there are no home child girls at the dance it’s zero. If one then it’s one in a hundred, 1%, and so on.

Now suppose twenty home girls are invited to a dance and eighty a non-home-girls. Similarly twenty home boys and eighty non-home boys. What is the probability that at least one home child boy and girl hit it off?

The answer is probability 0.34 or 34%. The calculation is based on conditional probability and the binomial distribution.

It’s probably greater as young people of similar background would likely find commonality of interest enough to be encouraged to get to know each other better than a random person.

The calculation assumes the chance of meeting is random and independent. But it could well be that someone goes to a dance with a buddy, he or she gets to meet someone who also came to the dance with a buddy, and the two buddies are introduced.

While I’ve heard of two home children marrying and having children I know of no statistics. If you do please leave a comment.

All these factors suggest fewer home child descendants than indicated by naive estimates.

3 Replies to “Home Children as Parents”

  1. Keep on this tracking of possibilities and stats, John. It is fascinating for those of us who are not statisticians. I think you are making a terrific case for a potential debunking of all that we have read and believed for decades.

  2. My comment is a bit perverse.

    I knew a fellow who was working for the company which rented out my house when I moved to the UK for 2015/2016. He was interested to hear that I did that to pursue FH research. He asked if I hd ever heard of home children. DUH, yes. He told me that
    his grandmother had an old trunk with things in it whch she had brought to Canada. From that I knew she had been brought here by Dr Barnardo, He told me how miserable her life had been as a home child, a very sad story. Fellow gave me her name and approx dates of B and D.

    So I told him I would look into it for him,

    One – from the Dr Barnardo records I discovered that twice she had made rather large donations from a relatively small salary she was receiving.

    Two – After three yars of her own arrival, her sister had paid her own way to Canada to join her. She must had given a good review of her experience in Canada for that to happen.

    Three – Each of the sisters married two brothers. Census data told me that the two families had six children between them, The husbands did well. Viewing google maps streetview showed that both their homes looked prosperous.

    That story had contradicted most of what he had told me. She may have had a tough life in the UK, but coming to Canada had clearly been succcessful for herself and her sister. I also gave hm all the records which proved what I had said.

    Fellow was shocked. He said his own siblings might be very interested in this, as the whole family had had such sympathy for her unhappy life,. I never heard from him again, though he had my name and address. I think Grannie was spinning a story to claim sympathy which may well have been undeserved. Cheers, BT

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