Home Children and Descendants Who Left Canada

When estimating the number of home child descendants living in Canada and the proportion of the present population they constitute, it’s essential to account for “leakage.”

How many home children and subsequent generations left Canada? Was it in more significant 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.

There’s some pertinent information in an undated confidential publication from the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Canadian Immigration Policy and Backgrounds, which includes data as late as 1937. To summarize:

1901-1911:  Immigration was  1,847,651. The net
growth in the immigrant population was 887,461, so 960,190 were lost, perhaps no more than 90,000 of those to death. That’s 47% lost to emigration.

1911-1921: The text mentions, “In 1921, only 50.3 percent of the survivors of the 1911-21 immigrants were still in Canada.” That means by the end of the decade, 49.7% of immigrants were not residents, which would include war dead.

1921-1931: “From calculations based on the Censuses of 1921 and 1931, on the percentage of immigrants still living who arrived in any decade and are still in Canada, we find only about 26.3 percent, or 1 in 4 remain for a period of over 30 years, 38.8 percent for 20-30 years, around 42 percent for 10-20 years, while a little over 50 percent. remain after from one to ten years.”

A reasonable conclusion is that estimates of the percentage of home child descendants in today’s population that do not account for emigration from Canada will be wild overestimates.


2 Replies to “Home Children and Descendants Who Left Canada”

  1. Hi John – Interestingly, my grandmother Helen Ronald Brown and her young brother Robert, were Quarriers Home Children arriving in Canada in 1890 from Glasgow. Both children were sent to Brockville. According to records I received ages ago from Quarriers my grandmother was ill in May 1894 (typhoid – Brockville Hospital). I have been unable to find where the children were sent after they arrived in 1890 – in other words 1890 – 1894 blank. My grandmother and her brother had an elder brother in Scotland who financed their return to Scotland in October (?) 1894 …. and the rest is history. How her brother managed to finance the fares I have no idea. Robert died when he was 18 and my grandmother died in 1950 – she had three children and one grandchild (moi).
    While growing up I never knew any of this history – I don’t even think my father knew.
    I wonder if it is possible to find out where they were sent in Brockville – I have tried but no success. Told there was a fire and records destroyed. Thank you for reading this. Ena Doyle

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