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Proformat News
No: 134
April 2017
April Seminars & Heritage Walks
2: SE cnr Adelaide heritage walk 2:00pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
9: SW cnr Adelaide heritage walk 2:00pm WEA Centre, bookings
12: English research 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
23: Nth Adelaide heritage walk 2:00pm WEA Centre, bookings
30: E of Victoria Square heritage walk 2:00pm WEA Centre, bookings

May Seminars
3: Discovering Scottish ancestors 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
9: Researching your Irish ancestors 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
17: Col Light’s plans for a great southern city 1836-7 7:30pm Marion Historical Society
24: Using newspapers as a family history aid 8:00pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
31: Identifying and dating 19th century photos 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide

See the seminar program for more details and bookings for 2017.

Catholic records
I do not regularly report new data on the big three sites—Ancestry, FindMyPast and The Genealogist simply because all constantly add records and it would fill up the newsletter. An exception that is of major interest is the work by FindMyPast that has launched an initiative to digitise the historic records of the Catholic Church across the UK and Ireland.

In this issue:
April Seminars etc
May Seminars etc
Catholic records
Historic England
Some recent emails...

Feature article


Graham Jaunay
Glandore SA 5037

Proformat News acknowledges the support by awe AWE

Historic England
The Historic England Archive enables free access to England’s historic buildings and archaeological sites to search. The catalogue holds entries for over a million photographs and documents.

Some recent emails...
Thank you for your extremely interesting Newsletters - never is there one that does not provide valuable information to this amateur family historian. Particularly the extensive exposé on the subject of DNA of which we are all tempted to try.
Regarding your latest Newsletter #133, listing the current and pre 1974-75 abbreviation of English, Scottish and Welsh counties mainly, it might be just what I need to convince a “23rd cousin" of mine in Liverpool if, with your permission I could extract a copy of the table and the following ISO notes below. It astounds me that when she refers me, to what are generally our mutual forebears regardless of how long ago it was that they were born, it is always in Merseyside! I can understand that for us older folk, it can be confusing when speaking of greater Liverpool as to whether it is Merseyside or Lancashire, Liverpool South or Liverpool North. I must admit that I now get confused over Greater Manchester and its encroachment into former neighbouring counties. Charts showing an overlay of the change of county boundaries are not as readily available of late as were once.
Like what must be tens of thousands of other readers of your Newsletter we selfishly hope that you will never retire. It is an outstanding service to the community and we hope that it gives you as much pleasure compiling this comprehensive Newsletter as it gives us as your readers.

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate these newsletters. I keep them all and often turn them into reference material and file them so that I can find them when I need reminders. This one is particularly useful for me right now! Thank you.

1. I wish it were 1000s of readers but 100s is far nearer the mark and the readers are falling away rapidly with subscriptions a mere half of what they were two years ago.
2. I am a pre-babyboomer and so full retirement is closer than I would wish!
3. Anyone may use the content of my newsletters on the condition they acknowledge the source.

What we understand to be an orphan—a child with no parents, collectively known in Victorian times as orphans, waifs and strays—are in the minority when it comes to examining this topic. In fact in the 19th and 20th centuries about two thirds of children deemed orphans had at least one surviving parent and the vast majority were from families experiencing extreme poverty.

Following the Poor Law Acts across the UK from 1834 to 1845 the poor or destitute were looked after by the workhouse. For a broad idea of the conditions endured you need go no further than a copy of Dickens Oliver Twist where he accurately described the overcrowded harsh conditions. At the time more than half the people in workhouses were children. Some went into the workhouse with their parents, others had parents who were unable to support them and some were orphans or had been abandoned by their families.

Before the introduction of the Poor Law Acts the responsibility for these people rested within each Church of England parish and were supported by a set of draconian laws to determine which parish had responsibility.

By the end of the nineteenth century thinking had changed and the workhouse was considered not the best place for children. This was not so much for their welfare but because the adults they were housed with could prove to be bad influences. The solution was to construct so-called cottage homes that were in reality generally large houses in which 20 or 30 children were housed. Many cottage homes had their own facilities such as schools, chapels and infirmaries—some even operated associated gardens and farms to provide a level of self-sufficiency. Usually a superintendent would oversee each cottage with each cottage managed by a live-in woman or couple.

Unfortunately for the children, they were only freed from inappropriate influences of adult inmates and in reality life in the cottage homes mirrored the workhouse. The system was designed around strong discipline with strict routines for schooling and mealtimes. Everything the child needed was provided on site—school, church, sport and recreation and training so children rarely or never left the premises. In many cottage homes children were given a uniform. Some of the larger establishments attempted to furnish the children for adult life by providing not only basic schooling but also a trade for the boys and skills used in domestic service for girls.

All of this proved rather expensive for administrators and so alternative solutions were sought that would lessen costs. The origins of child migration, a uniquely British concept, go back to 1618 when a hundred children were sent from London to Virginia. This concept found favour in the nineteenth century and programs were ramped up with Canada, Rhodesia, Australia and New Zealand being the major recipients.

Scottish Quaker, Annie Parlance Macpherson, founded the scheme known as Home Children in the 1870s. She worked in concert with philanthropic agencies such as the Fairbridge Society, Barnardos and the churches believing they were performing a charitable deed in shipping children overseas. In fact child migration was inspired by several motives, none of which gave first priority to the needs of the children involved. The reality was a convenient source of cheap labour on Canadian farms, boosting Australia's post-war population and preserving a white elite in Rhodesia. Such policies meant handicapped and black children were excluded!

From 1947 a popular immigration slogan was—the child, the best immigrant. They were deemed an attractive migrant category because they were thought to assimilate more easily, were more adaptable, had a long working life ahead and could be cheaply housed in dormitory style accommodation. Between 1947 and 1953 about 3200 children came to Australia under approved schemes. Thirty or so homes operated by voluntary and religious organisations were approved for the housing of child migrants. Records of this group are held by the National Archives of Australia and full details are outlined in Fact Sheet 124. Each Australian State Archive holds records generated by the schemes where the State Government was involved. The National Archives of Australia publication, Good British Stock: Child and Youth Migration to Australia gives a good account of the Australian role. It is available online.

The British, Commonwealth and State governments contributed towards running costs.

The final party arrived in Australia in 1970. Child migration removed over 130,000 children from the United Kingdom to Canada, New Zealand and Australia. In 1931 the UK Government introduced a childcare allowance of 7/6 per week and this saw the demise of many institutions as relatives who previously wanted nothing to do with the children now claimed them!

A website entitled Children’s Homes lists properties county by county and whether records are available.

Newsletter 37 presents the story for South Australia.
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