This post has been inspired by some reading I was engaged in this week. Whilst browsing through a social media site I was directed to a really interesting article; if somewhat very sad, about the plight of many British Home Children in Canada. British Home Children is the term used to describe children that were part of an immigration programme that began in the late 1860s and continued right up until 1948. It was a scheme designed with the intention of dealing with an ever growing problem of children being abandoned or separated from their families as parents sought work. Workhouses were becoming overcrowded and so the idea of sending children to Canada to be fostered out by families there was born. The intention was that children would be sent out under contract to farming families where they would be clothed, fed and educated in return for a small fee to recompense the families for fostering these children. The scheme was marketed as being much better for the children than the squalid conditions of living on the streets or in workhouses in built-up city areas. Children would be safe, healthy, enjoy fresh clean country air, good food and opportunity. History has since revealed that the reality was all too different. The scheme was poorly managed and monitored meaning that for the most part children were not orphaned and picked up off the streets as thought but came from intact families who had fallen on hard times through one circumstance or another resulting in children going into what was supposed to be temporary care to then being shipped out and separated from their families permanently and abandoned in a foreign country to a life that was far worse from the one they had come from. The original article that inspired my thoughts and gives an insight on the experiences of many can be read here.
For me family is everything. The most important people in the world are the ones immediately akin to you and you should “do or die” for them. That is the strength of feeling I have about my family and that attitude has given rise to some incredible family moments over the years that have reinforced these feelings even more. We are very close as a family it is fair to say. Very recently I had a birthday and received a most thoughtful gift from one of my brothers that shouted of the bond we share as a family and made me feel most special. That gift was a piece of paper hidden within a birthday card! Not any old bit of paper – this paper was special and made so by what was on it and what follows is an account of what came about as a result of receiving that bit of paper.
There are certain families on my family tree that I get messages and questions about more than others simply because they are so prolific and heavily researched. I spend so long researching these family names that they really do become a part of me. Some of my most heavily researched lines include the names of Brumby, Doo, Metcalfe, Batters, and Edwards. It is a member of the Doo family that I am writing about today who was as far as I can tell a bit of a local legend in his day but whose name is remembered in a way that even he would not have conceived of when he was alive. His name was Harold Emile Doo or H. Emile Doo as he was known in business or just Emile to those closest to him. He was my 3rd cousin 3 times removed and his Great-grandfather James Doo was the brother of Holmes Doo who was my 4x Great-Grandfather on my mother’s side. (Remember that name for I have further stories to tell of Holmes Doo and his family!) Continue reading