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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Do I find Miss Rye's Home Children records?

Kim asked
My great-grandfather's sister, Agnes Louise Bickerstaff, was a "Home Child" - she grew up in the Thame Workhouse to the age of 12, when she left with one of Maria Rye's group of pauper and orphan children for Canada, arriving there August 1872. At the US Federal 1880 census, Agnes was residing in NY State, age 22 - so it appears once she turned 21 she left Canada. The only indication of where she might have lived and worked in Canada is her life-long correspondence with a Mary Jane Wynes of Ontario, Canada. In checking the 1871 and 1881 Canada censuses, Mary Jane resided in the rural area of Sunnidale, Simcoe, Ontario with her mother. Is there any avenue to follow in determining where my Agnes Bickerstaff might have been living during the years 1872 through 1879-1880?

Olive Tree Answer:

Miss Rye's home was taken over by the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society but it is not known if the records survived. However, according to Marj Kohli, those records are being recreated by Gail Colins and Chris Sanham. You can contact Chris Sanham. Chris' email can be found online

You may also want to find out what is in Maria Rye's papers held at the University of Liverpool in England.

Apparently the annual reports contain brief biographical sketches of each child and details of their placing out as well as extracts from letters received from children. This may prove helpful to you. Good luck!

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