Letter: Sisters torn from family

Dear Editor,

Thank you for telling something of the truth about the children sent to Canada by Barnardos. My grandmother’s two sisters were taken and sent out to farmers as servants even though they were not yet in their teenage years. They were widely separated from each other and never saw their mother or other siblings in England again.

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They were my blood relatives and yet I cannot obtain copies of the records that Barnardo’s kept at the time, even though I paid for that. The secrecy rules of the Canadian Government prevents those seeking ancestral contact with past family members, even though those members have long since died. One can only assume that they have something to hide including what revenue, if any, they were paid by the farmers who used these children. One has to make the observation that this was white slavery. My two great-aunts were not orphans.

One was my grandmother’s half sister, named Alice Staines and the other a full sister Emma Roberts. The photographs were taken by Barnardo’s and one can only think, with the close haircut and tattered clothes, that photographs such as this were taken to elicit donations from members of the public, Possibly as part of the before and after photographic illustrations they produced. The poem is by me and was initiated by the look of fear I see in the eyes of those very young girls, part of my family.

The author of the above letter is in search of more information - if you have any info regarding the aunts mentioned above, please contact the Melita New Era.

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