Genealogy Hedgecoe-McKenna

Booth and Peers

I totally didn’t realize I hadn’t posted this.  Silly drafts!  Okay, so an update on what we were working on before we got side-tracked…

What we know:

We know that Louisa Mary Booth arrived on the SS Hibernian in June of 1868, having arrived with one of Maria Rye’s very shipments to Canada.  We know Louisa was about 16 years of age upon her arrival, that she was listed as a ‘Nurse’ on the shipping record, and that she served the Clare family in Montreal, Quebec before her marriage.

Some researchers don’t believe that British Home Children are ‘actual’ British Home Children unless they were orphaned, despite only about 2% of children actually being orphaned.  It was much more common for children to leave a widowed parent behind, or to have been illegitimate offspring in the first place.  Tragedy seemed to strike these little ones again and again before they were relocated by one charity or another.  One of the first questions sprung about the Hibernian shipping was, were the children actual orphans?  Did they fit into the trends of later BHC?  Despite John Sayers confirming that he believed these children should be included as British Home Children, we went about searching for additional support to our beliefs.

Searching for Louisa’s origins has always been a difficult prospect.  Her history doesn’t just present itself neatly, waiting for her descendants to display proudly on their websites and trees.  In order to verify the origins of other children on the 1868 June Hibernian, we had to take a look at the other passengers.  Specifically, I wanted another female approximately Louisa’s age.
Enter Miss Emma Hill.

On the 1868 June shipping of the Hibernian by Maria Rye, she was listed as 17 years of age, and also as a Nurse.  Locating Emma in England was not too difficult, however her relation to the family she stayed with brought on a whole new path of research.
Nurse Child.
Since finding the 1861 English Census, I’ve again seen the term in response to a BHC in a completely different line of research.  It seems to be an antiquated version of ‘Foster Child’.

1861 English Census records place Emma Hill (9 years of age) with the couple Elizabeth and William Green in Kings Norton, Worcestershire, England. Also in residence is the couple’s niece Eliza Bickley (27). Emma is born in 1852 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. She is noted as a ‘Nurse Child’ by relation.

1871 Canadian Census records place Emma Hill, age 20 years, as a Servant in the household of Miriam and I B McPherson in St George’s Ward of Ottawa, Ontario. Also in residence were the couple’s children Miriam (2) and Evan (1). Emma was noted as having been born in England in 1851 and was Anglican by religion.

Emma Hill’s similarities in age, occupation and shipping are enough confirmation for us to suggest a similar life story to other BHC, and to Louisa.  Rather than seeking out further information on our great great great Grandmother, we decided to start treating her like a British Home Child and see what results appeared.

What we’ve learned:

All these records stem from

If Louisa was 16 years of age in 1868, she was born in 1852, not 1854 like she later states in the 1901 Canadian Census.  Age variances are super common in BHC, mostly because they had no idea when they were born, had no paperwork or record of their own births and had no family to confirm details with.

We actually located the school record from 1861 first, and then dug up the corresponding birth record of Louisa Booth Peers.  Unfortunately, we have no idea WHICH residential school Louisa was houses at, due to the pages missing from the actual census.  We will endeavour to dig for that answer in the future.

1852 Birth Louisa Booth Peers

England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
Name: Louisa Booth Peers
Registration Year: 1852
Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
Registration district: West Derby
Inferred County: Lancashire
Volume: 8b
Page: 309

1861 Louisa Booth English Census

1861 England Census
Name: Louisa Booth
Age: 8
Estimated Birth Year: 1853
Relation: Pupil
Gender: Female
Where born: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Civil Parish: Huyton
Ecclesiastical parish: St Michael
County/Island: Lancashire
Country: England

Registration district: Prescot
Sub-registration district: Huyton
ED, institution, or vessel: 4
Neighbors: View others on page
Household schedule number: 102
Piece: 2741
Folio: 51
Page Number: 23
Household Members:
Name Age
Louisa Booth 8

Suddenly we’re open to an entirely new avenue of research!  As Mum said when we first had trouble locating ‘Louisa Mary Booth’, Mary could have well been a confirmation name.  In our family it was quite common to add in an additional name later in life, once confirmation was completed into Catholic, Methodist or Anglican faith.  That additional name was rarely added to official birth records but would later show up in marriage or death records.

If Louisa Booth Peers was indeed the name of our ancestor, the next records we discovered added more questions than answers.


(It wasn’t letting us upload the first file, and the pages were hard to read so we cropped it out for ya’ll!)

Lancashire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911
Name: Louisa Booth
Mother: Margaret Anne Peers
Register Type: Bishop’s Transcripts
Reference Number: Drl/2/312

Liverpool, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1906
Name: Louisa Booth Peers
Birth Date: 11 Jul 1852
Father’s name: John Peers
Mother’s name: Margaret Peers
Reference Number: 283 PET/2/40

Don’t get excited about ‘John Peers’, we did, and it was for naught.  It’s a transcription error, there is no John Peers!  Whatever had been written was crossed out, and Louisa’s almost bare entry was added in.  Again, confirming the same as the Bishop’s record above, Margaret Anne Peers was a single woman from Mill Road, Everton, born on the 11th, we can only assume that was the 11th of August when she herself later claimed to have been born, but in 1852.

Mill Road, Everton became our focus, only to discover the place was first a Workhouse, and second a Maternity Hospital that had been bombed in the Second World War, and now is a mixture of housing and parking space.  There are apparently few if any surviving records, and it is unclear if Margaret and Louisa were residence or were only there during Louisa’s birth.

There is only 5.7 miles in between Mill Road and St. Peter’s Church where Louisa Booth Peers was born.  Strongly suggesting that Margaret Anne Peers took her daughter there for baptism on her own.

St. Peter’s Church, Liverpool

So far, we have only one lead in Census for Margaret Peers, with no indications to her being married, or who her family was.

1841 English Census MargaretPeers

1841 England Census
Name: Margt Peers
Age: 20
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1821
Gender: Female
Where born: Lancashire, England
Civil Parish: Childwall
Hundred: West Derby
County/Island: Lancashire
Country: England

Registration district: West Derby
Sub-registration district: Wavertree
Piece: 511
Book: 5
Folio: 15
Page Number: 22
Household Members:
Name Age
Timothy Webster 45
Elizabeth Webster 42
Thomas Webster 17
Jane Webster 12
Timothy Webster 7
James Webster 5
Elizabeth Webster 3
Margt Peers 20
Thomas White 20

And that’s as far as we’ve gone.  In the future, we’ll try and identify which school Louisa was in, to try and find out if there is any hope of records of her there beyond that one surviving census page.  Because it’s so long ago, we highly doubt anything will show up in regards to Maria Rye – After all Annie Stone came with her years later and there’s little to show for that as well.

We hope all you cousins are keeping well out there.

Always one for making things pretty, Jenn is our resident artist. Métis, British Home Child Descendant, family historian and genealogist, she is always looking into some new branch of research and encourages historical preservation and education.


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