British Home Children Genealogy History Keffer-Diceman

The Project, Blogger Errors, Pinterest and the Trunk of Annie Margaret Stone

Posting Member: Jenn
Topic: Project Armageddon, Blogger Errors, Pinterest and Annie Margaret Stone’s Trunk
Family Name Associations: Stone, Carr, Diceman
Location: On a mountain of Pillows looking at all the pretty leaves changing colour.
Mood: Productive

Our internet was out this morning for a few hours so it gave me some time to work on a few things like this blog post!  Hope you all are having a fine week out there…  Lots going on over at this end.
Project Armageddon is coming along, we’re currently in the middle of building the new WordPress website and blog…  We’ve created a new Pinterest account that’s focused directly on Genealogy
We’re working on transferring fun pins we’ve collected, and finding lots of new ones.
Blogger is still having some serious error issues, so we’re really looking forward to being a part of the WordPress family.  One of the things we’ve been talking about making and sharing are info graphics.  It’s really an exciting way to share information and make it digestible to the masses – Including kids.  Once we’re all up and running that’ll be one of our new explorations!  Of course, there’s a lot to be accomplished before all of that can begin.

We took some time over Thanksgiving Weekend to take some updated photographs of Annie Margaret Stone Carr Diceman’s travelling trunk.
As some of you know, it was popular to send British Home Children on their voyage from the United Kingdom to North America with a wooden trunk containing belongings that were intended to begin their new lives.  It’s been stated that organizations wouldn’t let children take along anything from their former lives that encouraged a connection to their families.  The concept was that if it was a clean break and a fresh start, there wouldn’t be home sickness or a ship full of children who wanted to return to their families in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.  If the child came from a troubled family it was supposed to give them the ability to start a new life without those issues hindering them.  Remember it’s estimated that only 2% of BHC were actually orphans.
The contents in each trunk were uniform and new to the child.

When we first began learning about the British Home Children I was immediately drawn to the concept of a trunk being like a Fille du Roi dowry.  Anyone who has go far enough back into our family trees will have read that a Fille du Roi was given several things from the program installed by the King of France, Louis XIV, to begin their life in the new world.  One thing I most clearly recall is that the women came vastly unprepared for the harsh Canadian climate.  Along with two livres of spending money the women received the following:

100 livres (10 for personal and moving expenses, 30 for clothing and 60 for passage)
1 small hope chest in which to put 1 head dress
1 taffeta handkerchief
1 pair of shoe ribbons
100 sewing needles
1 comb
1 spool of white thread
1 pair of stockings
1 pair of gloves
1 pair of scissors
2 knives
1000 pins
1 bonnet
4 lace braids

I remember reading how they really needed warm coats, boots and mittens to cope with Canadian Winter.  Originally pretty city girls were sent to catch the male settlers eye, but after the program was established ‘sturdy’ girls from the country quickly became the most sought out mates simply because they were most likely to survive.  The Fille du Roi program ran between 1663-1673 and featured adult women capable of making up their own minds and seeking out their own destiny.  That’s almost two hundred years before British Home Children immigration schemes began.

From Lori Oschefski’s website,–bibles.html we gather a list of what would have likely been in our Annie’s trunk.

The Church of England Waifs & Strays Trunk:
3 night gowns
3 chemises
3 pairs of drawers
2 white petticoats, to be made with bodies if under 8 years of age
3 pairs of unbleached cotton stockings
2 cotton frocks made high with long sleeves and pockets
2 linsey frocks
1 warm petticoat for the voyage
1 plain brown ulster
3 pinafores
1 straw hat in a box, for Sunday
1 red hood for the voyage
2 pairs of boots
3 pocket handkerchiefs
1 brush and comb
a Bag
1 Bible and Prayer Book
1 box, 2×1 1/2 feet to hold everything and to be addressed with the childs name and care of Canada.
The lack of mittens, fur coats, warm socks or even the Fille du Roi’s thread and needles is somewhat telling for me.  Annie was only 8 years old upon her arrival, so she would have at least had the added warmth of a body length petticoat.  Really, it’s a wonder any of the children survived.

Annie arrived aboard the S.S. Tunisian in 1901.  She was born and from what we know, lived in London, but travelled from Liverpool, England to Portland, Maine, United States of America with 18 other girls from the same program, as well as another party of Dr. Barnardo’s children who were being shipped to their houses in Canada.  I’ve been told various reasons why shipping to Portland began, verses going right into Quebec as most of the other children did over the years.  From stories of the St. Lawrence river freezing to arguments between organizations and the Government over head-tax prices, and there has been no conclusive forth coming reasoning.  For whatever the reason Annie travelled to Portland and then was shipped onto Maine.  From Maine they travelled to Our Western Home at Niagara on the Lake.  Her trunk, as pictured below, carrying everything she owned in the world.





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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