Here is a novel that could keep you enthralled as the evenings draw in. Although it is a work of fiction it contains some useful tips about tracing ancestors who were part of the child migrant programme.
The Vanished Child by M J Lee is the fourth in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series and sees the ex-police detective and Genealogist investigator search for a long lost man. The researcher must find the older half-brother that her elderly step-mother never knew she had until her own mother confessed on her death bed to having had an illegitimate first child.
The boy had been placed in a children's home while his mother attempted to get back on her feet, only for him to be shipped off to Australia before she and her new husband could claim him back.
Background to the novel
In the 1920s to 1970s more than 130,000 children were sent to a “better life” in Australia and Canada, under the child migrant programme.
The children ranged in age between three and 14 and mostly came from deprived backgrounds and were already in some form of social or charitable care, such as the boys' home in the fictional story. At the time, it was believed that the children would lead happier lives in their new countries and charities such as Barnardo’s and the Fairbridge Society, the Anglican and Catholic churches and local authorities helped with the organisation of their emigration.
The truth is that many ended up being abused or suffering hardship.
Well worth a read:
Here is the blurb on the author's website:
What would you do if you discovered you had a brother you never knew existed?
On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and temporarily placing him in a children's home. She returned later but he had vanished.
What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go?
Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets, and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth.
Can she find the vanished child?
This book is the fourth in the Jayne Sincalir Genealogical Mystery series, but can be read as a stand alone novel.
Every childhood lasts a lifetime.