Saturday, 11 April 2009

Argenteuil, Quebec

On 24th January I wrote a blog piece on 'Home Children'. Today I'm able to follow it up. There is a good genealogy network called 'Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness' (RAOGK) to which I belong. I get a request about every other month to do a bit of research for someone. Last week it was for Margaret  in Nevada, USA. She kindly offered to reciprocate by looking up Thomas McIllhagga (from my 'Home Children') in the 1911 Canadian Census. She found him despite the enumerator mangling has name as Mc?llaggs. But he is where we expect to find him, in Mille Isles, Argenteuil County, Quebec: 'Mc?llhaggs, Thomas; M; Domestic; S; 1895; 16'. He is 16 years old, born 1895 (Day and Month omitted), single and his relation to the family is 'Domestic' (read 'servant'). The family consists of only three people: Frances 70, Mother; Thomas 45, Head; and Elizabeth, Wife; There do not appear to be any children, though 'next door' there was a large Patterson family with 9 children, aged 16 down to one. They are headed by Mary 40. Unfortunately the 1911 Census in Canada does not seem to give people's occupations.

My guess is that Thomas and Elizabeth Patterson took a 'Home Child' because they had no children of their own. 1911 may well have been before there were any formal adoption procedures in Canada. My guess is confirmed by looking back to the 1901 Canadian Census, before Thomas went out to Canada. Then Thomas and Elizabeth had a 12 year old 'Domestic', probably another 'Home Child' - John Acherley. By 1911 he would have been 22 and no doubt 'flown the nest', though I have failed to find him anywhere in Canada. Interestingly in 1901 Thomas Pattersons' parents lived 'next door' when clearly his father was still alive - another Thomas (aged 70). With Thomas and Frances (Fannie) were five younger siblings of Thomas who had married Elizabeth, namely Robert, Andy, Sarah, Richard and Edmond.  Thomas McIllhagga found himself in a large extended family. Let us hope they took him to their heart and that his experience as a teenager in Canada was a good one. And thank you, Margaret in Nevada.

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