There's more going on in Canada this week than the Winter Olympics.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was expected to issue a public apology today for the long-abandoned British policy of shipping children from poor families and orphans off to its colonies.
But from 1869 into the World War II years an estimated 150,000 of these poor British children were sent to Canada, Australia and other colonies of the British Empire. About two-thirds of those "home children" ended up in Canada and about half – an estimated 70,000 – were dispatched to the province of Ontario
As many as 10 percent of Canadians are descended from these children, who often worked as farm hands and servants on their arrival. Norah Dennis of Seattle, Washington, has spent 25 years tracking down information on her great-grandmother, Catherine Carroll, who arrived in Canada in 1892 as an 8-year-old illegitimate child from the slums of Liverpool.
"The search for Catherine has meant everything to me," Dennis told the Ottawa Citizen, adding that the apology is “long overdue.”
Dennis' research has led her to the family that took Catherine in before she married in Ottawa. She died in 1906 while giving birth to her sixth child, Dennis' grandmother. Catherine's family scattered after her death and her background was a taboo subject.
"My family was a wreck," Dennis told the Ottawa paper. "Nobody would talk about anything."
She became involved in the British Home Children Descendants group and tracked down her great-grandmother's burial site in Kazabazua, Quebec, where she plans to place a granite headstone."
"It will state that she was a home child," Dennis said. "So many of them were forgotten and thrown away. I'm determined she will not be."
Most of us have stories in our own families of people rising above difficult circumstances. Have you found yours yet?
Writing prompt for the day: Write about someone in your family tree who has shown great determination, resilience or strength during trying times.