Between 1869 and 1930 several thousands of young boys and girls immigrated to Canada from Great Britain. These children were known as “home children”, “orphan immigrants, or “young immigrants”. They were from homes in England, usually run by charitable organizations or churches, that took them in when parents died or could no longer look after them. Churches in Canada handled requests for children to work on farms or as domestics in homes across Canada. Some of the well known homes were Barnardo’s, Middlemore, and Rye.
My grandfather on Dad’s side, George Alfred Davis, was one of these home children. His mother had died and his father couldn’t look after him so he was consigned to Middlemore Homes. From there he was sent to work on a farm in Dumfries, New Brunswick in June 1900. This area is located in the St. John River valley and is known locally as “The Barony”.
I have already done the genealogical research and written a short family history on my Dad’s family, now using this research data plus historical background I want to try a different approach to telling his story.
One of my writing projects is to tell his story in a more entertaining way. To accomplish this I intend to use a writing technique called “creative nonfiction”. What is that you say? “Creative nonfiction” writing blends historical facts with interpretation to tell a true story. Educated assumptions are woven throughout to better detail the conditions of the time.
For example, I know what ship he came to Canada in, so using research I am able to reconstruct what the conditions on board ship would have been like. Even though I don’t have his actual thoughts and writings, I can still relate in story form what his experiences would have been like. The result is almost like a novel, except of course it is supported with facts and historical background research. The result is a true story that reads in an entertaining way.
I will be posting extracts from it here in the near future. Watch for it. My intent is to publish it in book form eventually.