Researching BICA boys can start with the same resources you would use to research any Home Child. One of the first places you can look is on Library and Archives Canada as noted elsewhere on this website:
Not every BICA boy is on this list, but most are. Here you will find information about the name and age of the boy, the organization that was responsible for him and the ship, dates of travel and destination.
Researching BICA boys who came to Canada is limited by the number of resources available. You may have discovered their relationship to BICA through a passenger record.
Each boy should be able to be found on two passenger lists:
1. On Ancestry, you can search the "UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960". If you are using ancestry.ca you will likely have to search for this in the card catalog to find it. This record set is also available on findmypast.
These passenger lists are often easier to read but have less information in them than the Canadian passenger lists. The boys are often listed as a group travelling together.
2. Also on Ancestry, you can search "Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935" These lists are much more revealing. The most important piece of information you will find here is the name and address of the boy's closest relative in the UK.
3. Again, on Ancestry, "Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924" has a very small percentage of the boys who came to Canada through the Boy's Hostel before they were officially accredited in May 1924 and to the end of 1924. Most of these boys came from Scotland through Cossar Farms, run by George Cossar.
All juveniles who came to Canada under the supervision of the government through the Dominion Supervisor of Juvenile Immigration were supposed to have had their situations inspected on a regular basis to be sure that their caregivers were treating them well and providing food, wages, clothing, schooling, and access to church. What remain of these inspections for the boys who came over with BICA are microfilmed cards with dates of inspection, name of farmer and general location of the farm. There is usually a notation about when the boy graduated from the program or if he returned to the UK. If the boy died while in the program, there would be a notation regarding that as well.
When researching BICA boys, use the following microfilm numbers to search for his inspection report on Canadiana Heritage. Click on the appropriate microfilm number in the search bar and search through the records which are organized alphabetically.
When researching BICA, few of the British Immigration and Colonization Association's own files remain. Unfortunately, an individual file for each boy does not exist.
Library and Archives Canada holds a couple of physical books with accounting information in them and the minutes of British Immigration and Colonization Association meetings.
There are two other sets of documentation:
A. The correspondence files between the Department of Immigration and Colonization and the British Immigration and Colonization Association. A number of boys names appear in this correspondence, but usually only if there is something irregular about their situation.
B. Three reels of microfilm which contain more than 2500 pages of immigration records regarding boys who were brought over between March 1924 and December 1927. Each boy may be found on
1. a Medical Certificate;
2. a "Form A" List of Immigrant Children on Board;
3. an Arrivals and Placements list.
Using the tools mentioned here you can discover something about where your BICA boy was in the years he was in the program. It would be difficult to fill in the blanks unless you find newspaper reports, school records, church records or can contact people who knew or met him.
If you wish to have me to do the work, please contact me and I will give you an estimate of cost. I have spent innumerable hours researching BICA and the materials that are available.
Furthermore, I have read through, noted the names of boys mentioned and transcribed the BICA files on the microfilms mentioned in A and B. If you wish me to look through my files, I will search for your name for a nominal fee of $10.00 CAD.
Search this site: