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Neither Waif Nor Stray: The Search for a Stolen Identity Paperback – February 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Universal Publishers; 1 edition (February 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581127588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581127584
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,780,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

My Father became a ward of the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society when he was four years old in 1913. When he was 15, they gave him the choice of emigrating to Australia or Canada. No one wanted him in England. They sent him to work on Canadian farms as an indentured farm labourer. He was part of the little-known British Child Emigration Scheme in which fifty child-care organizations emigrated 100,000 children to Canada between 1880-1930. An unknown number made their way to the United States. These alleged orphan children were between 6-15 years old and were known as The Home Children. The organizations professed a dominant motive of providing these children with better lives than what they might have had in England, but they had other ignoble motives. Half of these children suffered from child neglect and abuse. The scheme persisted interrupted only by WWI and WWII until the mid-1960s when these organizations sent 15,000 children to Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.

My Father never had a Birth Certificate. He had nothing to verify who he was for the first 33 years of his life. For the next 15 years, he carried a tattered To Whom it May Concern letter that stated his name and identified him as of British nationality. For the first half of his life, he had serious doubts if his surname was really Snow. He wondered if someone had simply invented it for him. When he was 48 years old, he obtained a Baptism Certificate that confirmed his name, identified his Mother, but not his Father. For the next 16 years, this was all he had for identification. When he was 64 years old, he received his Canadian Citizenship. He wrote to the Waifs and Strays Society for 55 years, but they withheld from him the vital information he so desperately sought. Why did they not want him to know who he was? I resumed his lifelong search following his death on his unconfirmed birthday in 1994. The Children's Society reluctantly released his 82-year-old case file to me. It took me four years to identify his Parents and locate his Family.

Your ancestors may have been British Home Children. You may be one of the four million of Canada's "Invisible Immigrants." Your ancestor's stories do not appear in Canadian school curricula. The British childcare organizations deliberately severed the Home Children's familial ties. The four million descendants have a potential 20 million British relatives. If one purpose of the scheme was to simply rid Britain of an unwanted element of their society, they only partially succeeded. They underestimated the strength of needing to know who you are - to have an identity. I hope the successful conclusion of my search will inspire others to persist until they re-establish their familial ties. No one should live their lives without knowing who they are and to whom they belong. It is your birthright to know your heritage.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Beatty Alexander on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Powerful! A must read for anyone who suspects they may have a Home Child or Orphan Train Rider ancestor. Mr. Snow gives hope for researching these lost ancestors. Too many people do not know that these children were placed on both sides of the US/Canadian border. Mr. Snow's analysis of the psychological effects should help Home Children and their descendants to understand how this shameful scheme shaped their lives. My thanks to Mr. Snow.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George Johnson on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
A truly amazing story. It makes a person who is aware of their family background and lineage realize what it means not to have one, and that one's identity and heritage is too easily taken for granted. A good read of a untold part of our history. George J.
I was awed by the courage and resilience of Mr. Snow. I was moved by this story and the impact it has had on many Canadians. Well worth a read. Liz J.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roxanne Hein on October 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was so excited to see my Grandfather's name in print; Reginald Marshall Worby. It is too bad that he died before the printing of this book.
My Grandfather was at St. Augustine with Perry's father. I have been in contact with Perry via email.
I can now understand why my Grandfater cried when he was telling me about his experiences as a boy. I am sure my Grandfather purposely left a lot out of his stories, things he was trying to forget. I did a paper on his life story when I was in highschool, it makes me sad to know that so many of these children were treated so cruely.
My Grandfather did eventually find his family, he was one of the lucky ones as many families are still looking for their roots.
Thank you Perry!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Putzig on July 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Perry Snow book has opened my eyes to my own families past and thanks to Perry his love for his father and in his words for the home children,I am pleased to say i have recieved a confirmation on my own grandmother that she was know to Barnardos am expecting something soon..Thank you Perry Snow your father would be proud ..And i hope all read NEITHER WAIF NOR STRAYS..It is our stolen idenitys.God Bless you Perry
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