Author Topic: A British Home Child - Millicent Alice Cox/Bellamy born 1875ish  (Read 400 times)

Offline ValJJJ

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A British Home Child - Millicent Alice Cox/Bellamy born 1875ish
« on: Friday 19 November 21 09:35 GMT (UK) »
I have been contacted by someone (I’ll call her X) who has a DNA match to myself and a cousin. The amount of the match means the link is probably a good few generations back.  X is descended from a British Home Child sent to Canada - but there is extremely limited information about her origins, so I'm hoping some of you can help with fresh places to search or some fresh insight.

Here is the info so far that X has collated, and given me permission to post here:
Millicent Alice Cox was born August 12, 1875 in England.  Family history tells that she was an orphan who traveled to Canada at an early age, and was adopted.  Some of her older children refer to her as Millicent Bellamy.  I had never been able to find her on a Canadian census record under either name.

I can’t find a birth record that I am sure is Millicent Cox.  I can’t find any documentation of her parent’s names.

I did find a Millicent Cox listed on the passenger record of the sailing ship Sarmatian.  She departed Liverpool, England on June 10, 1880, sailing for Canada in the company of Maria Rye.   Millicent arrived in Quebec on June 21, 1880.  From there, Maria Rye took the children in her charge to “Our Western Home” at Niagra on the Lake, Ontario.  Canadian citizens applied to this home (and later others) and arranged to employ or adopt children.

I contacted a researcher* who is building a database of the Maria Rye children in Canada and he gave me this information:
“The 1880 Annual Report for Miss Rye’s Home for Destitute Little Girls contains an entry (no 29) which I believe may be your grandmother “M.B., aged 7; illegitimate, mother in very bad health. To Mr R.B., Farmer, Clarke near Newtonville, Ontario. Child adopted”. You will note that her initials are given as M.B. rather than M.C. – this sort of mistake sometimes happened as a result of a printer’s error, when the Annual Report was printed, but in this case may just be simple confusion because I note that the surname of the family that adopted her began with the letter “B”. I am also fairly confident that this entry refers to your grandmother because I have matched up all of the other children between the ships manifest and the entries in this Annual Report. To discover more about the Farmer with the initials R.B. who adopted her you will need to search the 1881 census, starting with Clarke near Newtonville, Ontario."

Millicent Cox is also referred to as Millicent Bellamy, but my mother didn’t know if she was born Bellamy and adopted by Cox or the other way around.  With the researcher’s information, I was able to finally find Millicent on the Canadian census by looking for an “R. Bellamy” in the rather small farming community of Clarke, Ontario on the 1881 Canadian census.  I found her, in Richard Bellamy’s household, but her name is spelled wrong on the census, which is why I never found her previously.  She is listed as “Melissa Cox” in the index to the census records.

I contacted some descendants of the Bellamy line.  Shortly after Millie arrived at the Bellamy farm, they moved to Selkirk, Manitoba and continued farming.  The 1891 Canadian census shows Millie with the Bellamy household.  She is listed as “Milla Bellamy” in the census index, which is again why I couldn’t find her previously on a Canadian census.

On July 16, 1984 Millie married George Francis Prescott in Winnipeg. Millie lists her parents as Francis Cox (I don’t know who this is) and Sarah Parson (her adoptive mother - Richard Bellamy’s wife.) 

Census records indicate they moved to the US in 1986.  It appears they moved to North Dakota for a brief time, but moved to Bemidji, MN before the 1900 US census was taken.  The 1910 US census shows them in Minot, where they remained until their deaths.

Millie’s death certificate states she died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Minot on August 28, 1943.  Her obit included the info that 'Mrs. Francis, whose maiden name was Millicent Alice Cox, was born in Manchester, England, August 12, 1876.  She was 2 years old when she was brot [sic] to Winnipeg, Man. Where she was reared.  Her marriage to Mr. Francis [a veterinarian] was on July 12, 1894, in Winnipeg. Two years later they came to Minto, N.D. [sic] where they lived 2 years before moving to Bemidji, Minn. From Bemidji they came to Minot in 1902 [?] and Minot had been Mrs. Francis’ home continuously from that year until her passing.


*As the researcher is living, I’ll just give the initials C.S. as I think Maria Rye researchers will know who this is.

continued in next post
Crook, Bannister, Warren

Offline ValJJJ

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Re: A British Home Child - Millicent Alice Cox/Bellamy born 1875ish
« Reply #1 on: Friday 19 November 21 09:35 GMT (UK) »
As you can see there are discrepancies about her age at emigration, but the passenger list clearly shows her as 7 years old.  She is in a list of children of various surnames and of various ages but the youngest were 6 years old, not 2 (2 seems extremely young to be shipped abroad?). Maria Rye sailed from Liverpool so it might be that Liverpool/Manchester were considered the child's place of birth as it's the last city she could remember.  Maria Rye seems to have scooped up children from London in particular, taking children brought to her by relatives as well as the ones she took from homes.  However according to https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/home-children-guide/Pages/maria-rye.aspx#d  she did take children from Kirkdale Industrial School, and Liverpool/Salford workhouses too and Salford adjoins Manchester.

Myself and cousin's common ancesters are Eliza Cox (1835 Northampton - 1886 Wellingborough) and Charles Holmes  (1830 Northampton – 1912 Wellingborough) married in 1855 in Raunds.  Eliza was the oldest of 8 children of Thomas Cox and Frances Bull.  Charles was one of 10 children of John Holmes (born Lancashire) and Sarah Brown (born Northants).  We think the weaker genetic connection with X could be a generation earlier.

We have looked up many spellings of Millie/Milli/Millicent plus or minus Alice, and Cocks and other similar sounding surnames, along with births of females in that month and the year range, but any found can be traced as later living/marrying in England so are not X’s grandmother.  Neither have we arrived at many possibles regarding year and geography that could link with someone in our family.  I have wondered whether there was a family connection between Millicent Alice and her new adoptive family – was her adoptive family (Bellamy and Parsons) related to her biological parents?

Whether the surname is a red herring in this case is anyone’s guess!  Did Millicent Alice Cox take her surname from her mother or her father?  Were her parents married or cohabiting and her father then died or the parents separated?  Her mother was described as in poor health.  Did she die soon after or recover, or was this a fabricated reason for removing the child?  Was the child illegitimate or another excuse to take her away.  Did she invent the name for a father when she married, giving her husband’s name in a panic?

Hopefully DNA and GedMatch will eventually reveal Millicent Alice Cox’s origins but thought it worth asking here.
Crook, Bannister, Warren

Offline ValJJJ

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Re: A British Home Child - Millicent Alice Cox/Bellamy born 1875ish
« Reply #2 on: Friday 19 November 21 09:45 GMT (UK) »
If she was from Manchester, then John Holmes, born in Lancashire, or one of his relatives, might be a candidate as her father, or one of his female relatives as her mother?
Crook, Bannister, Warren

Offline ValJJJ

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Re: A British Home Child - Millicent Alice Cox/Bellamy born 1875ish
« Reply #3 on: Friday 19 November 21 17:31 GMT (UK) »
I have realised that as the query really is about Millicent's life in England, not Canada, I should have posted this on the Lancashire board, so have put the relevant bits there. https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=855573.0
Crook, Bannister, Warren