Find out about your past

Taking steps to find out about your past and your family history can be a daunting and emotional process.

Our Making Connections team is here to support you on your journey, and help you find the information you’re looking for.

Our vast archives hold records of all children in Barnardo’s care, or adopted through Barnardo's, since the 1870s.

We also have a large collection of photographs and films, from 1874 onwards, as well as information about all the children's homes Barnardo's ran. 

The information we provide

If you were in Barnardo's care as a child, or are descended from someone in Barnardo's care, you can access our records.

A child's record may include:

  • the circumstances leading to their admission or adoption
  • details of any known family members
  • birth and baptism certificates
  • school reports
  • photos of the child and the places they lived

We provide personal information in accordance with the law on third-party information. Due to the demand for our services, your enquiry may be placed on a waiting list.

Access your own records or those of a birth relative

Children at a Barnardo's orphanage

If you or your birth relative was looked after by or adopted through Barnardo's, fill in the Making Connections enquiry form at the bottom of this page. 

We'll contact you to discuss your needs and the options available. This service is free.

If your adoption was handled by Barnardo’s we can support and counsel you through the process.

If you are a birth relative we can support you and act as intermediaries.

Tracing a deceased relative

If you're trying to find out about a deceased relative who was looked after by Barnardo's in the UK, fill in the Family History Service UK form.

Child migration

We continue to support Barnardo's child migrants and their families through our records and tracing service. We fully agree with the findings of the three historical enquiries into child migration and the apology by the UK prime minister.

If you're trying to find out about a deceased relative who emigrated to Canada or Australia, fill in the Family History Service overseas form​​​​​​.

1940s children by Dr Barnardo's van
Consent

Before we can carry out our search, we need signed consent from the nearest surviving descendant of the relative you're trying to trace. They will need to fill in Part A of the appropriate form (either the UK form or the overseas form).

Fees

We charge a £25 administrative and research fee for enquiries about deceased relatives in the UK, Australia and Canada.

If we find your relative, you can choose from two family history packages. You can download more information about these packages, including prices, at the bottom of this page.

Contact us

You can return your completed forms and get in touch with us at the following address:  

Making Connections
140 Balaam Street
London E13 8RD 

You can also get in touch by email at makingconnections@barnardos.org.uk