Making Connections - August 2021 Service Update

The Making Connections service has now re-opened in a limited capacity. The service had been closed since March 2020, due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Access to Records (Care or Adoption)

If you wish to access your own care or adoption records, please complete the application form by following the process listed below.

If you have enquired with Making Connections about accessing your own care or adoption records during the period of closure (March 2020 – August 2021), please be aware that we are working through the backlog of enquiries and a member of the team will be in touch in due course.

Family History Service (UK, Canada and Australia)

Unfortunately, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our work on enquiries from the descendants of former Barnardo’s children – via our Family History Service.

This is to enable us to focus, for the time being, on our statutory work with people who were themselves in care or adopted through Barnardo’s.

We do understand that this will be disappointing for you, but we intend to resume the Family History Service as soon as we possibly can, and we are working hard towards this objective. We will update the website further once this service is resumed.

If you have enquired about accessing records via the Family History Service during the period of closure (March 2020 – August 2021), please be assured that your original enquiry has been recorded. We are very sorry about this further delay in providing a service, but a member of the team will be in touch with a response when the Family History Service is resumed.

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 

Children at a Barnardo's orphanage

If you were looked after by or adopted through Barnardo's, fill in the Making Connections Enquiry Form at the bottom of this page. 

This service is free.

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

Enquiring as a relative of an adopted person

If you are a member of the adoptee birth family, we can support you and act as intermediaries. To make an application, complete the Making Connections Enquiry Form at the bottom of this page. 

If you are a descendent of an adopted person, we may be able to offer you a service. To find out more and complete an application, see the Descendent of an Adopted Person Form at the bottom of the page.

Obtaining information about your deceased relative

If you're trying to find out about a deceased relative that was looked after by Barnardo's in the UK, fill in the Family History Service UK Form. Alternatively, if you would like to enquire by post, you can access the Family History Service UK Enquiry Form at the bottom of this page.

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​​​​​​.  Alternatively, if you would like to enquire by post, you can access the Family History Service Overseas Form at the bottom of this page

Barnardo’s also holds the records of other former child care organisations who emigrated children. To obtain records of children emigrated via Marchmont, the Annie Macpherson Home or the Liverpool Sheltering Home, you can access the Family History Service Overseas Form at the bottom of this page.

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 fee for all enquiries about deceased relatives in the UK, Australia and Canada.

If we find your relative, there is an additional charge for all packages of information. 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 [email protected] or by telephone on 0208 552 1004.