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
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.
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.
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).
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.
You can return your completed forms and get in touch with us at the following address:
140 Balaam Street
London E13 8RD
You can also get in touch by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 0208 552 1004.