Teresa Fisher

Teresa Fisher

Born, Theresa McKinney, 27 April, 1897,
Belfast, Ireland.
Raised as Teresa Fisher from about 1908.
Died, Teresa Wride, 31 December, 1918,
Shedden, Ontario, Canada

A "British Home Child".


A picture of the RMS Titanic leaving Belfast in April 1912.
At this time it was the largest ship in the world

Teresa's is a sad story. Little was known about her life or family prior to being taken in by the Barnardo's Home. It was known that she had been sent from London, England to Canada in 1912, with her sister Minnie, not long after the Titanic sank. In recent years, thanks largely to the internet, more information has come to light.

1897 Birth Certificate for Theresa McKinney

1897 Birth registration for Theresa McKinney

1901 Cenusus of Ireland (94 Bread Street, Belfast) for the McKinney Family

Teresa's birth certificate shows that she was born Theresa McKinney (note the spelling), on April 27,1897 (not April 18th as had long been believed) at 47 Connswater Street, Belfast, Ireland, within sight of the ship yard where the Titanic was built. The original home no longer exists possibly due to the fact that this area was heavily bombed during World War ll, the nearby ship yard being a primary target, or because of "the troubles", which has resulted in recent and extensive urban renewal of this and many similar areas of Belfast. Teresa's family moved a number of times but remained in the Ballymacarrett area of Belfast, within walking distance of the ship yards.

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

Connswater Street can be seen near to where the Albert Bridge Road intersects with the Newtownards Road c.1902. Note the tramcar tracks.

A current photograph taken in front of what would have been 47 Connswater Street. This area has been redeveloped and there is now a small park where houses once stood.

A 1953 view from the Newtownards Road looking into Connswater Street. 47 Connswater Street would be at the right rear of this photograph and just out of sight.

A photograph taken from the Newtownards Road end of Connswater Street showing it as it is today. All of the old row houses have disappeared.

47 Connswater Street is located behind the three windowed building on the river bank in the right foreground c.1943. This same building is visible in the adjacent aerial photograph.

A pre 1936 photograph of the Connswater River, the Holywood Arches and Strandtown with the steeple of St. Marks church clearly seen on the horizon.

Downtown Belfast c.1900, when Teresa would have been a very young child.

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

High Street, Belfast and the Albert
Memorial in the 1890s, around the
time when Teresa was born.

Castle Place, Belfast around
1900. Looking east towards
High Street.

Castle Place, Belfast around
1900. Looking west towards
Castle Junction.

Castle Junction, looking
from Royal Avenue
towards Donegal Place.

Royal Avenue in 1898, as
seen from Castle Junction.

1902, Donegal Square North, which
now passes in front of the City Hall.
Teresa would have been five years
old at this time.

Donegal Square North with the
City Hall to the extreme left.

Belfast City Hall in 1908 (built c.1902)
when Teresa left Ireland.

The Belfast City Hall.

The Belfast and Province of Ulster Directory shows Francis McKinney, Teresa's father, living at 94 Bread Street in 1900. Again in the 1903, 1904, and 1905 directories as living at either 71 or 91 Bread Street No. 1. His employment is shown as firstly a Labourer, then a Turner, possibly employed in one of Belfast's ship yards. Later records show him as a Fitter. In 1906 Francis is shown to be living at 106 Bread Street. Teresa, her mother and two sisters would also have lived at these addresses.

The Ballymacarrett area of Belfast, where Teresa was born and raised.

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

The Harland and Wolff's ship yard c.1907,
where Teresa's father, Frank, probably
worked at this time.

Gelston's Corners, at the junction of the
Holywood and Belmont Roads c. 1918.
Teresa lived about a mile from here,
near the Holywood Arches.

The Connswater area of Belfast, where
Teresa was born. This is close to East
Bread Street.

The lower end of the Upper Newtownards
Road, near the Holywood Arches (behind
the photographer), which were close to
East Bread Street.

East Bread Street as it is today. The
original homes still exist to the left of
the picture. Teresa would have lived
on the right. The Antrim hills can be
seen in the background.

117 Lord Street, which was Teresa's
last home before being placed in a
Barnardo's Home. Her family has lived
in both homes to the left of this picture.

As her story goes, Teresa's mother, Mary Elizabeth Fisher, and father, Francis McKinney, living in Belfast, Ireland, had a dispute over the religion in which their three daughters should be raised. Her father was Roman Catholic and her mother Protestant. It was long believed that Teresa's mother took the children to England and stayed with her sister in Weymouth so that they could be raised in the Presbyterian religion. It is said that she then changed their names to her maiden name. We now know this to be incorrect. What happened to Mary remained a mystery until 2002.

1908 death registration for Mary McKinney.

The records are somewhat contradictory now, but somewhere between 1906 and 1908 Mary took the girls and moved to 117 Lord Street, Belfast, without Frank. It must have been at this time that she changed the girls surnames to Fisher, her maiden name. Mary Elizabeth Fisher, aged 41 years, died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, on May 2nd, 1908, at this address. Mary's death certificate shows her as being widowed at death, yet other records suggest that Frank was still alive and that she had left him. Other references further suggest that this was a common-law relationship, although this is not proven. Regardless of the truth, the three girls were now abandoned and, as per Mary's request, were given shelter by a Protestant minister who placed the two younger girls, including Teresa, in the care of Barnardo's Homes. Sara, the oldest girl stayed with, and worked for, a former neighbour until she was able to emigrate to Canada.

Teresa Fisher
11 years old

Teresa and Minnie

Minnie Fisher
8 years old

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

The Barnardo's Home, Belfast opened in 1899, at 110 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, now the site of Fanum House, the home of the Irish Times newspaper. In 1911 it moved to 15 & 17 Crumlin Road, Carlisle Circus, and in 1918 it moved to St George’s Villa, 2 Holywood Road, Strandtown.

It is interesting to note that the Belfast directories also show a number of Fisher and McKinney families living on Lord Street around this time. We do not know if they were related.


In Teresa's copy of "The Book of Common Prayer" of the Church of England which is inscribed "Theresa - Xmas 1909" she had faintly written her address as 9 Victoria Terrace, Weymouth, Dorset, England. The Rate Books for Weymouth, from 1909 to 1912 indicate that this was the address of a Barnardo's Home. We have since discovered that the girls were sent to London, England for processing and were then settled into the Barnardo's Home in Weymouth, Dorsetshire, England from which they were later taken to London and shipped to Canada.

During WWll Victoria Terrace was the Victoria Nursing Home. This terrace was erected in the 1850s, the centre portion of which was, for many years, the Burdon Hotel, and is now the Hotel Prince Regent. The private residences and institutions which flanked it, have apparently been incorporated into todays hotel structure.

The street addressing and numbering was by terrace, but has changed as the street names have changed. On the above map c.1930 Victoria Terrace is clearly indicated across from the Bandstand on the beach, and in the old drawing it is the large building which occupies the right half of the picture.

Victoria Terrace
c. 1905

Victoria Terrace and Promenade
c. 1910

The Promenade in front of
Victoria Terrace c. 1910

Victoria Terrace
c. 1910

Victoria Terrace in
the late fifties

View from Victoria Terrace
in the late fifties

Victoria Terrace, centre
background, c. 2004

Victoria Terrace sign
still intact in April 2005

Victoria Terrace
as it is today - 2005

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

1911 Census showing Teresa and Minnie as residents of 9 Victoria Terrace, Weymouth, England

Amongst Teresa's cherished possessions were the "Common Prayer Book" inscribed "Xmas 1909", the novels "The Little Missis" inscribed "Xmas 1909", "Noble Deeds of the World's Heroines" and "Oliver Twist", the inside cover of which also shows her address as 9 Victoria Terrace, Weymouth, the address of the Barnardo's Home in which she was staying. Teresa also had a small date book entitled "A Birthday Garland" inscribed with the date Sept 1912. It is not clear whether she brought the date book with her to Canada or acquired it shortly after arrival. Ironically, inside the back cover she wrote "Miss Teresa Fisher, married to Mr. Archie Wride, at high noon. April 18th 1916, and lived happy ever after." Teresa died just two and a half years later.

We assume that the book on the left is as originally published. The letters "RTS" at the bottom of the spine stand for "Religious Tract Society" , the publisher, however on Teresa's copy, the book on the right, the gold embossed lettering reads "1912" "My Sailing Date". One can only assume that Barnardos had these inspirational books specially printed as gifts for the young female emigrants of 1912 prior to embarking on their voyage to a new life.


Minnie and Teresa Fisher

Teresa and Minnie Fisher

Sara, also known as Sadie, Fisher

The National Archives of Canada confirm that Teresa and Minnie arrived in Quebec, Canada, from London, England, with a Barnardo's Party. Sara (aka Sadie), the oldest of the three girls, was said to have been sent to Canada first to see if it would be acceptable for all three to go. Her sisters were supposed to have followed her several years later. In point of fact Sara secured "assured employment" in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada and set out from Glasgow, Scotland aboard the S.S. Parisian bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, arriving on 20 May, 1912. From there she took the Canadian Pacific Railway to Saskatchewan. Only four months later Teresa Fisher and Minnie Fisher were to follow, on board the S.S. Sicilian in care of the Barnardo's Homes. They left London, England Sept. 19, 1912 and arrived in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada on Sept. 30, 1912.

A post card of the S.S. Parisian as she would have looked at the time Sadie (Sara) emigrated to Canada.

Details of the ships manifest for 20 May, 1912.

The manifest shows Sara as having $5.00 with her; that she was 18 years old; that a "British Bonus Allowed"; that she was "going to assured employment" in Kamsack, Saskatchewan "for Life" and that she was "Presbyterian".

"British Bonus Allowed" - The British Bonus was a commission paid by the Canadian government's Immigration Branch to steamship booking agents in the United Kingdom and in European countries for each suitable immigrant who purchased a ticket to sail to Canada. The immigrants themselves did not receive the bonus, although those who settled on western homesteads did receive a separate monetary bonus upon proof of settlement.

"Going to assured employment" - Canadian Immigration Regulations:

"On May 9, 1910 an Order in Council (P.C. 924) was passed making it essential for every immigrant arriving at a Canadian port in the summer time to have in his possession an amount equivalent to at least $25.00 and in winter time a sum equal to at least $50.00 in Canadian currency".

"Provided further that the Immigration officer in charge may, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, exempt any immigrant from the operation of the foregoing regulation if it is shown to his satisfaction that:
(a) The immigrant, if a male, is going to assured employment at farm work, and has the means of reaching the place of such employment; or
(b) The immigrant, if a female, is going to assured employment at domestic service, and has the means of reaching the place of such employment; etc."

It is therefore safe to assume that, based on the fact that she possessed only $5.00, Sara had pre-arranged employment in Kamsack as a domestic servant, the same type of employment that she held in Belfast.

A 1908 post card of the S.S. Sicilian entering Quebec City, Canada.

Details of the ships manifest for 19 September, 1912.

Master's name A. J. Peters
Port of Embarkation
London and Plymouth

"Each passenger should be
given a card indicating
the number of sheet and line
on which name is to be found"

Teresa (15) and Minnie (12)
are at the top of the page and
listed as going into domestic
What a traumatic experience this must have been having lost both parents then to be whisked away by strangers to a foreign land to be pressed into domestic service at a very early age. It has been said that some were told that they were going on vacation!

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

Teresa's Inspection card, stamped in Quebec City.

According to the National Archives of Canada, Teresa Fisher was then sent to stay at Hazelbrae House, a Barnardo Home in Peterborugh, Ontario, prior to placement with a family in Canada.

Hazelbrae House. The Barnardo's girls receiving home in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
This building no longer exists.

Teresa's daughter, Florence Wride, has since confirmed that her mother had lived in Peterborough before being placed with the Parks family in Shedden, Ontario, but had no idea that Teresa had been a "Home Child".

The young Teresa (date unknown) but
around the time of her arrival in Canada.

Shedden as it may have looked when Teresa lived there.

Click on the pictures to get a larger image.

Talbot Road, Shedden looking
east c. 1920. Teresa's future
son-in-law, Hazen Kniffen,
later lived in the store to the left.

John Street, Shedden,
Ontario, Canada.

The Baptist Church in Shedden,
Ontario, Canada.

The home of J. A. Orchard,
a neighbour of Teresa's,
just west of Shedden.

The Shedden railway station
which was operated at one
time by the Michigan Central
Rail Road, Teresa's husband's

Talbot Road, Shedden, looking
west in the direction where
Teresa lived, just a short
distance out of town. Hazen
Kniffen and his dad operated
a garage and restaurant from
the brick building to the right.

An 1879 map of Shedden Station/Corsley P.O, as it was then known,
showing the farms of the Stafford, Parks and Wride families. The Wrides
married into the Moore family whose farms can also be seen on this map.
"George" Edwin Moore, nephew of Teresa's husband "Archie" Wride,
and his cousin Wilfred "Anson" Moore both died in action during WWll.

An 1877 image of the Stafford home which, remarkably, remains little
changed to this day. I beieve this to be the home where Minnie was
placed, as she stayed with a Mrs. Selina Stafford.The Staffords were
next door neighbours and friends of Teresa and the Parks family so this
would account for the follow-up letters from a Mrs. Stafford to Barnardo's
following Teresa's death. The Parks home, which would have been to
the right of this picture, has not survived.

The Stafford house in 2002.

Teresa is said to have stayed with Mrs. Parks for about three years, at which point she was no longer required in the Parks household and was to be returned to Peterborough for further placement. Another Shedden family, the Wrides, being aware of the situation, asked if they could have Teresa in their household. This was apparently approved (and since confirmed) so Teresa prepared for the move. Laura Wride then sent her two sons to collect Teresa. Kenneth, the older of the two, is said to have cautioned his brother not to go falling in love with this girl. Kenneth then married Teresa about a year later.

Laura (Dell) Wride is the woman on the left. Her mother, Helen, is on the right
and her daughter, Clara, and granddaughter, Mabel, are in the centre.

Left to right are Laura's children James a.k.a. as "Jimmy",
Clara, Kenneth a.k.a as "Archie", and Ida Wride.

Teresa and Archie's Marriage Affidavit

Note that Teresa had switched her parent's surnames around, possibly to avoid the embarrassment of having to explain why she was using her mother's maiden name and the fact that she and Minnie were British Home Children. Minnie Fisher and James Wride are shown as witnesses.

Kenneth and Teresa married April 18, 1916 (until recently, 2003, thought to be her birthday),
scarcely four years after Teresa's arrival in Canada.

From the St. Thomas Daily Times newspaper April 20, 1916:



Young Shedden Couple Joined in
Marriage on April 18.

Shedden, April 19. - On Tuesday, April 18, at high noon, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Wride, a quiet wedding took place, when their eldest son, Kenneth A. was united in marriage to Miss Teresa Fisher, the Rev. I.W. Kilpatrick, B.A., officiating.
They were attended by Miss Minnie Fisher, sister of the bride, and James Wride, brother of the groom.
The bride looked charming in her suit of navy with ivory silk waist. Only immediate relatives were present.
After the ceremony all partook of a sumptuous dinner.
The bride and groom purpose residing in the vicinity of Shedden. The best wishes of the community attend them.

Shedden, April 29. - The members and friends of the Epworth League to the number of forty, gathered at the home of Miss Annie Brown on Thursday evening, when a novelty shower was tendered Mr. and Mrs. Archie Wride, whose marriage took place recently. The evening was pleasantly spent in games and other amusements, after which lunch was served. The numerous gifts presented testified to the esteem in which the young couple are held.

A steam locomotive of the New York Central railway in the station at St. Thomas, Ontario.
Kenneth, better known as "Archie", worked as a track man on the New York Central Railway.

Kenneth and Teresa were happily married and their first child, Charlie (Charles) was born the next year, followed by a daughter Florence in 1918. Teresa was unable to avoid catching the "Spanish Flu", which had reached epidemic proportions in 1918, and in her weakened state she died eight hours after giving birth to Florence. Teresa was only 21 years old.

From the St. Thomas Daily Times newspaper Dec. 31, 1918:



Well Known Resident of Shedden
Passes Away Very

Shedden, Dec. 31. - A very sudden death occurred here at 4 o'clock this morning, when Mrs. Archie Wride passed away after a week's illness with influenza and pneumonia. Besides her husband, she leaves one little boy, Charles, and an infant child, and the sympathy of the community goes out to them in their sad bereavement. Deceased, before her marriage, was Miss Theresa Fisher. Two sisters, Mrs. H.H. Mitchell and Mrs. C.B. Mussell, of Kamsack, Sask., are also left to mourn with a large circle of friends, by whom she was highly esteemed. The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock and will be private.

Shedden, Jan. 2. - The funeral of the late Mrs. Archie Wride was held on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Service was conducted at the house by Rev. I. W. Kilpatrick after which interment was made in the Shedden cemetery. The floral offerings were numerous and beautiful and included sprays from the Epworth League, the Oddfellows lodges and the section men of the M.C.R. Deceased was highly esteemed by all her friends who will mourn her untimely end and much sympathy is expressed for the sorrowing husband who is left with two little children. A sad feature of the case is the serious illness of the little boy who also has pneumonia. Only the near relatives were present at the funeral which was private.

Kenneth never remarried and, sadly, Charlie died of a ruptured appendix, also at age 21. Florence was raised by family, never knowing her mother and, until 2002, knowing nothing of her mother's family. Her aunts, Sadie and Minnie, could not recall anything of their past and never knew their father's last name. Some said it was Flanagan, others said Finnegan, but nobody knew.

These three sisters are now gone and, with them, possibly any hope of recalling the past and connecting with lost family.

Teresa's Barnardo experience was apparently very positive, making strong friendships (as is evidenced by letters, newspaper clippings and other documentation) and, later being held in high regard by the community of Shedden and the people with whom she was placed.

It is comforting to know that Teresa had a good life in Canada until her untimely death.

Teresa Fisher 1897 - 1918

01 February, 2001

Today we received information from Barnardo's regarding Teresa's early life. It largely confirmed what we already knew but also revealed her father's real name and that her mother did not take her to England. (We have since confirmed this information through public records.)

We are very happy and grateful to have received this information. It may now open new doors and provide the missing link to family in Ireland.

07 February, 2001

Dear Mr K Ettie

Heatherbank Museum of Social Work is located on the campus of Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow Scotland. Full details of our mission and work can be found on our website - Heatherbank Museum of Social Work .

During National Museums Month in May 2001 we will be mounting a modest exhibition on Child Migration: Scotland to Canada. Our aims are:

To increase awareness of the scale and nature of child migration from Scotland to Canada c 1870 - c1930 To give a voice to the descendants of child migrants today To examine modern parallels to child migration To provide a balanced view of child migration

During our research on the internet we discovered your material on Teresa Fisher. We found this a very poignant story, greatly enhanced by the visual material. We are sure that Teresa's story and the illustrations would be of great interest to our visitors. I am writing to ask your permission to reproduce the material in the form of a 'fact file' which would be available for consultation at the exhibition. The fact that you are still actively researching, as evidenced by your latest addition to the site, would underline, I believe, how active many Canadians are in wishing to research the home children and what happened to them. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

Margery Burdon, volunteer researcher, Heatherbank Museum

18 August, 2003

Today we received information from the Northern Ireland Registry Office, following a July visit to Belfast, which includes Teresa's birth certificate and Mary's death certificate. Additional information therein is reflected above.

5 November, 2007

Dear Mr. Ettie:

I was thrilled to find your ancestress' story on Rootsweb.

I am the webmistress of British Home Children Descendants, and the great-granddaughter of Catherine Carroll Shaw (1876-1906), an early home child from Liverpool to Quebec. We are the sister site to the Rootsweb BHC mailing list and maintain on the site as much information as be found on the net regarding Home Children sent to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada and the United States.

We have a unique and growing database of all home children, as well as articles, photos, etc. of any and all of the brave children who endured the travel and resettlement schemes of Great Britain.

I wanted to know if I could ask your permission to use Teresa's story from your website to place as an article on our site. We are a free, non-commercial, voluntary site whose only goals are to provide information for those who are seeking answers for themselves and their ancestors in the 150,000 child migrants sent to those faraway countries.

If you will allow me the use of this story (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~hero/teresa.html) I can promise you that I will give you all the credit and copyright and point a link to your website. I would also very much like to include Teresa and her sisters in our database of British Home Children, and place their photographs in our photo album...

I particularly hope that you would join our website as well! I look so forward to hearing from you and receiving your permission for your story. Thank you!!

Norah E. Dennis
British Home Children
(British Home Children Descendants)