Kindertransport records on FindMyPast: what they are

On Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January), FindMyPast released digitised records of approximately 10,000 Jewish children who came to Britian between 1938 and 1940 as part of the Kindertransport refugee programme. The records include Government correspondence and reports and usually provide the names, dates of birth and origins of the children, and sometimes the details of their foster parents and British addresses. You may also find the name of the ship the child sailed on and which port they arrived at.

Searching the database opens a window into the lives of some of the children who arrived in Norfolk and Suffolk only 75 years ago, a quarter of a century later than the last census we have access to.

The website has digitised 41 volumes from the National Archives. Searching for keyword ‘Norfolk’, provides a result referenced “HO 45/22391 Home Office”. The records come from records of the Health Department (MH), Home Office (HO), Foreign Office (FO), War Cabinet (CAB), Education Department (ED) and the Security Service (KV).

Each reference you find can be put into Discovery (the National Archives catalogue) to find out more about the volume in question. The result above refers to the “CHILDREN. Guardianship (Refugee Children) Act, 1944: appointment of Lord Gorell as guardian to 233 children”. (See the catalogue entry here). TNA have not yet updated the page to show that the documents have now been digitised.

The sourcing information is better than on some previous releases, but I thought the titles of the volumes might be useful, to add to the list of references on the website.

Browsing by archive reference in the Kindertransport record set search finds just 13 catalogue references for the indexed collections, as follows (I’ve included links to the TNA catalogue where you can find more about the archival heirarchy, former references, dates etc):

ED 10/278 – “The problems faced by Jewish ‘kindertransport’ refugee schoolchildren who showed particular academic talent…” 

FO 371/24100 – a higher level reference consisting of three pieces. How many are digitised is unclear, perhaps all, one example is FO 371/24100/3231 – ‘Entry into the United Kingdom’ in 1939 – there may be others.

FO 371/32676 –  “Proposal to send refugee children from the United Kingdom to America to join their parents. Code 48 file 2420

HO 213/232 – “Enemy aliens attaining age of 16: advice to police”, 1940.

HO 213/267 – “Farm workers”, 1936-7

HO 213/992 – “Policy” from within the Refugee Children Collection of the Home Office: Aliens Department.

HO 213/994 – “Emigration” from the same department. Incidentally, the ‘Guardianship’ volume (HO 213/993 does not seem to be included)

HO 294/181 – “Agricultural Committee of the Trust accepts responsibility for agricultural trainees brought over partly at the instigation of the Council for German Jewry Agricultural Committee.”

HO 382/64 – “HAMBURGER, Alexander Israel: German Jew; application to return to the UK after being released from Internment in Canada” (HO 382 are “Aliens Personal Files”

HO 382/70 – “LEWIN, Nathan: a Q-scheme child immigrant who arrived in the UK in 1946 under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi’s Emergency Council” (These last two references come from HO 382, which is made up of 110 files. Most are not children of the Kindertransport).

HO 45/22391 – See above.

KV 4/390 – “Control of aliens: Enemy Aliens’ Tribunals 1939-1942”.

MH 55/704 – “Refugee children from Germany: medical condition”.


Thanks to Alex Cox for the press release, which says: “There are 41 browseable documents in this collection including: minutes of the War Cabinet legislation committee and a copy of the Guardianship (Refugee Children) Bill draft; documents from the Education Department & Board of Education on the problems faced by gifted Jewish Kindertransport schoolchildren progressing to higher education facing financial problems and an enquiry from the German government on the well-being of German internees.” 

Search the collection by name or place at


By using the ‘Kindertransport Browse’ record set you can read many more, taking the total to 41:

CAB 75/17 – “Papers 69(43) – 141(43)” From minutes of meetings and papers of the War Cabinet.

ED 121/256 – “Educations facilities and school medical services available to German Refugee children: Enquiry from German Government”.

ED 22/220 – “The schools and production for war industries” from the Techinical Schools collection.

FO 371/21636 – “Jewish affairs. Code 62 file 1667 (papers 8632-13774)”. 

FO 371/21637 – “Jewish affairs. Code 62 file 1667 (papers 13775-14494)”.

FO 371/22538 – “Refugees: international assitance: convention regarding status of Cod 98 File 104 (papers 15481-15945)”. 

FO 371/22540 – “Refugees: international assistance: convention regarding status of. Code 98 File 104 (papers 16424 – 16728)”.

FO 371/24074 – “Jewish refugees – London Intergovernmental Committee. Code 48 File 45 (papers 284 – 1371)”

FO 371/24075 – “Jewish refugees – London Intergovernmental Committee. Code 48 File 45 (papers 1514 – 4234)”

FO 371/24076 – “Jewish refugees – London Intergovernmental Committee. Code 48 File 45 (papers 4242 – 9841)”

FO 371/24083 – “Attitude of various countries to the refugee problem. Code 48 File 520 (papers 6485 – 9083)”

FO 371/24085 – Includes three pieces including emigration of Jews from Danzig, attitudes of ‘various countries’ and international assistance.

FO 371/57873 – “Adoption of refugee children. Code 48 File 1197″.

HO 213/249 – HO 213 is the home office ‘Aliens Department’ and this is from the ‘German Refugees’ subseries. This particular reference is to a volume entitled “Children”.

HO 213/295 – “Financial assistance from government: proposed methods” from the ‘Refugee Organisations’ subseries.

HO 213/299 – “Financial assistance from government: summary” from the same subseries.

HO 213/300 – “Financial assistance from government: summary” of a later date than the above.

HO 213/301 – “Financial assistance from government: maintenance of children”.

HO 213/302 – “Financial assistance from government: maintenance of children” as above but a bit later (1941-4).

HO 213/611 – “Guardianship (Refugee Children) Bill: notes on clauses” from the ‘Emergency Legislation’ subseries.

HO 213/781 – “Enquiry: the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council; children from allied liberated countries to be brought to UK for recuperation” of 1945. Part of the ‘Foreign Children’ subseries.

HO 213/913 – “Czech Jewish child refugees” within the ‘Repatriation’ subseries.

HO 213/990 – “Government financial assistance for the care of refugee children” 1945.

HO 213/991 – “Refugee Children’s Movement: financial matters and guardianship” 1947.

HO 213/993 – A volume entitled “Guardianship” from the ‘Refugee children’ subseries, 1946.

HO 294/59 – “Correspondence and minutes from the General Committee of the Central Welfare Department for Refugees from Germany and Central Europe” 1941

HO 45/25143 – “WAR: Guardianship (Refugee Children) Bill 1944: note on meeting between Home Secretary and Chief Rabbi” 1942-4.

MH 55/689 – “Reports on the refugee camp for German Jewish ‘kindertransport’ children at Dovercourt in Essex. There are copies of weekly menus, descriptions of accommodation and an account of the activities organised for the children.” 1937-8.

This collection is not just a list of names, dates and places, but provides background to the entire programme over time and enables us to get insights into the political and social conditions of the day: it goes far beyond genealogy.



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