Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Who was George Hildebrand Alington—and why did he give away his “Girl child 23 months old”?

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  • Masterton Girl,

    All written by the same person, looks like an arranged baby sale and tidied up the loose ends.

    Masterton • Since May 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    Off topic, but my Grandmother was also named Winifred Beatrice (b. 1910). No connection to this story, but just an odd coincidence.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Like trying to figure out the origins of all the photographs of gents in uniforms, signed with affectionate messages to my mother, when we cleared out her belongings (she had also been married thrice, with an illegitimate child between the second and third ,marriage).

    Wow...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Looks to me like someone (George – see below) wrote the letter, sent it to Alington, who signed it. Then had to sign it again “in the presence” of the witness Holland(?).

    Other options are that someone wrote the letter without the “George Hildebrand” in it – in both places. Those names are skewed from the line. “For the sum of…” is also skew-wiff.

    The crossed out “JP” seems to have been written in the original maybe to indicate that a JP needed to sign it???

    And given the whirly start to Gorge’s signature, I suspect George wrote it!! And the whirly JP looks to be George’s not Hollands. Hollands writing is clearly different to the rest.

    The age of the child is also written in differing ink but the same as the"original” writing.

    (Edited.)

    Edit 2 – Actually…. It looks like Alington may not have signed it at all!!

    Edit 3 - Rubbish. Yes he did...

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Hebe,

    Nah... I'm still going with Holland as the JP: would be standard for the local parson to be a JP for signing births, deaths and marriage certs. And the ink is different to GC's.

    It looks to me like Geo Coleman in the process of signing put the JP on the left. John Holland thought that this was an inappropriate place for it, so has crossed it out, and written it again in the correct position under Geo Coleman's signature.

    Also, if Geo Coleman was a JP, he may have had to sign lots of things, so maybe his standard quick signature was just Geo C with an underline. He then decided that this document needed a bit more, so added the "oleman".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    On reflection……..after the initial excitement…

    What I think is the original letter:

    I _(1)_______Alington of Methven, hereby agree that in consideration of Mrs George Coleman adopting as her own my girl child_________(2)_______, I give up forever all claim to the said child and guarantee that I will do all in my power to prevent the mother of the child knowing where the child is or annoying the child or Mrs Coleman in any way or claiming the child—the said mother having given up all claim to the said child ___(3)________.

    Signed by the said ____(4)_______Alington [____(5)_____]
    In the presence of _(6)________________
    J.P. ____(7)_______

    What I think is different:
    1. George Hildebrand
    2. twenty-three months old
    3. for the sum of (£20) Twenty Pounds
    4. George Hildebrand
    5. George Hildebrand Alington
    6. (me?) John Holland, Clerk in Holy Orders
    7. [George Coleman], JP.

    My revised theory is……
    The original letter is as above.
    1,2,3,4 5 and 7 were written by George Coleman
    6 was by Holland.
    J.P. was crossed out by Coleman once all the signatures had been done to put it closer to his own signature.

    Alington seems to have not signed it at all???

    Chapter 3,4 5 in the saga will follow. No doubt.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    In reply to Ross Mason and Brent Jackson:

    Very interesting points! Glad that someone is experiencing the same mental torture as myself in terms of analysing this document.

    With regard to the 'different' inks: does anyone have experience in writing with whatever pen they used in 1893? Does the pen run out of ink (so that the ink appears faded) and you have to dip it (or something) to recharge the ink? Could this explain the appearance that different ink has been used in places, i.e. it was actually a result of the pen needing to be dipped again?

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to David Haywood,

    t was actually a result of the pen needing to be dipped again?

    I think it was a timing issue. Letter written, waited for Hollands signature, then signed and filled in. All 3 may have had to have been in the same place to witness Alington seeing the letter and agreeing to it. He may have been illiterate of course....couldn't write his own name!!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Attachment

    On reflection……..after the initial excitement…

    What I think is the original letter:

    Genius! I hadn't noticed so many different hands, but on close inspection of the original I think you're dead right.

    My revised theory is……
    The original letter is as above.
    1,2,3,4 5 and 7 were written by George Coleman
    6 was by Holland.
    J.P. was crossed out by Coleman once all the signatures had been done to put it closer to his own signature.

    Here I'm not sure I entirely agree with the you...

    Surely Alington must have signed the stamp (otherwise you would expect Coleman's name to be there), and the signature on the stamp is clearly the same as other instances of his name -- except perhaps the very first Alington (surname only) on line one and the Alington (surname only) below "said" at the end.

    It seems to me, on reflection, that Alington's hand has added the "for the sum of twenty pounds" -- in fact, the letter would read perfectly well without this line.

    So the different hands in the letter would look as per the attached JPG. (Red is Alington's hand; Blue is Rev Holland.)

    This also explains the crossing out of the JP. It was originally intended that Coleman would sign his name in front of this as a witness to Alington's signature. But then Rev Holland added "me John Holland" which made the intended layout nonsensical.

    So then Goerge Coleman signed below Holland's addition.

    But I'm not sure who wrote the rest of the letter. If it was Coleman, then why is the G in his signature so different from the 'G' he uses when writing Mrs George Coleman.

    Could it be that the letter was written by Coleman's solicitor with blanks left for him to fill in? This might also explain why the letter specifies Mrs George Coleman but not her husband.

    At any rate, this would be a more pleasant interpretation as it would suggest that the concerns about the mother claiming the child were from the adoptive parents and not Alington.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Dianne Mitchell,

    Fascinating find. Do you know who the original and subsequent owners of your house were? Whoever hid the letter and receipts must have had some connection to the "events".
    You may be interested to know that there are a group of very dedicated genealogists who help folk find their elusive ancestors, missing people etc...on the Trade Me Community Board under Genealogy. Your blog has reached our board and we are starting to look for the adopted child. You may like to take a look.
    You will see my posts under cmg11.
    Cheers Dianne

    Tauranga • Since May 2014 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Dianne Mitchell,

    You may be interested to know that there are a group of very dedicated genealogists who help folk find their elusive ancestors, missing people etc…on the Trade Me Community Board under Genealogy. Your blog has reached our board and we are starting to look for the adopted child.

    Thanks Dianne -- that's brilliant!

    Fascinating find. Do you know who the original and subsequent owners of your house were? Whoever hid the letter and receipts must have had some connection to the “events”.

    There have only been three owners of the house (not including us) and I know a lot about the original owners and the owners immediately preceding us. The letter is unconnected with either of them -- and unlikely to be the intervening owners.

    I haven't mentioned the exact place that the documents were discovered as knowledge of this would be a useful means of proof of ownership by any possible claimant(s).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Lynley Chapman,

    Some side-line information:

    Here is the headstone transcript in the Methven Cemetery

    Anglican Section Plot 11
    In memory/of/George Hildebrand ALINGTON/who died Nov 30th 1905/aged 55 years/ Just as I
    Am thou wilt receive/wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve/because thy promise I believe/ O
    Lamb of God I come

    G H ALINGTON's probate is at National Archives, Christchurch. From the NZSG Index Version 5 he is described as a Clerk, of Methven. Probate filed on 18 Dec 1905. Will CAHX CH 171 5484

    His wife's probate is also at National Archives, Christchurch.She died in 1958, a widow of Christchurch. Probate filed 29 April 1958. Will CAHX CH 171 410/58

    There is a George COLEMAN, Gentleman who died in Christchurch in 1903. Probate filed 8 Oct 1903 Will CAHX CH 171 4838

    Wills can sometimes contain some "interesting" titbits.....

    What was the original address of your home in ChCh please David ?- a Wises or City Directory may shed some light on who was residing there at the time of all this paperwork.

    Porirua • Since Aug 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Lynley Chapman, in reply to Lynley Chapman,

    Ignore my request for the address etc David. I've just read your sensible response to that question.

    Porirua • Since Aug 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Dianne Mitchell, in reply to David Haywood,

    Right....That's what happens when you assume things...I was very taken by the foot-printed chimney brick;-)).
    Looking at George Coleman...recorded in e.rolls in Canty and St Canty... a George Coleman...commission agent lived in Ashburton in 1886-1890.
    In 1900 a George Coleman and his wife living in Ashburton. Listed as "gentleman and gentlewoman".

    Tauranga • Since May 2014 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Masterton Girl,

    All written by the same person, looks like an arranged baby sale and tidied up the loose ends.

    Agreed

    Also interesting but not crucial is this publication from Canterbury Society of Arts Wynn Williams, a Vice president, Ordinary member, H Wynn Williams, woking member, Miss E Winter......

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    From back in the day, when I was matching records from historical sources, I would occasionally do narrowing down "these are the ones I can rule out" searches. For example, if I have a list of school rolls from an area, and a list of "these people have a birth certificate 5 or 6 years earlier" for those people that match together, then those people are part of the set of started school and known to have a birth certificate, so ruled out.
    Some things that might be worth looking into as sources- if anyone had compiled baptismal records from churches in the area, school rolls, benevolent society/ charity records. For the adults it is mostly street directories or electoral roll records.
    To a large extent it depends on how many resources have been collected and made available (because that is the hard work).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Lynley Chapman,

    And this caught my eye for George Coleman on National Archives "Archway" website"

    Coroners Inquests - Case files - Canterbury - [female infant at dwellinghouse of George Coleman] [Use copy MICRO U 5420] The year was recorded as 1900.
    It is a Min of Justice file, lodged at Nat Archive Wellington.

    It could all be a red herring of course and assumptions are dangerous things.

    Porirua • Since Aug 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Dianne Mitchell,

    Maybe a Eureka moment....

    George Coleman married Amelia Mary KNEVITT in 1864 in Fitzroy, Aust.
    Amelia Mary died in 1912 in CHCH, buried in Linwood Cem...as is George in 1903.
    In 1894-ish they adopted a girl known as Eileen Winter Coleman.
    There is a person researching this family on Ancestry.com. Of course, you have to be aware that not everything recorded on Ancestry.com has been researched accurately. I'll have a look at the death records for an Eileen Winter Coleman in 1900 as per Lynley's post above.

    Tauranga • Since May 2014 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Don,t you love a puzzle
    Presently Parsons Priests etc are banned from being JPs, I presume this has always been the practise
    The people on Trademe will run this down, they really are very good at this
    And yes Hurrah for the DPB

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to David Haywood,

    I think you need to add another box around the Geo Coleman signature and JP at the bottom because it appears to differ from the handwriting of the reset of the letter (eg compare the "an" with "any" in the letter). The additional JP was definitely written by a different hand than the crossed out JP.

    This also explains the crossing out of the JP. It was originally intended that Coleman would sign his name in front of this as a witness to Alington’s signature. But then Rev Holland added “me John Holland” which made the intended layout nonsensical.

    Yes. That would seem to be the most plausible explanation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Lynley Chapman,

    And this caught my eye for George Coleman on National Archives “Archway” website”

    Wow – thanks for posting all that information, Lynley! Oh, and I’ve also discovered that Alington’s oldest daughter is buried in the same plot. I don’t suppose her headstone transcript mentions a date of birth?

    And hopefully the George Coleman above is the two-years-hard-labour guy from Wellington (also at ten years old the adopted child would presumably not have been described as an infant)? Bad George Coleman seems to have been in trouble with the law on numerous occasions.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Dianne Mitchell,

    No death for Eileen Winter Coleman in 1900...she married in 1931 to a Frederick McCreanor.
    There is a very detailed McCreanor family Tree on Ancestry.com giving details about Eileen Winter's adoption by George and Amelia Coleman. Her birth parents are recorded as"
    George Hlidebrand Alington and Eliza Ann WINTER nee Good.

    so have George and the vicar's wife had a bit of a fling and Eileen the result?

    Tauranga • Since May 2014 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Annie Magee,

    The articles below are only to verify that George Coleman was a J.P. and that this is the Rev. John Holland. The people in the marriage notice have no link to the enquiry.

    Star , Issue 5748, 17 December 1896, Page 3
    MAGISTERIAL
    CHRISTCHURCH. Thursday, Dec. 17. Before Mr George Coleman, J.P., and Mr W. W. Collins, J.P.

    Ashburton Guardian, Volume XII, Issue 2412, 22 July 1891, Page 3
    The Rev John Holland lectures this evening in St. Stephen's Schoolroom on his life in the East Indies.

    Ashburton Guardian, Volume XV, Issue 3226, 12 March 1894, Page 2
    MARRIAGES.
    Street— Morrison.—-On February 28, 1894, at St Mark's, Rakaia, by the Rev John Holland, Daniel Alma Street, of Rakaia, to Florence R. Morrison, late of Leichfield.

    New Zealand • Since May 2014 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Dianne Mitchell,

    Aust.
    Amelia Mary died in 1912 in CHCH, buried in Linwood Cem…as is George in 1903.
    In 1894-ish they adopted a girl known as Eileen Winter Coleman.

    Brilliant -- this is the Captain Coleman of Ashburton (who, incidentally, died very rich). Though he seemed the most likely candidate I had ruled him out as being too old (I think he was 80-ish).

    The name of the adopted daughter makes sense as well, of course -- the Mrs E A Winter on the receipt for payment to the mother

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Dianne Mitchell,

    A bit more info
    Eileen Winter Coleman was born on either 1 or 3rd Dec 1891 either at Ashburton or the ChCh area. She died on 25 July 1963 at 178a Fendalton Rd ChCh.

    Tauranga • Since May 2014 • 21 posts Report Reply

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