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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  • David Haywood,

    By the way: I’m hanging onto these documents for the moment—just in case somebody reads this piece and comes forward to claim them. If no-one does then in due course I’ll send them to the National Library to be added to the Alington archives.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    BREAKING NEWS: looking for the first time at high magnification on the adoption letter—does anyone else think that the unintelligible signature at the bottom might be ‘Geo. Coleman, J.P.’? Note that Coleman's name on the adoption receipt is written 'Geo Coleman'. If this is the name then I guess we now know which of the George Colemans is the adoptive father

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to David Haywood,

    does anyone else think that the unintelligible signature at the bottom might be ‘Geo. Coleman, J.P.’

    Yes, it does look a lot like that. (Though he links the "C" to his first name, and not to his surname, which is a bit baffling.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1923 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I fear this was a common story of the era. Those with money could buy and sell unwanted children. Other chidlren just ended up in orphanages or with so-called 'baby farmers' (although maligned by history this occupation did provide a social service or sorts). Disabled children fared the worst. Good people like Mother Suzanne Aubert took them all in regardless at her Home of Compassion, which she founded around this time..
    I hope your story reveals some more information.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    By the way, yay for the DPB.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to David Haywood,

    What a fascinating discovery! Looks like the signature is Geo. Coleman – the C is separated from the “oleman” which could be sign of being in hurry or stressed – the writing is heavy and the full-stop looks like it could have been done as an afterthought.

    The JP is the same handwriting and light ink as the Holland signature, so he could well have spread out too far and GC chucked in his signature in a hurry. Note also that the JP on the left bottom has been crossed out so it can be closer to Holland's name.

    The bottom looks like the writer of the document left space on the right for the parties to fill in their names in each line.

    But why would Mrs Coleman sign her name as Geo.Coleman? Would her husband have had to sign the document for her?

    If John Holland was part of the church, would he have christened/baptised the child as part of the adoption? Would there be parish records?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Lynley Chapman,

    This is a fascinating story.

    I have posted the basic data from your blog post here (ie Geo ALINGTON born, married, three children etc) to NZ Rootsweb giving a link back to your blog post for any genealogists out there who might be researching any or all of the people in your story.

    For those of us searching for "adopted" ancestors back in time it can be this sort of "find" that helps us solve the mystery. I'll follow this thread with great interest.

    Porirua • Since Aug 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    yay for the DPB

    Exactly the same thought had repeatedly occurred to me as I've been thinking about all this...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Lynley Chapman,

    I have posted the basic data from your blog post here (ie Geo ALINGTON born, married, three children etc) to NZ Rootsweb giving a link back to your blog post for any genealogists out there who might be researching any or all of the people in your story.

    Thanks, Lynley! I don't know the first thing about searching for genealogical data, so this is extremely helpful -- much appreciated!

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    All Saints Church in Methven is on Alington Street.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Hebe,

    The JP is the same handwriting and light ink as the Holland signature, so he could well have spread out too far and GC chucked in his signature in a hurry. Note also that the JP on the left bottom has been crossed out so it can be closer to Holland’s name.

    Ah... I see what you mean when you say that the 'JP' appears to be the same ink as Rev Holland, but I think the handwriting is George Coleman's. Note the very curly loops on the 'J' and 'P', which match the equally curly loop of the 'G' of the 'Geo. Coleman' signature (if indeed this is actually what the signature says).

    My analysis was that -- for some reason -- the adoption was made specifically to Mrs George Coleman (it's definitely Mrs in the text of the letter because it also says 'her') but that Mr George Coleman, J.P. had signed the document. It occurred to me that perhaps Mr Coleman was present at the signing of the document, but that his wife was not.

    It also occurred to me that perhaps the Coleman's had had care of the child since birth, and that the document was in response to an attempt by the mother to reclaim her child. I hope not, as this would make the letter even more tragic.

    P.S. Note that the dot above the 'her' must have been dust on my scanner. It's definitely not in the original document.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Hebe,

    All Saints Church in Methven is on Alington Street.

    That's very interesting.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    [Unintelligible name], JP.
    I read it first time as Geo Coleman, JP
    honest!

    I wonder if the 'loopiness' of the preceding e & , enhanced by the deep pike dive of the G, generates a carpally neutral orbital slingshot effect to create the swash cap C with a swingback underline flourish exit!
    (calligraphic degree of difficulty 9.3)
    <clap clap clap>

    ...and I wonder if the Wylie of Skerrettt and Wylie is related to the Judge Wylie mentioned over on the politics thread...

    but mostly I wonder how is this getting those towel rails finished?

    This looks suspiciously like, fun...

    keep it up

    ;- )


    PS how was the frost out there this morning?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to David Haywood,

    I would ring up the Methven paper or equivalent and ask about for a Coleman who’s been living around there for a long time. Or the phone book….bugger you’ve got me started.

    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.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    A shy (but observant and analytical) reader has pointed out that the unintelligible month on the adoption receipt may be January, i.e. dated January 23rd 1897. (Your opinion on this, Mr Dalziel?)

    If so, this would tie in with the passenger report about the ’Tasmania’ showing that a Mr and Mrs Coleman travelled from Christchurch to Wellington on January 8th 1897.

    The same clever but anonymous reader also points out a possibility that I had not considered: that the adoption receipt was for a second child, who was quite unrelated to the Alington daughter from the adoption letter.

    In which case this would mean that the documents in my possession originated from the Coleman family rather than the Alington family.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    but mostly I wonder how is this getting those towel rails finished?

    This looks suspiciously like, fun…

    Ahem... yes, well there is that...

    PS how was the frost out there this morning?

    Horrible and still there!

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Haywood,

    Speculative fictions..

    Mrs George Coleman

    Georgina perhaps?
    He was a hermaphrodite?
    or it’s a pseudonym…
    “meet the Georges Coleman” they’d say
    “she writes you know – never quite cracked it
    though ’Floss up t’ Mill’ was a little cracker
    and ’Ides of March’ vastly underrated.”



    NB: Good to see all appropriate stamp duty was paid on those documents.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Haywood,

    We have a timeline!

    unintelligible month on the adoption receipt may be January

    Indeed, and yay verily!

    I draw your attention to this documentof enslavement from 40 years earlier (top right hand corner) 24th Jany 1857

    Transcription: This indenture made this the 24th Jany [sic] 1850 Between Frederick I. Cox of the state of North Carolina & County of Wayne on the one part and Jno [abbreviation for John] E. Beeton & Joseph E. Kennedy of the county and state aforesaid in the other part witnesseth that whereas the said Jno E. Beeton & Joseph E. Kennedy hath become bound as security for the said Frederick I. Cox in the sum of Seven hundred & eighty seven dollars or thereabouts bearing dote the first day of January 1850.

    oh, and also Skerrett & Wylie's receipt has a '23/1/97' written over the one penny postal and revenue stamp, to frank it!

    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    oh, and also Skerrett & Wylie’s receipt has a ‘23/1/97’ written over the one penny postal and revenue stamp, to frank it!

    Duh! I should have spotted that -- thank you for your experienced eyes!

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Sorry not Coleman in Methven-- shd have said Alington in Methven! Coleman in Wellington!

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Haywood,

    a mote point...

    Dust on my scanner

    This sooo has to be the title of the breakaway 'westerncybernoirsteampunkdystopiary' genre's first offering...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, 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.

    I can certainly see your tempting logic on that! Although, of course, as a reverend, John Holland could sign births, deaths and marriage certs without being a JP – and there is no JP appended to his name in any of the official mentions of the Rev. John Holland that I can find.

    But maybe – given that there definitely was a George Coleman, JP – I’m just wishing that the two items were connected. It would make it so much easier to narrow it down to George Coleman the JP!

    To further confuse the matter, it seems to me that the crossed out JP is in a different hand to the uncrossed JP. The fullstops in the uncrossed JP being similar to what (I presume) is the fullstop in the Geo. Coleman signature. Opinions?

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Fooman, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Better than a fly in a printer: look what happed to poor Mr Buttle...

    FM

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2009 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Dear Mr Detective: I love these kind of mysteries. 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).

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

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