Playing detective is second nature to family historians and mysteries are attractive. So when I phoned Public Trust in Wellington this morning, imagine my surprise when the phone call turned to more unanswerable questions by the person on the other end when I'd expected the call to be fairly dry and boring. What I got was a person both defensive and indignant that I should be asking questions (of a general nature) at all.
A bit of background:
1st case: In 1910, Justice Sim, ruling over the bitterly contested will of John (Jock) McGregor, of Cherrybank, Wanganui, who had died October 1882, effectively upheld the 1876 will which in the meantime had cost £12,000 in legal fees and incalcuable emotional toll. The Public Trust managed the estate 1909 - 1935, by mortgaging it and letting it run to ruin, the house was occupied by possums and rats, the fences fell, the gorse bloomed, sheep shat on the rosewood staircase, tenants came and went in cottages built by the estate, some paying, some not.
2nd case: Julia Patton nee Costello born (but not registered in bdm) to a government shy Irish family who lived in the Maori Pah up the back of Coromandel township in the 1850's. They were all timber workers. She said on her son's birth certificates that she and her husband, William, were married at the Auckland Registrars Office on the 3rd of April 1885. They lived at Kihikihi and then Te Awamutu. William was a coach driver. In the late 1920's a relative who is still alive, visited the family with her mother and sister, and recalls Julia's agitation over the fight she was having with Public Trust which was saying that because she couldn't prove she was married, her late husbands estate was not hers. Much correspondence - but where is it? Julia was a strong-minded woman who spoke fluent Maori and felt more at home with Maori than with government officials.
So I will pursue this question of the Public Trust records. Records which must give a very valuable insight into the personal, social and financial history of New Zealanders.
See former posts:
History of the Public Trust 1872 - 1895