Married in UK. Date not known.
Returned to UK after War. Date of death not known.
Alice Maud Ablong married Dec 2 1903 in Hong Kong according to her husband's military record. He was born James Smith Barnfather (1872-1945) but later took his mother's maiden name, Gibson, as his own and his family's name.
Hi Angela Chapman,
Appreciate the information which will be verified and transcribed into the Ablong family historical archive.
Should you have any further information on my Aunt Maud or the future of her children. it would be greatly appreciated.
Dr Anthony Ablong
Hi Anthony Ablong,
You're very welcome to the information I hold regarding your Aunt and her children but it is only a small amount. My focus has been/is on the Barnfather side to which her husband belonged.
To start with, and you may know this already, the NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages, reg no 8910, gives her birth date as Jan 22, 1882, Waterloo, NSW.
Her marriage on Dec 2 1903 was to James Smith Barnfather as he was titled at this date and comes from his British Army Service Record, Army Marriages (1881 to 1955) page 311.
Her death is also recorded in the NSW Registry of Births Death & Marriages and occurred in 1971 in Sydney, NSW.
It was in 1918, that the legal change of name from Barnfather to GIBSON was announced in the London Gazette, date 27 August, 1918. Why this occurred I have yet to establish beyond reasonable doubt. It may be the case that this will never be fully known but if you care to look at my entry on the gwulo site for James Smith Gibson I have speculated as to why he felt it necessary to change his name and that of his family too.
Four children were born:
Albert Oswald Barnfather 29 Sep 1904, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England (source: father's army service record); baptised 23 Oct 1904, St George's Church, Newcastle upon Tyne (father's pension record)
Alice Maud Barnfather 10 Feb 1908, Singapore (father's army service record); baptised 4 Mar 1908, Singapore (father's pension record)
Nora Barnfather 25 Aug 1914, Newcastle upon Tyne (father's army service record. I think she may have been baptised in Singapore but this has not been verified.
To date the only information I hold on Leonard Barnfather, James & Alice's fourth child is what I have learnt from the gwulo site.
I hope you will find this useful. Any information you would care to share with me regarding James Smith Barnfather/Gibson's time in Hong Kong or his internment that cannot be found on the excellent gwulo site would be most welcome.
Appreciate the excellent summation.
I am currently researching documents submitted to the Australian National Library and Australian War Memorial for retention by Australians who either lived in HK, Shanghai or other parts of China or served in any military role such as the HKVDC, other services such as ambulance, police, ARP or interned at Stanley or other locations such as Abywerth Hall during 1937 to 1946. Should I find any material I will copy you through the Gwulo site which is deserving of praise and appreciation.
I must admit that I was intrigued with the information on '... change of name...', but failed to follow up as other matters arose that cause me to forget. Perhaps you may care to share the information with me?
Until next time, keep safe and in good spirit.
I've re-posted the info from JSB/G's page. Hope this is what you hoped for!
James was the son of James Smith Barnfather 1841-1920 and Sarah Jane Gibson 1841-1922. and was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England on 6 Aug 1872. He spent his early working life as a joiner, an occupation that pops up quite often across the generations of Barnfathers.
James, the younger, enlisted into the military in his home town of Leeds in 1893 and served in the Royal Engineers for almost 24 years. During this time he became a skilled draughtsman and was posted to many countries but most frequently it would seem, spent time in Hong Kong which is where he married Alice Maud ABLONG on 2 Dec 1903. Four children duly followed, 2 boys and 2 girls.
In 1918 he formally and legally adopted the name of GIBSON, his mother's maiden name which was also taken by all his family. The reason for this can only be speculative but there may be a clue when we look at what was happening with his father.
In 1885 and still in his early 40's, James the father, retired from his Accountancy practice but must have still been connected to the partnership as he was named in the bankruptcy proceedings that followed in 1889. There had been a Nisi Prius Court case brought against James the elder which didn't go well for him and this could have been why the bankruptcy case came about. The collapse of his business may have been the catalyst for the change in his behaviour but before his deterioration was so profound and with pressure from his wife to find work, he set off for Australia hoping to change his fortune. However it seems to have been a hair-brained scheme and he returned to England still having many problems and with a criminal court case pending his state of mind must have been profoundly unbalanced as he was committed to High Royds Mental Hospital in the West Riding of Yorkshire between 1901 and 1902.
On his release from the Hospital and much recovered he lived for another few years until his death in 1920.
One can only surmise that the family of the elder James Smith Barnfather must have been deeply affected by the very many events that had transpired over the preceding years and maybe these are the reasons that gave the impetus for James the son to break from the Barnfather family name and for him to take the name GIBSON for himself and his family.
Thanks for the update.
It is an extraordinary story about the elder Barnfather, and one that merits further research.
Name changes were very common in the early years with Australian history seeing a large share of intrigues particularly of suspected villains, conmen and swindlers entering the country to seek fortunes by fair or foul means. Historical documents from the goldfields in the states of Victoria and New South Wales reflected lists of name changes from men, women and even children. A case close to home was when my grandfather had in fact changed his name from John AB Long to John Ablong in the Eden-Monaro district not long after his arrival in the 1840s.
I will keep a weather-eye out for material you seek.
Until the next time.
Keep safe, in good spirit and in good health.
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