Black Sheep in the (New Zealand) Family?

I am sure these are not YOUR ancestors, right?

“What do What do Agnes Vallance, Agnes Skervington, Amy Laing, Amy Bennett, Amy Cameron, Amy Shannon, Amy Chanel, and Percy Redwood all have in common? Well, they are all aliases used by confidence trickster and male impersonator Amy Bock as she romped her way through New Zealand, defrauding her employees and, most notoriously, marrying a young woman in South Otago.

“You can now trace Amy’s career in and out of prison by searching the New Zealand Police Gazette (1877-1945). We have just made this title, along with the Canterbury Police Gazette (1863-1877) and the Otago Police Gazette (1861-1877) available and fully text searchable on Papers Past.”


“… you can find out that May Hallet, alias Curtain (pictured above) appeared in the court at Cambridge in July 1908 on two charges of false pretences, by going to p.387 of the 1908 Police Gazette (P. G. 08/387). She is described there as a prostitute with brown hair, large blue eyes, and a medium-sized nose.

“Searching for May Hallet in the newspapers on Papers Past reveals more of her story. In 1908, she travelled from Auckland to the Waikato, pretending to be from a well-off family. She convinced a young woman in Thames to give up her job to be her maid, later abandoning her in Cambridge, and had also persuaded “numerous gay young bachelors [to lay] their hearts at her feet…” according to the Star. Described the following year as a ‘charming bit of silk and muslin goods’ by the NZ Truth, Miss Hallet continued to travel through the country pretending to be a member of the upper classes and inducing young men to loan her money. By 1911 she was back in England, and in court there too.”

You can read more in an article by Melanie Lovell-Smith in the National Library of New Zealand’s web site at

One Comment

As a Criminal Geneaglist helping others find their naught ancestor’s criminal records this is really exciting, thanks Dick!!!!


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