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Leadbeater documents

Sep 06, 2004 04:21 PM
by gregory

In response to Daniel's questions:

All my Leadbeater research material is now packed away in numerous boxes. 
I am currently a Professor and Director of Postgraduate Programs in a 
University Law School and lack the time (or I must add, the inclination) 
to search them. However, it seems to me that the question of Leadbeater's 
birth date is being approached from the wrong direction. It is a standard 
rule of evidence that an official, state document (e.f. a birth 
certificate given over the seal of the Registrar General) is accepted as 
evidence of a date of birth until and unless convincing contrary evidence 
is produced. I await such contrary evidence.

1. From a research point of view, do you know when the 1847 birthdate 
first surfaced?

No. My own research was supplemented by that of Miss Lilian Storey, then 
Librarian at the TS in London, and an accomplished genealogist. At the 
request of John Coats she repeated all my research into Leadbeater's 
family, and went further by tracking them through the British census 
returns. However, neither of us searched the census records after 
Leadbeater's ordination in the Church of England or his return to London 
from Ceylon when he (presumably) would have submitted the data. This may 
be an interesting avenue to pursue, and I have asked a colleague in 
London (who is skilled at such research) to look at the census records 
(when he has time).

2. Did Mr. Leadbeater ever specifically state in writing when he was born?

He gave his birth date on his application for ordination. Leadbeater 
would have reported his age (and thus indirectly the year of his birth) 
when submitting census returns after about 1878 (see answer above). 
Likewise when he registered his mother's death. His mother gave his age 
when registering her husband's death.

3. Also do you know of any caches of Leadbeater's letters from the 1880s 
and early 1890s?

Yes. There is correspondence between Leadbeater and Olcott while 
Leadbeater was in Ceylon. I have copies of it somewhere. There were a 
couple of letters to HPB and some to Sinnett. There would have been a 
substantial number of letters written by Leadbeater in answer to 
inquirers (this was one of his major roles when initially at Adyar) but, 
as far as I know, there are no copies of these.

4. I wonder if one needed to give one's age or birthdate on the 
application for membership in the T.S.

No. I have a copy of Leadbeater's application for membership and it does 
not include either birth date or age.

5. Also since Leadbeater traveled out of England in 1884, would his 
age/birthdate have been on his passport? If so, are passport records for 
that year still archived somewhere
in England?

I have some correspondence from the British passport agency regarding the 
history of Britsih passport use. My recollection is that passports were 
not generally required up until after World War I and that in the early 
days of their use the information contained in them was simply that 
provided by the holder without any need for documentary evidence in 
support. Very different to today!

Dr Gregory Tillett

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