Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Latest Middlebrook Reunion Newsletter ( March 27)

Middlebrook News

Welcome to New "Cousins"
Welcome to those who have signed up for updates since the last newsletter went out last week. Its great to see we are growing in number. Remember to spread word to family and have them sign up or email to sign up.
We now have descendants signed up from 5 of the 6 children  who survived to adulthood of John and Ellen ( we are missing descendants of Benjamin who moved to Australia and worked as a ships engineer - though  her returned to NZ to marry Alice Lane- he settled and had his family in New South Wales) .

Reminder - Samuel Middlebrook Collection Opening this Sunday  - 30 March - in Katikati

We believe there will be about 20 of us at the opening of the Samuel Middlebrook Collection in Katikati on Sunday.  Paula from the museum is reserving tables for us for lunch after the opening. For many of us this will be the first time we have met so it is very exciting ( A pre reunion reunion so to speak), and is arranging a private viewing before the official opening for us. 

There are several newspaper articles being published regarding the collection and also the reunion.
Many thanks of course go to those descendants who donated the collection,  making it available to everyone in the family, and the public. What a wonderful gift to us you have given.
For those who cant be there , the next newsletter will contain photographs of the event .

Last weeks Who Am I photo is still a bit of a mystery. However it was pointed out that perhaps the woman on the right who we thought was Jane Thompson Middlebrook ( the elder) perhaps is NOT her.   The woman on the left appears indeed to be one of the "Farrer Sisters" - ( daughters of Ellen Farrer's brother Robert)   and as these two women have quite a strong family resemblance, perhaps they are sisters
If this is the case, then descendants of Jane and James were both in contact with the Farrer Family back in England, with both families retaining  photos

Another Family Pub!

Thanks to Peter Hingston, the Thompson branch of the family tree now has a lot more leaves! - and a pub.
Ellen Middlebrook's parents were Benjamin and Ellen Farrer - Ellen's  maiden name was Thompson,and her mother was Ellen Thompson .  The Thompson family hailed from the village of Fairburn, very near Pontefract where the Farrers lived. It seems they had lived in this village for hundreds of years.  The village was so small it didnt have its own church until 1846 and previous to that was part of the parish of Ledsham.
The parish records of Ledsham were transcribed in the early 19th century and from there it was easy to tell the Thompson family had been part of the community for  a long time ( at least as far back as the early 17th century)
By researching the parish records I was able to add many Thompsons to the family tree.
Ellen's father James Thompson  ( 1748-1841) was the "Victualler" at the Three Horse Shoes Pub in Silver Street Fairburn as shown in the photo above ( Google Street View Screenshot)
James had one son ( James) and at least 5 daughters. His daughters Elizabeth Sarah Ann and Hannah seemed to take over the running of the pub after James death.
I (Lauren) have ordered a digitised copy of James' Will ( and also that of Samuel Middlebrook (1784-1846)) which is available through the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York and will let you know of its contents when it is delivered .
Elizabeth and Sarah Thompson never married and are buried at St James Churchyard in Fairburn

    You can learn more about the history of Fairburn here


    Would anyone care to have a go at dating this photo, or working out where it is and who the little girls are?
    This photo is from the collection pertaining to Jane Thompson McRae ( nee Middlebrook) ( Of course this photo may not be Jane's immediate family just to confuse matters but there appear to be other photos of these two girls - or girls very like them, amongst the photos)
    Based on the state of the road it is quite early but it is clearly in a built up area ..
    Jane is known to have lived in the following addresses ( and there could be more places we arent aware of )
    Opua ( 1880s and 90s , Cobden Street Auckland,( 1898, 1904, 1905-6) Eden Cres Auckland ( 1900, 1901)
    Arkles Bay 1911-1915, Owens Road Devonport and Kiwi Rd Devonport.
    We can discount Opua Arkles Bay and Devonport , but of course this photo may well relate to one of her childrens residences
    Her daughter Jane Elizabeth  lived in Karangahape Road in 1905-6, at 27 McKelvie Street Grey Lynn in 1911and later at St Heliers .
    We would love to be able to place this house and these little girls .  If any of you have any ideas please let us know at


    If you have any stories and or photos you would like to share in the newsletter please do send them to Lauren . We would love to include them in forthcoming newsletters.

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