Thursday, April 3, 2014

Latest Middlebrook Reunion Newsletter–The Samuel Middlebrook Exhibition Reportback

The Samuel Middlebrook Exhibition

Report on a Wonderful Day in Katikati ( by Lauren Bavin)
Approximately 25 of us attended a wonderful day on Sunday in Katikati for the opening of the Samuel Middlebrook exhibition. It was so exciting to meet up with cousins close and distant, many of us meeting for the first time.
Paula at the Katikati Museum has done a wonderful job of displaying the many artifacts that Samuel collected during his lifetime, and it was quite emotional to see them together displayed for everyone to have access to.

A powhiri was performed by the local Maori elders and there was a performance by the local school Kapahaka group . before the opening of the exhibition.

The family had been given a private viewing of the exhibition before the opening so we had plenty of time to take it all in, though I'm sure many of us will be returning at a later date to take it in more fully.

Most of the exhibits were Maori in origin ( some extremely rare) but amongst them were these dental tools which really brought to life ( and proved) the family stories that Sam had acted many times as the dentist to the local Maori ( and one would assume the settlers also)

Frustratingly we never managed to capture a photograph of all of the family members there (  though we are hopeful that the journalist attending may have got one) but here are some of us. From left to right
Carolyn James ( Great Granddaughter) Jennie Forder ( Great Granddaughter) Diarne Poole ( Great Granddaughter) Julene Clough ( Great Granddaughter) Lynese Macfarlane ( Great Granddaughter) Lauren Bavin ( Great Great Granddaughter) Mary Beeching ( Great Granddaughter) Rebecca Theobold ( Great Great Granddaughter) Brooke Theobold ( Great Great Great Granddaughter)

Really we cant thank enough Julene and Lynese for their generosity in making this collection available to all of us.
I firmly believe we are not owners of our ancestors possessions and photographs  but just caretakers. It is just by chance that we have possession of them and that they didnt get passed down a different line - or horror of horrors, sold or destroyed over the years, and it feels so wonderful to know that others feel the same way by making available to all of us what is in essense all our histories.

WHO AM I ( and a lesson)

This photo which I scanned in the weekend while away is a great lesson in the phrase "Assume makes an ass out of "u" and "me".
I had previously had a copy of this photo , but it was a photocopy of just the photo- no surround, and had names written on with names .
The names written on the back were  Ellen Middlebrook (nee Farrer) with her daughters Elizabeth and Jane (?) and unknown granddaugther.
On looking at the photo I felt sure that this was correct and had assumed the woman on the left was in fact Jane. ( and I did recognise the woman on the right is in fact definitely Elizabeth)
However on scanning this original I was able to research the photographer to more accurately date the photo.
Theophilus Fairs operated a studio out of Pitt Street from 1891 through till the 1920s. We know Ellen died in 1915 so this photo must range from approximately 1891- through to just past the turn of the century based on the clothing worn.
Jane at this time would have been 50 years old. The woma n on the left is definitely NOT 50, and thinking about this photograph, it seems likely to me that it is in fact a "4 Generations Photo" .
So this is Great Grandmother Ellen, with daughter Elizabeth, Granddaugther and Great Granddaughter.
We have photographs of Elizabeths daughter Ellen Hardy so I believe this woman on the left must be Susan Jane Cooper ( nee Hardy) and the little girl may be her daughter Grace Ivy Cooper.
If anyone can confirm this I would dearly love to be able to put this new mystery to rest.!

Reunion Talking Time

One lesson we learned from this past weekend is that we need to allow plenty of casual talking time at the reunion. In the few hours we had on Sunday most of us mentioned it was impossible to speak to everyone we wanted to speak with, and how much more overwhelming it will be at the main reunion in January so we will be talking about how we can allow plenty of time for casual get together chats and how best we can arrange the rooms to allow for this at our next committee meeting.
Ideas on reunion organising would be MOST appreciated.  Feedback from you all is most welcome . You can simply reply to this email to have your say!

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