Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Latest Reunion Newsletter ( April 14)

Welcome to new Subscribers

We have had 5 new sets of contacts this week. Welcome to family near and far who are interested in joining us for our family reunion in January.
We hope to have some firm plans with prices very soon.
The difficulty of course is not knowing exact numbers so please do spread the word to your family far and wide and have them sign up here if they are interested so we can get a better indication of numbers . We would hate to book a venue that turns out to be too small and have to turn people away so its pretty important we get an idea of numbers as soon as possible.
You can reply to this email with an indication of how many you think might be coming from your family - no commitments needed - just an indication would be a great help.

Getting together

One of the reasons for a family reunion is for family near and far to get together.
The Middlebrook Family in have been coming together in various ways for over 100 years.
We have evidence of various branches of the family travelling to be with each other at numerous times .

This photo, taken at a family wedding features Edith Armstrong( daughter of John Middlebrook) with her first cousins, Mary Rush( nee McRa and Jane Elizabeth Simpson ( nee McRa)

This gorgeous photo shows John Stewart ( Johnnie) and John Thompson Middlebrook. Johnnie was the eldest son of Samuel Middlebrook and John Thompson was the eldest son of John Middlebrook.  This photo was  taken in Ponsonby where John was living at the time must have been taken about 1890-92 . Perhaps Samuel had made a trip up to Auckland from Katikati  for a family get together.

Obtaining both of these photos from 2 different sources allowed us to identify both girls - obviously taken the same day - the top one came from a collection of photos at Te Awamutu museum relating to the John Middlebrook Family.  - It was identifed as Harriet on the left, but we believe it was in fact Edith Middlebrook( daughter of John) .
The Other photo with Edith sitting and the other girl standing was identifed as Margaret ( Dot) Middlebrook ( eldest daughter of Samuel) on the left.  Edith and Margaret are only a year apart in age. This photo looks to have been take when the girls were perhaps in their very late teens or very early 20s so approximately 1906 or 7

This photo of John and Samuel was taken at Korakanui in 1933, perhaps at the funeral of John's youngest son Walter Middlebrook which occured in January of that year.

This photo of John Middlebrook and Jane McRae ( nee Middlebrook) was taken in 1935, not long before the deaths of both siblings. It is thought they were passengers together on a Pacific Island Cruise on the Monowai in that year.

Childhood Memories

(By Jennie Forder)

Hello, I'm Jennie Forder ( nee Goodwin)  and as a great granddaughter of Samuel,Middlebrook,
I have been very interested in following the informative reunion newsletters.
My grandmother was Ellen Goodwin (nee Middlebrook) who was one of Sam's six children.
I was born and lived in Auckland and from a young age, I fondly remember regular visits to Nana's and Da's ( as her husband Phillip was affectionately known by all family and close friends) in Mt Albert, Auckland, sometimes staying over a period of a few days during the school holidays.
In particular I loved staying those few days before Christmas when Nana would be busy baking and preparing wonderful dishes for the Christmas Day luncheon which would be enjoyed by all her family, many of them making the annual pilgrimage to Auckland from Wellington.  Not only was it an exciting time for me and my sister, Lorraine to meet up with our Goodwin cousins, but I would also be sure to "help" Nana with her baking by licking the bowls and wooden spoons thoroughly clean!
However, hardly a few days with Nana and Da would go by without me asking to see the Middlebrook family photographs.  This always gave me immense pleasure and Nana would oblige by dragging the suitcase out from the hall cupboard, which contained dozens of black and white photos of her relations ..... her father Samuel, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins ... made all the more fascinating for me because of their Victorian dresses and gowns.
Ellen and Phillip Goodwin were married in the Matamata Presbyterian Church on 6 January 1909  and what young girl wouldn't want to see a photograph of her Nana on her wedding day!  I clearly recall asking Nana on numerous occasions, "where's the photo of you as a bride?"  Her standard vague reply was always "well, Jennie, I don't know where it is.  Da and I shifted house so many times, it must've got lost somewhere."  My parents, Austin and Sylvia never saw one, nor did my sister or any of my aunts and uncles or cousins.
When Nana and Da moved out of their old home into a home unit in their twilight years, many of Nana's old photos unfortunately disappeared.  Since we  started on our quest to trace the Middlebrook ancestors and
descendants, some of those old photographs of my grandmother's relations have reappeared from others' photo albums, which has brought back many childhood memories of sitting on the lounge floor at Nana's and Da's, pouring over the contents of that old suitcase.
So .... if Nana and Da did have photos taken on their wedding day (and looking at how many others have come to light recently, proves the Middlebrooks were not averse to the click of the camera shutter) where are they?
So please check your family's old photo albums to see if there's one that may resemble a young man and woman aged 25 and 21 who are celebrating their wedding.  A photo may even have "Ellie and Phil" written on the back.

Middlebrook Family Pictorial History Book

We hope to have available for order and purchase at the reunion, a pictorial history book devoted to the Middlebrook Family.
In order for Lauren to complete this book, she needs copies of photos and in particular, if known, the stories relating to those photos as early as possible.
We would love to cover as many branches of the family as possible in the book, so dig out those photos and scan and send them to Lauren as soon as you can .
Unidentified photos are also welcome as we have managed to identify quite a few already with comparisons to other photos, and enquiries  with other family members.

Visit to Cemeteries

We would like an indication as to how many would be interested in trips to local cemeteries of interest.
John Middlebrook sr and son Henry are buried at the Wesleyan Cemetery at Symonds Street. It is thought though the location of the graves is known that there are no headstones .
John's daugther Ellen Farrer Middlebrook is buried in the Anglican Cemetery at Symonds Street.  Investigations are being made as to the location of this grave ( We suspect she is buried with her maternal grandfather John Tucker but this is yet to be confirmed. There was a headstone for her grave in 1950. Lauren will be making a trip to the cemetery soon to investigate further.
Ellen Middlebrook (sr)  and James Thompson Middlebrook are buried at Purewa. Ellen has a large marble headstone and we hope to have this restored by the time of the reunion.James has a ground level plaque beside his mother.
There are also at least 5 Middlebrooks buried at Waikumete .
With enough interest we could organise a bus trip to the cemeteries, and other places of note, as part of the reunion.
Middlebrook Family Website Coming Soon.
Lauren is currently in the process of building a website devoted to Middlebrook Family History. - more details to come on this in future newsletters.


Your Stories Required

We welcome and would much appreciate your reminiscences or stories relating to the Middlebrook Family for inclusion in future newsletters and on the upcoming website..

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