Sunday, August 17, 2014

Middlebrook Reunion Newsletter 11 August 2014

Early Reunion Registration Discount Ends Soon

Early registration discount ends August 30
The reunion will be held on January 24th and 25th 2015 at Fairway Lodge, Silverfield, Takapuna in Auckland.
We have negotiated what we feel is the best  price and format for our needs and we are able to offer
several options in our aim to have as many attend as possible. We hope to make  this event pleasurable and enjoyable as possible while making it as affordable as we can.
To that end we have formatted the two days as follows:
Saturday 24th January
11am - 4pm
The day will begin with check in where you will be issued with name tags denoting which branch of the family you belong to . This will make it easy for you to recognise those who descend from the same branch of the family as yourself.
From 12 noon we will have our photographer taking formal group photos of each branch of the family and of the whole group, along with roaming candid photos throughout the day.
These photographs will be available in an inexpensive  book form, after the reunion. Orders to be taken on the day or beforehand  via a form which will be included in a later newsletter.
Leading up to the reunion we will announce the price of  a photographic family history book which will be available for pre-purchase and pick up at the reunion.
Finger food and tea and coffee will be supplied throughout the day and a cash bar will also be available for those who wish to make use of it.
There will be photographic and informational displays and a large family tree available for viewing.
Saturday primarily though is a mix and mingle event where we can all get to know each other.
Feel free to bring along any photos or copies, along with family mementos you wish to share or display.
Saturday Evening
This is at your leisure. We have suggestions for local restaurants for those interested.
Sunday 25th January
12 noon - 3:00pm
Buffet Luncheon
Sit down lunch with presentations and speakers (descendants) and cutting of the Reunion Cake
Middlebrook Reunion Registration Form
If you prefer to print and fill in a paper form you can download it here


This newsletter now goes out to 61 separate email addresses. Its great that there is so much interest in the Middlebrook Family.
For those who have only recently joined us - you can find past newsletters online
CLICK  HERE to read them

James Bailey Cooper and John Thompson Middlebrook

Above is a copy of a page of the will of James Bailey Cooper who was married to Susan Jane Hardy, daughter of Elizabeth ( nee Middlebrook) and George Douglas Hardy.
In it, named as executor was James Thompson Middlebrook, son of John and Mary Ann Middlebrook of Te Awamutu.
John states in the will he had been a personal friend of James Bailey Cooper for  "about 45 years up until his death" - this would have made them friends before the turn of the century.
They could well also have been neighbours of a sort, with the Coopers having a farm a few miles out of Otorohanga and John Thompson running a farm in Korakanui - the two districts being very close in location, however it would appear that they had been friends well before this, as the Middlebrook family did not move to Te Awamutu until after the turn of the century.

John Middlebrook and Jane Thompson McRae (nee Middlebrook)

This photo of siblings Jane McRae and John Middlebrook was proportedly taken before both embarked on a cruise on the ship Mononwai to the Pacific Islands  in 1935.
Currently I have confirmed that John Middlebrook was in fact a passenger on this cruise in July of that year but I have not managed to confirm Jane accompanied him .
Its also unknown where this photo was taken . We have several other photographs which appear to be taken in the same garden.

John Middlebrook and Samuel Middlebrook

This photo , taken in 1933 at Korakanui  shows brothers Samuel and John Middlebrook. It could possibly have been taken at the funeral of Johns son Walter in that year.


Wedding photos can give us some of the best clues as to the family dynamics and relationships between siblings and cousins. Often we get to see people we would never have a photo of otherwise. They form a great basis for research as,there are frequently group shots taken that include all of the guests or family members present

This wedding photo shows Olive Rush ( granddaughter of Jane Thompson Middlebrook and daughter of Mary Rush, nee McRae) along with 3 of her  4 brothers and her sister Phyllis on the left

This wedding photo of Lily Hardy ( daughter of George and Elizabeth Hardy (nee Middlebrook) includes some of our only photos of some of the other Hardy children, including Susan Jane Cooper ( nee Hardy)  seated on the far left Ellen Hardy, ( second from left standing) and possibly Robert Farrer Hardy ( far left ) and Benjamin Hardy ( 3rd from left back row)

This photo of guests present at the wedding of John Thompson Middlebrook and Susannah Frost includes all of the children of John Middlebrook and more, and most have been identified.

This is the wedding of Cis (Margaret Matlida) Rea. Cis was the youngest sister of Mary Jane Rea- wife of Samuel Middlebrook. She was 16 years younger than Mary Jane and only a few years older than Margaret ( Dot) and Ellie, MaryJanes older daughters. It appears that Cis was bought up for some time by Mary Jane along with her  children . Its not surprising then that Dot and Ellie were bridesmaids for Cis when she married Alexander Stanaway

Cis also appears  on the far right in this photo of Samuel with his children ( Dot Ellie Bert Bess and Maisie) The occasion of this gathering was the daughter of Valerie Middlebrook, Berts eldest daughter .
If you have any wedding photos to add to our collection, please send them to Lauren for inclusion in the reunion book

There are at least three members of the family who carry the name Thompson as their middle name.
Jane Thompson Middlebrook, James Thompson Middlebrook and John Thompson Middlebrook.
The Thompson name comes from Ellen's branch of the family.
Ellen's mother  was Ellen Thompson of Fairburn Yorkshire.The Thompson family have a long history in the small village of Fairburn Yorkshire.
Ellens father was Publican James Thompson.

James Thompson was born in 1758 in Fairburn Yorkshire.
The family been residents  in Fairburn for hundreds of years.Son of William Thompson of Fairburn .
He was baptiised on July 23rd of that year at Ledsham  Parish Church.
  Nothing is known of James’ life until his marriage at Ledsham to Elizabeth Whittaker. In 12 March 1798, James, along with Edward Williamson and Thomas  Jackson purchased a property described as two dwelling houses, a blacksmith and outbuildings.
At what point James decided to create a public house on the premises is unknown but the Baines's Directory and Gazetteer Directory of 1822 lists James Thompson as Victualer of the 3 Horse Shoes  .
James and Elizabeth had 6 children, a son, and 5 daughters.  Son, James, born in 1784  became a chemist and moved to Stonegate York.
Ellen Thompson, born 1787 married Benjamin Farrer, a successful watch and clock maker from nearby Pontefract.
The other daughters were Elizabeth born 1793, Sarah born 1795, Ann, born 1800 and Hannah born 1802 . Hannah married Thomas Elliot a farmer from Wakefield Yorkshire in 1831
James  remained in Fairburn as publican at the Three Horseshoes until his death in September 1841 aged 80 where he resided with his 3 unmarried daughters, Elizabeth Sarah and Ann.  His will was very specific. He left the pub and its surrounding property to his unmarried daughters, as long as they remained unmarried.  Elizabeth and Sarah went on to become the publicans at the Three Horse Shoes until their deaths in 1866 and 1867 respectively.  Ann remained living in the pub until after 1851 (aged 51) but her whereabouts after this date are unknown .

The Last Will and Testament of me
James Thompson of Fairburn in the County of York, Gentleman, made this Eighteenth day of April in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty one. First I direct that all my just debts and funeral and testamentary expenses and the charges of proving and registering this, my will be fully paid out of  my property by my Executor, which I here appoint my Son Mr James Thompson of York, Druggist into whose hands I entrust the whole of  my property for the use of Elizabeth my wife and Daughters as follows. I Will that my said wife Elizabeth Thompson shall have the whole of whatever property I may have for her and by Daughters who remain unmarried/Sole use and benefit during the term of my said wife’s natural life and at my said wife’s death I will that those my daughters, who may remain unmarried shall have a house genteely furnished out of the house which I now reside then I will that the property now consisting of Three dwelling houses, with the premises thereto belonging situate about the centre of the Village of Fairburn, near the crofts be given to my daughters for there support while they remain unmarried  . Should any of them marry or die, the said property to be held by the single daughter or daughters so continuing unmarried and then I will that the completion of this part of my will that the remainder of the furniture with the house in which I now reside together with the land belonging thereto be valued and disposed of according to the judgment of those my son and daughters concerned to do as they may think proper and if the parties concerned agree to sell the property I will that it be so sold and the money equally divided amount them, share and share alike and then I will that at the marriage or death of my daughters, now single, the said property which haws held by them shall with all the residue of my property be disposed of to the best advantage for the use and benefit of those my Son and Daughters concerned and should my Son or any of them my daughters die before the execution of this my will leaving lawful issue such children to have the parents share equally divided amongst them share and share alike And I hereby revoke all my former wills In witness whereof I the said James Thompson have to this my last will and Testament set my and and seal the day and year bore written
Signed sealed published and declared by the said James Thompson the testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.


We are seeking contact with descendants of Mary (Maisie)  Lucinda Wishart Middlebrook
She married Joseph Johnson and then Charles (Mac) Edwards.
She had three daughters Glenda, Ngaire and Ruth, and one son, Raymond  who died as an infant
Glenda died in 1940, Ngaire married Warwick Harvey and had 2 children that we know of -  Warwick and Jennifer Harvey.- both would be in their late 60s or early 70s
Ruth married Wilfred Henry Pool. We have no information on their children if any.
We would love to get in contact with Maisies descendants to include them in the reunion.
If anyone has any ideas on where to look for them please let us know.

Middlebrook Family History Website is now Live

The first stage of the Middlebrook Family History Website is now up and viewable.
The Stories page is regularly updated so feel free to check for new images and stories .
Lauren will be adding to the next generation  pages as time permits

We are still looking for further photographs to include in the Pictorial book which will be available at the reunion - please email Lauren if you have anything at all which may be of interest. This includes not just photographs from the 19th century but also 20th century photographs pertaining to the Middlebrook family.
If you do not have any way of scanning the photographs we may be able to organise someone to visit .


It is possible this is Ellen Middlebrook. We have one image of her as a young woman ( below) and a few as a much older woman There are great similarities especially around the nose , and the hairline but the eye line is less similar.
If anyone else  has a copy of this photo we would appreciate a scan of it, especially if it has any identifying writing on the back or if it is a larger version

Your Stories Urgently Required

We are still urgently requiring stories for the newsletter and also for the reunion book. Without your help there are most certainly going to be gaps in the research. This could be as simple as jotting down your memories of your parents, grandparents, or any stories you have been told relating to all branches  the family. 
Remember to fill in a Family Group Sheet Form here if you havent already

Copyright © 2014 Middlebrook Reunion Project, All rights reserved

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