Sunday, November 9, 2014

Middlebrook Reunion Newsletter dated September 29th


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Middlebrook Family History and the Cockroft Connection

by Lauren Bavin
We've focused a lot on the lives and descendants of the 6 Middlebrook children who arrived in New Zealand with their parents  survived to adulthood .
The youngest child Henry Cockroft  Middlebrook unfortunately died aged 15 on 25th September 1876 and is buried in the Wesleyan Cemetery in Symonds Street Auckland.

I had wondered for some time on the origin of Henrys middle name Cockroft.
It really sounded much like a surname but I couldnt initially find any Cockrofts in the family.
The trail to finding the origin was a tricky one, fraught with transcription errors and changes of location , but I can now confirm that indeed Henry Cockroft Middlebrook was named after a deceased Uncle.
To trace the name we need to go back to Samuel Middlebrook ( 1784-1846) the father of John Middlebrook who emigrated to NZ.
Samuel had 5 children
Mary Ann Middlebrook 1804
Elizabeth 1807
Fanny 1809
John 1812
Thomas 1815
In Samuels Will he left his estate in its entirety to John on the proviso he made the following paments
One Hundred Pounds to Samuels daughter Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Sturdy; One Hundred Pounds to Samuels daughter  Fanny, wife of Philip Smith; and Five pounds to Samuel's son Thomas . ( Mary Ann was not mentioned in the will  but we know she had married Christopher Wharton.
On finding the names of the husbands of Elizabeth and Fanny I then went to look for those marriages.
Fanny's marriage was easy to find in August 1841

However I could find no marriage between an Elizabeth Middlebrook and a Thomas Sturdy.
So instead of searching for Elizabeth Middlebrook I widened the search to Thomas Sturdy and all women named Elizabeth and there was our first clue..
On September 4 1843 there was a marriage between Thomas Sturdy and Elizabeth Cockroft


Father's Name:
Samuel Middlebrook

Spouse's Name:
Thomas Sturdy

Spouse's Father's Name:
William Sturdy

Marriage Date:
4 Sep 1843

Marriage Place:
York, Yorkshire, England

At last - there was our Cockroft connection.-
I then looked for Elizabeth and Thomas Sturdy in the 1851 census, however nothing initally came up.
I finally found them in the 1861 Census living at 73 Church Place W, Islington, Middlesex. Thomas was a Linen Draper and he was living with Elizabeth and their daughter Elizabeth Sturdy aged 16 and Thomas's step daughter Ellen Cockroft.
Ellen proved to be the final link in the puzzle to the Cockroft name.
Her baptism records dated 24th July 1834 list the following

Ellen Middlebrook Cockroft


Baptism Date:
24 Jul 1834

Baptism Place:
Saint Peter,Leeds,York,England

Henry Cockroft


At last - the proof- Henry Cockroft Middlebrook was named after his Uncle Henry Cockroft, first husband of his aunt Elizabeth.
I have yet to find a death for Henry, nor can I find any record of the original marriage but will keep looking.
After I had found Elizabeth and Thomas in 1861 I then tracked back in time to find them in 1851 to see if there were any other Cockroft children.
I finally found them at 13 Trafalgar Street Brighton. They hadn't originally shown up in a search as they had been mistranscribed as Thomas and Elizabeth Slindy.
Thomas was working as a Linen Draper assisted by family. Stepdaughter Ellen is listed as assiting in the family business.
Living with Thomas and Elizabeth at the time were Ellen Cockroft and another daughter Sarah Hannah Cockroft.
From there I went looking for Elizabeth with Ellen and Sarah in the 1841 census .
I finally found them living in a Boarding School in Low Harrogate . I assume Elizabeth was working as a servant there and they accommodated the girls for her.
Interestingly I briefly traced Ellen Middlebrook Cockrofts later life. It seemed her stepfather Thomas Sturdy had a great influence on her life as she continued in the Linen industry becoming an Embroidress.
She married Frederick Evershed who was also a Draper and Silk Miller, and had 4 children. ( in 1871 her mother Elizabeth Sturdy was living with them in Brighton)
Unfortunately Frederick died in 1872 and to support her children Ellen continued as an Embroidress ,by 1881 having her own business, and was assisted by her daughter Ellen Lucas Evershed.
At the time of the 1881census  she is visiting a family in London so there is little information on her family or occupation, however in 1891 she is listed as the Secretary of the Exhibition of Embroidery , and in 1901 and 1911 she is listed as an embroidress and employing staff in London.
Ellen Middlebrook Evershed died in March 1913.

Benjamin Farrar Hardy was a son of Elizabeth ( nee Midlebrook) and George Douglas Hardy.

Benjamin Farrer Hardy began his career in the fashion industry when he joined the company Rushbrook and Company of Auckland, before moving on to other draperies in Auckland where he gained further experience. Subsequently, in 1902 he was appointed manager of the Melbourne Clothing Company of Stratford .
By 1911 Ben Hardy had his own business in Picton Street Howick, where he remained until 1915 at which point he made a name for himself as a Master Draper in Thames.
Electoral roll records indicate that by 1928 he had moved back to Auckland and was living in  Oaklands Road Mt Eden and is still listed as a draper.
Ben Hardy married Martha Neilie in 1899 and they had two children, Norma Madeleine Middlebrook Hardy, ( 1905-1997) and Douglas Nelson Hardy (1905-1992)

The premises on the corner of Pollen and Cochrane Streets now occupied by Mr Ben. Hardy, the enterprising draper, and formally known as Martin's corner, have undergone wonderful changes in the course of a few months. Where formerly stood the old established business of Mr George Martin, has now arisen one of the most up-to-date emporiums in the town, and here Mr Hardy has set up business under modern conditions.

With a large and new building at his disposal and a stock that for excellence would be hard to beat, Mr Hardy has made a choice Xmas display. Everything is new, and consequently fashion followers can obtain all that they require in dress and accessories. The showroom contains some ravishing millinery samples, the newest shades and shapes being exhibited. Madame Fashion has so many vagaries that it is difficult to keep pace with her whims, but Mr Hardy understands what his Thames clients wants, and buys accordingly. Here lies the secret of his success since starting gin business in this town( and his numerous customers recognise his efforts to please them ); the enterprising draper has secured an exclusive array of chic graceful  millinery, and his ready to wear costumes are the last word in fashion. In all the leading shades and materials, they are perfectly sweet confections, and we would recommend the race goer in search for an original frock to call and inspect the splendid display at Hardy's. In charming military cut with pleated basques, mess coat style and flared skirts, they are le dernier cri . The whisps of lacy blouses: the effective dress trimmings, and the smart little muslin and voile frocks made in a variety of styles, including the popular pinafore design stamp Hardy's stock as thoroughly representative of what is being work in the fashion centres. In hosiery, gloves, stockings, and sunshades, the shop is replete, also with dainty dress fabrics. There are the usual accompaniments for the ladies in toilet accessories, etc, in which the feminine mind delights. Hardy's is an admirable place for the Xmas shopper and the enterprising proprietor is thoroughly deserving of the increasing patronage which is offerings are bringing  him. He has installed one of the latest electric cash registers in the district, it being worked with a minimum of waiting for the customer, and combines efficiency of service with wonderful capabilities for silently recording the sales. It is a striking innovation and is built on an elaborate scale. Mr Hardy is indeed catering for public stores in Thames. His Xmas stock is a fine one.

Thames Star 22nd December 1915


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 .
With Christmas between now and the Reunion date, and the busy season encroaching on our lives we have to set a close off date for any photos to be included in the Pictorial History books to be published for the reunion.
The last date for receipt of copies of photos to be included will be November 30.  If Lauren receives photos and stories before this date we will make every effort to have them included. After this date no guarantees can be made, so please dig out those photos and scan them, and more importantly jot down any stories or facts  you think may be of interest for inclusion in the book

This photo came from Max Bercich and was probably from the collection his mother inherited from Olive Winks( nee Middlebrook) .
The photo looks as if it could be the same child - this photo was from the Te Awamutu Museum and was credited as Joyce Middlebrook. To our knowledge there was no Joyce Middlebrook but there was a Joyce Stonex.
Joyce Ada Stonex was born in 1921 and was the youngest daughter of Frederick and Eleanor ( nee Middlebrook) Stonex. Could this be Joyce Stonex??

Reunion Registration Details.

We are excited at the number of registrations we have already received. It sounds like there will be quite a few coming from Australia and this is great to hear.  Its very rewarding to think that through the reunion we are connecting so many family members together.
Reunion registration details are below.
Saturday 24th January - Cost $40 for adults, $10 for children 8-13, Free for children 7 and Under
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. The book is well into production now. In order to include as many branches of the family as possible we need your input.  Please send any family stories and or photos to Lauren as soon as possible.
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 - Cost $50 per adult, $45 per child 8-13 and $ 35 per child Under 7  ( Im sure we will be able to accommodate a lesser cost for children under 5 but we are still working on this)
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
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

Grave Restoration

The restoration of Ellen  Middlebrook's grave is proceeding nicely - You can see that much of the lichen has been removed and the original white marble is now visible and the engraving is easily readable.
With a little more TLC it should be looking very much better than it was 5 months ago as shown below.

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

Remember to fill in a Family Group Sheet Form here if you havent already

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