Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Cockroft Connection- An Ancestor a week for 20 weeks - number 13




The youngest child of John and Ellen Midlebrook was  Henry Cockroft  Middlebrook unfortunately died aged 15 on 25th September 1876 and is buried in the Wesleyan Cemetery in Symonds Street Auckland. I have wondered about the origin of his  middle name Cockroft which sounds very much like a surname

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

n Samuels Will he left his estate in its entirety to John on the proviso he made the following payments
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
Gender:     Female
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.
The children in this census  proved to be the final link in the puzzle to the Cockroft name

Her baptism records dated 24th July 1834 list the following
Name:     Ellen Middlebrook Cockroft
Gender:     Female
Baptism Date:     24 Jul 1834
Baptism Place:     Saint Peter,Leeds,York,England
Father:     Henry Cockroft     Mother:     Elizabeth

And finally - the proof- Henry Cockroft Middlebrook was named after his Uncle Henry Cockroft, first husband of his aunt Elizabeth. 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 assisting 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.Further research indicates there was another child of Henry and Elizabeth Cockroft.
Henry William Middlebrook Cockroft was born on July 6 1836 and baptised on January 10 1837 at Leeds.

Despite hours of searching I have been able to find neither  the marriage of Henry and Elizabeth, nor the death of Henry, which apparently occured before the birth of Sarah in  August 1838, as her baptism record lists her father as the Late Henry Cockroft , cloth merchant of Leeds.
A newspaper advertisement for the sale of the “Modern and Valuable Furnishings of the Late Henry Cockroft” dated Twenty Sixth March 1838 indicates he died in the early months of that year.
The assumption could be that in order to support her 2 children and her unborn child, Elizabeth had to sell the contents of her home and then eventually move elsewhere.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ancestor a week for 20 weeks– week 12 A Blended Family– Sullivan-Middlebrook



For this weeks Ancestor – I chose to do a family rather than just one ancestor – there are 2 blended families in the Middlebrook clan, and I had previously covered the Simpson family. This time I have done a page on the Sullivan-Middlebrook family


When James Thompson Middlebrook married Julia Ann  Sullivan  he inherited a family with 5 children aged from15 year old Frank down to 8 year old Dorothy. Julia was a pupil-teacher at Pearoa School and in 1886  married Arther Walter Sullivan who had recently become the headmaster at the school. Walter died aged only 47in June 1901, leaving Julia a widow with a family of 5 children to support.  It is said she and James met on a “widows cruise”. James however was not a widow but was recently divorced from his first wife Elizabeth who had deserted him some years earlier.   He and Julia married in December 1902 and for some years they resided in Opua where James was employed by New Zealand Railways. In October 1903 they had their first child together- Farrer Middlebrook, followed by twins Nelson Bartle( Bart) and Eva Rhys in 1905. Julia’s last child was Charles Russell (Known as Russell) . Some time after Russell’s birth the family moved to Auckland. Sadly Frank, the eldest son was killed in the Dardanelles on May 19 1915.

For the rest of the children religion features strongly  with Bertha and Phyllis both becoming Nuns (one Catholic, and one Anglican) and Farrer becoming an Anglican Minister) but perhaps the strongest trait in the family is the huge artistic talent.

From Julia , to Eva, Farrer and Russell, each was extremely talented in the fine arts, Eva was a commercial artist at the time of her marriage, Russell becoming a great sculptor- both he and Eva attended Elam Art School. Russell and Farrer are responsible for lettering and sculpture on the Auckland Museum.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Ancestor A week for 20 weeks number 11 - Middlebrook-Fazackerley Wedding



The marriage of Eva Rhys, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Middlebrook, of Mount Albert, to Thomas Henry, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Fazackerley, of Liverpool, was celebrated at St. Luke's Church. The Rev. Beck officiated. The bride, who was given away by her  brother-in-law, Mr. Sydney Runciman, wore a dainty frock of lace over georgette, swathed waistband with diamond buckle, and the simple bodice had a cluster of flowers on one shoulder. Her veil, a family heirloom, was of beautiful Honiton lace. A coronet of orange  blossom was worn round the head. She carried a shower bouquet of tuberoses and asters, tied with silver ribbon. The Misses Runciman looked sweet as bridesmaids, dressed in powder blue georgette with caps of tulle and bandeaux of blue satin. The reception was held at the residence of the bride's parents. The rooms were decorated with bowls of mauve and pink asters and a dainty afternoon tea was served. The bride's mother wore a smart beige ensemble suit with the skirt embroidered in contrasting colours and a hat to tone. Mrs. Sydney Runciman was gowned in mauve georgette with a petal skirt and a black and white velvet flower on the shoulder and black hat. Miss Bartle wore black brocade. Amongst the guests were: Sister Hannah, Sister Agnes ,Mesdames Ruddock, Kaiiand, Potter P. J Bach, Rickard, Wilson, Bowles, S. Hunt, Leahy, the Misses Anne and A. Ruddock, E. Coldicutt, M. Hutton-Whitelaw, Fazackerley and Cock.

Auckland Star 14 March 1929

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Last Will of Samuel Middlebrook




This is number  10  in my Ancestor a Week for 20 Weeks challenge

I thought it would be nice in this layout to not only show the actual will  and the original funeral card which I found in an album belonging to this mans namesake Samuel Middlebrook ( my GG Grandfather) but include the signature – how cool is that to see the signature of your Great Great Great Great Grandfather!!


This is the last Will and Testament of me Samuel Middlebrook of Millbridge in the Township of Liversedge in the parish of Birstal in the County of York, Innkeeper. I order and direct all my just Debts, Funeral and Testamentary Expenses and charges of proving and registering this my Will to be paid by my Executor hereinafter appointed out of my personal Estate as soon as convenient after my decease. I give devise and bequeath to my son John Middlebrook all my real and personal Estates whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind soever the same may be to hold the same unto and to the use of my said son John, his heirs, executors administrators and assigns according to the nature and quality thereof respectively. And I do hereby charge and make liable the property hereinbefore given and devised to my said son John, with the payment of the Legacies or Sums following, that is to say, to my Daughter Elizabeth, the Wife of Thomas Sturdy the Legacy or Sum of One Hundred Pounds. To  my daughter Fanny, the wife of Philip Smith the Legacy of Sum of One Hundred Pounds: both the last mentioned Legacies to be paid at the Expiration of twelve months from my decease, but without interest; and to my Son Thomas Middlebrook the Legacy or Sum of Five Pounds to be paid at my decease.  And I appoint to  my son John Executor of this my Will and do hereby revoke and make void all other Wills by me at anytime heretofore made and do declare this to be my Last Will and Testament. In witness where I have to this my Will the whole whereof is contained on this and the preceding side of one sheet of paper subscribed my name this Twenty Ninth day of May in the Year of our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and forty six.
Signed by the before named Samuel
Middlebrook in the presence of us,
present at the same time who have
hereunto signed our names as
Witnesses thereto in the presence of the
said Samuel Middlebrook and at his
request and in the presence of each other
Joseph Chadwick- Hatter Millbridge
William Sykes Attorney Millbridge

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

20 Ancestors in 20 Weeks–Number 9–Benjamin 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

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Family of Jane Thompson Middlebrook


As part of my family reunion in January I hope to create not only a book with stories but a book with pictures – of as many descendants as I can lay my hands on.


Here are the pages I created on Jane Thompson Middlebrook and her family. I mainly have photographs from only 2 of Janes Children – Jane Elizabeth, and Mary, with just one or two relating to  other children .


20 Ancestors in 20 Weeks–Number 7 - Elizabeth Middlebrook



     Elizabeth  was the third daughter of Ellen and John Middlebrook, born in December 1851 in Millbridge Yorkshire. She was at least the third generation of Elizabeth Middlebrooks, being named after an Aunt, and a Great Aunt . Elizabeth was 11 when she along with her parents and siblings left England and made the long journey to New Zealand aboard the Shalimar, arriving in December 1862.
Just 6 years later in 1868 she married George Douglas Hardy, and soon after they made their home in Duke Street ( later called Karaka Street), the same street her family had lived in since soon after her fathers death in 1866. Elizabeth was to give birth to at least 11 children, however tragically 5 of them died as infants or young children.  In addition to her  own 6 remaining children she also bought up her Grandson Frank Leslie ( Son of daughter Ellen Hardy) as her own child. By the late 1870s her husband George became a warder (and later chief attendant) at the Whau Lunatic Asylum. This may have prompted the family to move first to Bellwood Mt Eden and later to New Lynn and finally to Bollard Street Avondale where she lived for over 20 years .In later life George ( and probably Elizabeth) became members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church., her funeral was held at the Blockhouse Bay Seventh day Adventist Church after her death on March 8th 1943 at the grand age of 93.