I remember that when I heard talk from my older relatives it seemed like everyone in New Zealand must be my Great Grandmothers cousin, she seemed to be related to so many people at the time . ( Not that there were any vast family “get togethers” of the MIDDLEBROOK family during my lifetime, its just that I recall her saying,” Shes my cousin” or “He’s my Cousin you know” so often, to the point that it became a bit of a family joke that when we saw someone, one of us might say –” oh thats Nanna’s cousin”.
Well now that I’ve got involved in family history research I do realise that Nanna did in fact have lots of cousins, because the MIDDLEBROOK family seemed to have a propensity to have many children.
Nanna had 2 Aunts and 3 Uncles ( 2 of that generation had died in childhood leaving 6 children of Ellen and John MIDDLEBROOK)
Her Uncle James Thompson MIDDLEBROOK had from what I can gather 4 children, her own parents had 6. her Uncle John MIDDLEBROOK and his wife Mary had at least 12 children . Her Aunt Elizabeth and her husband George Hardy had 10 children that I’ve discovered, and her Uncle Benjamin in Australia had at least 3.
Her eldest Aunt Jane Thompson MIDDLEBROOK had 7 children with her first husband James John McRA(E)
Last Friday I met up with a cousin of mine. – Well at 3rd cousin once removed in fact- a descendant of Jane Thompson MIDDLEBROOK and Judith and I had a great morning sifting through records and comparing names and dates and even a few photographs.
On the left is my Great Grandmother Ellen MIDDLEBROOK, and on the right is her cousin Jane Elizabeth MCRAE . I have several photos of Nanna but I chose one here where both girls appear to be about the same age.
Ellen’s childhood was spent in KatiKati and Jane’s in the Bay of Islands so I have no idea if they knew each other or met at any time in their youth, or indeed if they ever met each other at all ,Jane, being born in 1880 would have been 7 years older than Ellen who wasn’t born till 1887.
The both carried family names, that were duplicated many times within their generation. Ellen was named after her Grandmother Ellen MIDDLEBROOK (Nee FARRER), who in turn was named after her own mother Ellen FARRER( nee THOMPSON), and there were at least 3 other Ellens within her own generation of cousins.
Jane, being named after her Mother Jane Thompson MIDDLEBROOK, was one of 2 Janes in her generation.
As a matter of interest there were 5 Johns within their generation of cousin ( I imagine named after their Grandfather John MIDDLEBROOK)
The name FARRER is used ( usually as a middle name) at least 6 times, and there are 2 Nelsons ( though I have no idea where that was just coincidence or if there was a familial reason for it.