I really like this photo of Samuel MIDDLEBROOK ( my 2x great Grandfather) and his 6 children.
It tells a story more from who is missing than who is actually in the photo.
I suspect this was taken between 1911 and 1913 – My Great Grandmother Ellen Winifred, on the far right appears to have a wedding band on her finger and she got married in 1909.
The youngest daughter Bessie ( Elizabeth Alice) would have been 13in 1911 and the girl in the photo could pass for 13 or so.
Noticeably missing is the mother of the children and wife to Samuel , Mary Jane.
It appears from family stories and records such as electoral rolls that Mary and Samuel spent much of their marriage apart.
In the 1908 Electoral roll they are both listed in KatiKati , and in 1991 she again appears with Samuel in Rosemont Street Waihi , but by 1919 she is living with Bessie in Mira Street Ponsonby while Samuel is still in the Bay of Plenty.
Whatever the cause of their separation, ( and family rumours abound of affairs and at least one illegitimate birth) Samuel and Mary never divorced, and she continues to be listed as Married in the electoral rolls until her death.
Her death notice states .
MIDDLEBROOK- On December 18 1936, at Auckland Hospital, Mary Jane, wife of Samuel Middlebrook, late of 52 Douglas Street Ponsonby.
( I should add here it was not Samuel that was living in Ponsonby – he was living at this time in Waihi )