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.

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