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Saturday, 10 August 2013

What's in a name?

What's in a  Name?

My 2x great uncle John Middleton Forbes was also known as  Jack, which seems to have been a common nickname for all the Johns of his generation. Jack was the older brother of Bess, Flo, Ruby, Mona and Dick Forbes.  He served in World War 1, from which he safely returned, and he married Doris Cone in 1933. The couple  had no children, although Doris had a daughter from a previous marriage. 

John Middleton Forbes 1891 - 1968

A child's middle name is often the mother's surname, but this doesn't appear to have been the case here. After some research I've concluded that Jack was likely to have been named after the Reverend John Middleton, who was the minister of the parish of Glenmuick in Aberdeenshire for almost forty years, from 1849 to 1884.  In the 1861 Scottish Census, Jack's father Charles Forbes was a young cattleman aged 14, who was living in the Manse of Glenmuick with the Reverend Middleton and his family.  Charles' widowed mother Mary had remarried and had left Scotland for a new life in New Zealand with her second husband and family, so young Charles was on his own, and thirty years later he named his first son after the kind minister who had taken him into his household. I like to think that this was the case, rather than that Jack was simply named after his mother's elder brother John Middleton Young, but in any event, his uncle Jack was probably also named after the same gentleman, because his parents/ young Jack's other grandparents Charles Young and Jane Paterson would also have been parishioners of the said Reverend Middleton in Glenmuick before they emigrated to NZ  in 1851. Charles Forbes' wife Jane Isabella Young whom he married in 1887 was a daughter of Jane Paterson, and her brother Charles Paterson was the second husband of Charles' mother Mary Forbes mentioned above. In other words, Charles Forbes married his step-uncle's niece, so I'm doubly related to my 2x great grandmother Mary Anderson/Forbes/Paterson's second family and their descendants, both through her and through their aunt Jane, my other 2x great grandmother. Double relationships are fun, but that's another story!

The Reverend Middleton was clearly well regarded by his parishioners over his long period of service, and could well have had a few more namesakes among them.

The plaque in Ballater Church in memory of the Rev. John Middleton

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