Distribution of the Middlebrook Surname in England
The distribution map from 1800 shows that the Middlebrook name (and its variants) was concentrated around a few key areas at that time. Below are my brief observations on the history of the Middlebrook name in each of those areas.
West Yorkshire – This area has probably given rise to more Middlebrook families than any other, and there is still a strong Middlebrook presence in and around the town of Morley – an area where the name has been known for at least 400 years, going back to the earliest surviving registers for the parish of Batley (which included Morley at that time).
Lancashire/Yorkshire border – this is another area with a long history of Middlebrooks, particularly in remote parts such as Carleton-in-Craven, Long Preston and Slaidburn, where Middlebrook families were living back in the 1500s. The Middlebrough variation seems to have been more common in this part of the country.
South Lincolnshire – the Middlebrook name has a long history in this area, going back to the 1500s in parish registers (eg. Harmeston). Despite this long history, my preliminary research has indicated that the families remaining in that area through the nineteenth century can probably all be traced back to just one man, William Middlebrook, who lived at Great Hale in the mid/late 1700s. This branch of the surname may well have a distinct local origin that is unrelated to the Middlebrooks of Yorkshire.
London – virtually all English surnames have been found in London at some point in their history, and there have been Middlebrook families in the capital since at least the early 1600s. However, it is unlikely that there is a separate source for the family in that area. It is much more likely that they migrated to London from further afield.
West Midlands – there has been a consistent Middlebrook presence in this area since the early 1700s. However, unless earlier examples can be found, I doubt that there is a distinct local origin for this branch of the family. They are more likely to have migrated there from another part of the Middlebrook range.
Movement After 1800From one map to the next, we can see evidence of small-scale local migration across the last two centuries.
Between 1800 and 1900 the main movement was away from the rural areas of West Yorkshire and the Lancashire border, and towards the growing industrial towns of the area, such as Bradford, Blackburn and Preston.
Between 1900 and 2000 the most significant shift was towards South Yorkshire, with big increases in Sheffield and Doncaster. There has also been a more general dispersal, in small numbers, across new areas of the country.