To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Max Joseph Middleburgh

Middleburgh & the National Archives 1

Every year, when I visit the UK, I try to spend some time further researching my family history.

Last year I unsuccessfully visited the National Archives at Kew (twice). The first time it was closed to the public due to PCS industial action.I was less than impressed since I had travelled right across London, was due to leave country within a few day, and the Museum of Natural History although similarly picketed, remained open to the public. It struck me that if the Union had a serious case they should have had the bottle and enforced closure at ALL museums. Two days later I went back on the the missadvice of staff at their sister site in Islington (now closed?) who said it would be open when in fact it was shut because the staff were (officially) taking another day off.

Imagine my suprise this year.The staff were courteous and helpfuland the visit was "fun".I would go so far as recommending a visit to the archives to anyone with an interest in History (or UFO's.)

It is a prerequisite that you come armed with some form of ID and poof of current address so that you can get a readers card Without which access is denied !!!. I had my HK id card and a letter from the HK taxman; When no expiry date could be found on the ID card I was obliged to point out that I had to expire first.

Although my objective was to see if I could find copies of my maternal grandfather's Military records, the highlight of the afternoon unexpectedly came as I was about to leave. Having essentially exhausted all the militay records, I asked (as an afterthought) whether the archives held copies of Naturalization Papers. They did and a search threw up a link to my paternal grandfather's record. This was totally unexpected since I had previously searched unsuccessfully on the National Archives' site for it.(see tip below)

My grandfather arrived (1896?) when there was not a requirement to get naturalized so the staff were suprised to get a "hit". Interestingly the papers were processed 1920 and I can only assume that he sought UK nationality then in response to Britsh anti bolshovik sentiment. In 1919/20 Britain sent troops to support the White Russians during the Russian Civil war.

The document filled in "missing pieces" and corrected some of my prior missunderstandings eg I discovered

Contrary to my previous understanding, it appears that they did not come from Bialystok and that either And by same logic my great grandparents were either dead or in their 90's when the Nazi's invaded Poland

Actually last year I had found my grandfathers death certificate in Islington and discovered that the manner of his death although equally horrific was in fact different to that which I had previously understood. At that time I was not been able to access the coroners inquest so this year I also went to the Hackey Archives and found a report on his inquest in the Hackney & Kingsland Gazette (page 3 25 August 1920). I found it especially sad that two months after being granted Bristish Nationality (twenty years after arriving) he was dead at his own hand.

Search Tips

A Staff member at UK National Archives recommended to open the "search th earchives" drop down from menu bar and select "catalogue", then press the big "search the catlogue" button. Either I searched differently before or the indexing has vastly improved . Subsequently I did a search for Middleburg and found reference to my grandfather's brother Morris who Naturalised in 1934.

The librarian at Hackney observed that I had done a succeeful search because I had a date. (took less than 5 minutes which was less time than actually finding the archive building itself).Michrofiched newspapers are not indexed which means if you don't have a reference date you have a lot of reading to do and a high risk of missing what you are looking for.

Out of curiosity I went back and found that my both grandfather's and his brother's Naturalization had in fact been gazetted (in the the London Gazette).

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