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If I have a page down in a few nested subsites how can I get the title of the parent subsite via JS? Will I have to use the ClientContext object or is there something easier?

Parent --
  Subsite 1 --
     Subsite 2 -- //<I'd like to get the title of Subsite 1
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Try the following code :

var context = new SP.ClientContext.get_current();        
var web = context.get_web();                       
var parentInfo = web.get_parentWeb();  
var parentWeb = context.get_site().openWebById(parentInfo.get_id());

context.load(parentInfo);
context.load(parentWeb);

context.executeQueryAsync(Function.createDelegate(this,onListDataSucceeded),Function.createDelegate(this, onListDataFailed)); 

function onListDataSucceeded(sender, args)
{
    alert(this.parentWeb.get_title());
}

function onListDataFailed(sender, args)
{
    alert('error');
}
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You can use javascript object model or rest api to get parent web properties. If using REST, call this url _api/web/parentweb

 var currWebAbsUrl = _spPageContextInfo.webAbsoluteUrl;
        $.ajax({
            url: currWebAbsUrl + "/_api/web/parentweb",      
            method: "GET",
            headers: {
                "Accept": "application/json; odata=verbose"
            },
            success: function (data) {
                var parentWebTitle = data.d.Title;
                window.console && console.log(parentWebTitle);
            },
            error: function (err) {
                window.console && console.log('Error: ' + JSON.stringify(err));
            }
        });      

See MSDN article: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/jj246539.aspx

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