Tag Archives: geering

Hailsham Photo

15 Jan

I have been having a bit of a sort out today, nothing major just catching up on some paperwork and a bit of filing, a bit of scanning and a bit of file organisation on my PC. Also I decided today that I really ought to digitize my CD collection so that the originals can be boxed up and put in storage, but that is another story.

Whilst sorting out some stuff I rediscovered the photo below which I purchased last year that I never got around to showing you.

If you were reading my blog at the start of last year of last year you will remember that I spent a long-time working on the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex. Well this photo is of their shop, or rather what became of their shop. The great thing about this photo is the amount of detail. Looking closely you can see what was on offer in the shop and even read the boards to the left of the doorway.

These boards give great dating evidence for the photo, the two on the left both have the date of Saturday May 22nd, and there are plenty of headlines to enable us to find out what year it was. The shop windows are full of patriotic souvenirs and photos of Queen Victoria indicating that it was a jubilee year, checking in The Times newspaper to find out when the Queen visited Sheffield confirms that it was in 1897 the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

I have previous featured a postcard of the shop on this blog, and paid a visit to the shop last year when visiting Hailsham. It is now a newsagents, but still recognisable if you look above the shop windows. It is particularly nice to see that over 110 years later it was still possible to by photo frames from the same shop!

I have often thought that I should put together a report on the history of the building, listing all the different owners over the years. Perhaps this year if time permits I will make a start on it.

The marriage licence allegation proves inconclusive

18 Sep

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about ordering a copy of the marriage licence allegation for James GEARING and Ann HOWLETT, who may be my 5x great-grandparents. I was hoping this might prove that the marriage in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London on the 30th September 1797 is the correct one.

The marriage licence allegation arrived last weekend, but unfortunately it doesn’t really prove anything either way. The allegation shows that both James and Ann were over 21 years old and James had been living in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields for at least four weeks, and would be marrying in the same parish.

The only thing that might throw a spanner in the works is that Ann would only have been 20 years old, but James may not have known his intendeds true age, or may have just lied to save time and trouble (and probably money).

The only saving grace might be the signature of James GEARING that is on the bottom of the allegation, it might not even be his actual signature. At some stage I might be able to tie that signature up with a known copy of the signature of my James GEERING (although I don’t think I actually have one at the moment).

The marriage licence allegation is a pre-printed page with the details written in by hand. The actual allegation reads:

Appeared perfonally James Gearing and made Oath, that he is of the Parish of Saint Martin in the Fields in the County of Middlesex a Bachelor of the age of Twenty one years and upwards and intendeth to marry with Ann Howlett of the same Parish a Spinster of the age of twenty one years and upwards and the he knoweth of no lawful Impediment, by Reafon of any Pre-contract, Confanguinity, Affinity, or any other lawful Means whatfoever, to hinder the faid intended Marriage, and prayed a Licence to folemnize the fame in the Parifh Church of Saint Martin in the Fields and further made Oath, that the ufual Place of Abode of him the appeaser hath been in the faid Parifh of Saint Martin in the Fields for the Space of four Weeks laft paft.

Searching for Mrs GEERING

3 Sep

I seem to be flitting about my family tree like a butterfly, seemingly alighting on people at random, but I guess I am getting drawn back to the same old favourites. Last night I was back looking at the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex.

I have written much about the GEERINGs and their chemist and druggist shop in Hailsham, and the one that ended up drowning in the Common Pond, but still one problem remains unsolved. Who did my 5x great-grandfather James GEERING marry?

I know it was Ann, but Ann who? My money is on HOWLETT. According to the International Genealogical Index James GEARING married Ann HOWLETT on the 30th September 1797 at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. James and Ann GEERING’s first child was Jane Howlett GEERING, born in Lewes, Sussex around the beginning of 1798 and baptised in Hailsham in April 1798.

So everything seems to point to Ann HOWLETT, but there is just not quite enough evidence for me to say for certain, which is why my database still shows her as just Ann.

Searching online last night I remembered Origins.net and the fact that my membership of the Society of Genealogists gives me 72 hours of free access every quarter. As I haven’t used it this quarter, and we are not far from the end of the quarter I thought I ought to have a look.

Origins.net is not as well known as the likes of Ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk and their collections are not so large, but there are some useful collections on the site, and some interesting resources which I have never really looked at closely.

To cut a long story short, I ended up ordering a hard copy of the marriage licence allegation for the marriage of James GEERING and Ann HOWLETT in the hope that this will give me enough information to be able to confirm that this marriage is the correct one. It should at least give me the parishes where both the bride and groom came from.

It is a bit of a long shot, I have no evidence that James or Ann were ever in London. James may have been a soldier, so that may have taken him to the city, but even that is not a definite. Still nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Francis Howlett GEERING – soldier and hairdresser

16 Aug

The latest batch of British Army Service Records released by findmypast.co.uk included one I had been waiting for, the service record of my first cousin five times removed Francis Howlett GEERING. The term “first cousin five times removed” doesn’t really describe the relationship very well, I prefer to think of him as the grandson of my 5x great-grandparents James and Ann GEERING of Hailsham, Sussex.

This latest batch of records covers the years 1760 to 1854, and I already knew from The National Archives website that Francis had served with the British Army between 1838 and 1852, so all I had to do was be patient and bide my time until this particular batched arrived.

What intrigued me most about Francis was his occupation after leaving the army. In the 1861 census Francis is living in Dewsbury, Yorkshire with his wife and their first child, his occupation is recorded as “hairdresser and tobacconist”. The hairdresser part of this seemed quite bizarre to me, after almost 14 years as a soldier how did he end up as a hairdresser? Had he learnt his trade in the army? Had he been the regiments hairdresser?

The one thing that hadn’t occurred to me was that he might have been a hairdresser before he enlisted, but sure enough when he joined the 52nd Light Infantry on the 19th November 1838 he gave his occupation as hairdresser. This explains why he became a hairdresser after he left the army, but raises the question of why he joined up in the first place?

Was he running away from something? I will probably never know, but perhaps it is significant that when he left the army he settled in Yorkshire rather than returning to his birthplace of Lewes, Sussex.

His service record does make interesting reading, although he was punished at 15 times for being drunk (including one instance recorded as being “Drunk in the streets of Montreal”), over almost 14 years service that is not really that bad a record.

During his service Francis spent a total of seven years and four months overseas, two years in the West Indies and five years and four months in North America. He was discharged in 1852 after he had been found unfit for further service, the reason given was that he was suffering from “Cachexia Syphiloidea the result of Syphilis, contracted in Nov 1849″.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 31

1 Aug

It wasn’t a bad week for genealogy last week. I didn’t achieve a great deal, but I don’t feel bad about not doing much last week because my expectations were quite low.

I know at this rate I am not going to achieve a great deal with my family history, unless I start getting more organised and not just with my family history but with so many other aspects of my life.

Anyway back to genealogy. Almost all of my research was in relation to the BATEMANs of Australia, writing about the family has pushed me to find out more so I can fill in some details. It has been a really useful exercise, as more avenues of research present themselves as I review the evidence I have already (whether I will have the resources to explore them all is another matter).

The other piece of research was looking into the latest batch of Chelsea Pensioners records released by Findmypast. I knew there should be at least one relevant record in this latest batch, Francis Howlett GEERING (the son of my 5x great-uncle). His record was in there and it was quite an interesting record, which you will no doubt read about soon.

This week is going to be much the same. I am going to continue telling the story of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN, so I will be continuing to work on that family, but I need to extend my research beyond the BMD indexes on Ancestry.com.au and the digitised newspapers on the National Libraries of Australia website.

Specifically I want to try and pin down locations where the family lived, using family documents and electoral rolls. I am hoping this will enable me to dig down another level and explore some local family history websites, rather than just national or state level websites.

Anything else I achieve this week is going to be a bonus!

Victorian Pharmacy

19 Jul

Last Thursday saw the first episode  of a new four part series on BBC 2 entitled Victorian Pharmacy. The series is produced by the same company (Lion Television) who produced Victorian Farm, which was shown last year.

The series looks at the workings of a Victorian pharmacists’ shop. The first episode sees the shows two main stars, Ruth Goodman (also from Victorian Farm) and Nick Barber, along with their apprentice Tom Quick setting up shop in the re-constructed Victorian town at Blists Hill.

We saw quite a wide range of activities in the first episode, from gathering herbs for traditional remedies to the creation of a slightly more scientific remedy in a rather basic (by today’s standards) laboratory.

Like Victorian Farm there were several experts on hand to explain some of the principles, and there was also a stream of ‘customers’ willing to try out their remedies and treatments.

Their shop was quite spectacular to look at with all sorts of bottles, jars, pots, boxes and packages displayed on the counter, in glass cabinets and on shelves. I am not sure how typical this would have been, because the shop is itself is a museum exhibit.

I certainly had trouble reconciling the image that I have in my mind of my GEERING chemists and druggists with what was shown on screen. Admittedly my mental image comes largely from the description provided by Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish.

I just can’t imagine my GEERINGs mixing remedies or gathering ingredients from the countryside surrounding Hailsham, Sussex. I see them more as shopkeepers buying in ready made preparations for sale to the residents of Hailsham.

Overall the programme was fun and entertaining, there was a small element of education, but the emphasis was more on things that seemed shocking or laughable to our modern eyes, like the use of leeches.

As a glimpse into the possible lives of my ancestors it is invaluable, I just wish I knew more about what was in their shop and whether their business flourished or was avoided like the plague by the residents of Hailsham.

Picture Postcard Parade: The old Common Pond, Hailsham

6 Jul

Mentioning the missing burial of Jane GEERING the other day gives me a perfect excuse to show you this postcard of where her body was found. It looks quite picturesque doesn’t it?

Common Pond, Hailsham

I have written at length before on the circumstances surrounding her death, but basically her body was found in the Common Pond, Hailsham, Sussex on the morning of the 15th September 1874 and the inquest the following day returned a verdict of "found drowned".

The postcard hasn’t been used and no publisher is mentioned. It has quite a distinctive style of caption which I am sure I have seen been and feel I should recognise it, but I can’t place it at the moment. I would imagine it dates from the early 1920s.

These days the banks of pond are a more open, although beyond the banks it is now surrounded by more housing. I need to go back to Hailsham in brighter weather and get some better photos of the Common Pond and the parish church.

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