Tag Archives: hailsham

My 6x great-grandmother was “the old druggist”

17 Apr

I am finally in a position to be able to say with confidence that my 6x great-grandmother Mary GEERING was the woman that was described by Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish as “the old druggist”.

It was about eight weeks ago that I first wrote about the discovery of Thomas Geering’s book and set about proving to my own satisfaction that my ancestor was described in the book (so far I have not been able to find a family connection with Thomas Geering himself).

It always seemed quite likely to me that I was related to “the old druggist” and quite often over the past couple of months I have referred to the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex as my ancestors even when I haven’t been 100% certain until now.

The final piece of evidence was the death certificate of Ann GEERING (my 5x great-grandmother), but really it is not just that one piece of evidence but all the other bits of evidence I accumulated over the weeks, and the complete absence of any trace of contradictory evidence.

Although I have achieved my major goal, I still feel that I have a lot more work to do on the GEERINGs before I move on, not least of all to write up their story. I still have a long list of things to-do at the East Sussex Record Office, and a few other records dotted around other archives to check.

I am also aware that I have very nearly missed out a whole generation, jumping from one Richard GEERING (my 4x great-grandfather) to another Richard (my 6x great-grandfather) almost bypassing James GEERING in between. I still need to find out if his wife Ann was in fact a HOWLETT and find out if James did serve with the army and in what capacity.

Death certificate of Ann GEERING

16 Apr

It seems every month I describe a certificate I have received as the most important one for my research or the most interesting one. The death certificate of Ann GEERING certainly fits into both categories, as it has given me critical evidence about my GEERINGs.

This has been the only certificate I have ordered this month, not because of the price increase, but because I wasn’t really sure which, if any, I would need next.

I mentioned the discovery of an Ann GEERING in Lewes, Sussex in the 1841 census in a previous post. This lead me to wonder whether she was my 5x great-grandmother, the wife of James GEERING, who I had previously thought had died much earlier.

The certificate provides enough evidence for me to safely say that Ann was my 5x great-grandmother. Ann GEERING died on the 2nd May 1844 in Lewes, Sussex. The cause of death seems rather unusual to me, paralysis was the official cause, but there is no suggestion as to how this paralysis came about or whether it had been a long term medical condition.

The death was registered by Eliza GEERING of St Johns, Lewes who was present at the death. Eliza is probably my 4x great-grandmother, wife of Richard GEERING. Ann had been living with Richard and Eliza (and their children) in 1841.

The really important piece of information was her occupation, she is described as “Wife of James Geering Chemist”. I have no doubt that this is James GEERING (my 5x great-grandfather) from Hailsham, Sussex. This fact provides me with the link between the GEERINGs in Hailsham and Lewes that I have been looking for.

Now I also have an age at death for Ann, from which I can calculate an approximate year of birth, which I had previously not known. Unfortunately it also raises the question that troubled me in my previous post, why were James and Ann seemingly living apart, and were buried in separate towns? Answers on a postcard please…

High expectations = big disappointment

14 Apr

It seems like I have been waiting for months for the will of Ann GEERING of Hailsham, Sussex (my 6x great-aunt) to arrive. I was hoping this would provide me more details of her relations and confirm a connection between the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex and Lewes, Sussex.

There was such disappointment when I opened the envelope and read the will. The only beneficiary was Ann’s niece Jane. I already know about Jane (the one who drowned in the common pond at Hailsham), I knew she was the sole executrix, but had hoped that someone else also benefited from Ann’s will.

Despite the wait I am no further forward with my research, perhaps it is my fault. Perhaps the disappointment is of my own making, was I creating false expectations about the contents of the will? Yes, with hindsight I probably was expecting too much.

Interestingly there is one further record that is probably related to Ann’s will that I need to investigate. East Sussex Record Office have a series of valuation books from A. Burtenshaw and Son who were auctioneers and valuers in Hailsham.

The valuation book dated March to May 1864 (ESRO BUR/2/1/134) contains an entry described in the catalogue Access to Archives as “p.51 Hailsham: household (late Geering), 1864″. I feel that this has got to be related to the execution of Ann’s will and although it probably won’t help my research, it might give me a bit of an insight into the life of Ann.

Directory Enquiries: The GEERINGs at Hailsham, Sussex

7 Apr

I have found five entries for the GEERING shop in Hailsham, Sussex in early county directories, however the caveat exists that the evidence provided is not entirely reliable.

1823/4 Geering M. druggist & linen draper (Pigot’s Directory of Sussex)
1828 Geering M. chemist & druggist (Pigot’s Directory of Sussex)
1832/4 Geering Mary, chymist and druggist (Pigot’s Directory of Sussex)
1840 Geering Mary, chymist and druggist (Pigot’s Directory of Sussex)
1845 Geering M. chemist & druggist (Kelly’s Directory of Sussex)

The first entry is quite interesting because it tells us that there was also linen available at the shop at one time. This, along with the description given by Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish suggests that the shop was more than just a chemist and druggist shop.

The other thing of note is that the name of Mary GEERING still appears in the entry even after her death in 1825. This might indicate the failings of the compiler, but it might also suggest that the shop still traded under the name of Mary GEERING, even after her daughter Ann had taken over the business.

Picture Postcard Parade: Hailsham High Street

6 Apr

Below is a postcard of the High Street, Hailsham, Sussex and of course there is a connection with what are hopefully my GEERING ancestors.

Hailsham High Street

This postcard was published by Edgar Smith (like the one of Hailsham Church), but I can’t read the date on the postmark on the back. Observant readers will notice that the building on the left is Edgar Smith’s shop.

That shop is the site of the GEERINGs shop, probably some forty years earlier. I don’t know how much of the shop is original, it looks like it may had been enlarged between 1842 (tithe map) and 1874 (Ordnance Survey map) which presumably meant a new roof as well as new windows.

The windows on the right-hand side obviously don’t match with the two large windows and doorway on the left-hand side. This suggests to me that the left-hand side is original, and the right-hand side a later addition.

One hundred or so years later the same view is still recognisable, the shop fronts have changed, but above them (and above the cars) the scene is not that different, at least as far as the first three buildings are concerned.

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