Tag Archives: howlett

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.

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.

Building a community around the GEERINGs of Hailsham

26 Mar

I am building up a supporting cast of individuals who were in some way connected to my GEERING ancestors. Some may actually be related in one way or another, but it by no means obvious at first glance.

The list seems to grow with every new piece of evidence that comes to light. Some are more closely connected than others, most will only need brief investigation to identify the relationship, but other will need some deeper research.

The list of individuals has come from many sources:

Thomas Geering (the author of the book Our Sussex Parish) is almost certainly related to my GEERING family, but no link has emerged yet and he doesn’t mention a link in his book.

Francis Howlett (resident of Hailsham) after whom one of my GEERING relations appears to have been named.

William Allen (mentioned in the will of Richard GEERING) was apparently an occupier of land or buildings owned by Richard GEERING.

Ann Shelley (witness to the will of Richard GEERING) could be a friend, relation or neighbour, or of course a complete stranger.

John Sinnock (witness to the will of Richard GEERING) may be a friend or relation, but could also also be a solicitor, as there was a firm of solicitors in Hailsham by that name.

I Evans (witness to the will of Richard GEERING) could be a friend, relation or neighbour. No idea what the letter I stands for?

Samuel Sinnock (witness to the will of Mary GEERING) may be a friend or relation, but could also also be a solicitor, as there was a firm of solicitors in Hailsham by that name.

Sophia Sinnock (witness to the will of Mary GEERING) may be a friend or relation, but could also be related to the firm of solicitors in Hailsham by that name.

James Martin (registered the death of James GEERING) who was the man who was present at the death of James GEERING?

Sophia Roberts (registered the death of Ann GEERING) who was the woman who was present at the death of Ann GEERING?

It looks like I have plenty of work to get on with. I am sure there must be one or two relations amongst that lot, but either way the process of investigating them will no doubt reveal more about the lives of my ancestors.

Francis HOWLETT and Francis Howlett GEERING, were they related?

22 Mar

Last week I wrote a post about another piece of the GEERING jigsaw slotting into place. This concerned Francis Howlett GEERING, a grandson of my 5x great-grandfather James GEERING of Hailsham, Sussex.

This evidence seemed to suggest that James’ wife was Ann HOWLETT, although I did suggest that this might just be a coincidence, but worth looking into further.

Last night I discovered another piece of evidence which caused me to question the link. Looking at Our Sussex Parish by Thomas Geering I discovered that there was a Francis HOWLETT living in Hailsham.

Francis Howlett, comedian, schoolmaster, postmaster, tax-collector, vestry clerk, printer, travelling librarian, musician, and general referee, became a trusted and honoured man in our parish, and living to be over eighty, departed leaving no enemy behind him.

This of course raises concerns about whether Ann’s maiden name was HOWLETT. It seems almost inconceivable that Francis Howlett GEERING wasn’t named after this well-known and respected local figure.

The obvious question is why?

I am hoping it is because there is a family connection (through James’ wife Ann) but that might not be the case. Ann and Francis HOWLETT are probably from the same generation, so if they are related they may be siblings.

Now I am not sure if I need to take that piece of the jigsaw out, or whether I can actually fit in another piece. One thing is certain, this research project is certainly expanding way beyond my direct ancestors and is starting to gather connections across a wider range of individuals. It is transitioning from family history to community history.

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