Who is the Ann GEERING that I have found in Lewes?

1 Apr

I made another (possibly) significant discovery in my GEERING research, which once again was something that I had previously discovered, but hadn’t quite realised the significance at the time.

My 4x great-grandparents Richard and Eliza GEERING were living in Lewes, Sussex at the time of the 1841 census. Their listing is a bit confusing as the household is arranged in age order, with all the males first, then all the females.

Where you would normally expect to find husband then wife, in this example it is the husband, then eldest son, then next son, etc. As it is the 1841 census there are no relationships shown, but from other sources it is possible to identify everyone, with one exception.

There is a 65 year old woman by the name of Ann GEERING living with the family. Again, being the 1841 census it means that her actual age could be anything from 65 to 69, as it should have been rounded down. The only other piece of information is that she wasn’t born in Sussex.

Richard’s mother would have been Ann GEERING and the Ann in the census would be about the right age. Unfortunately Ann died before 1851, so I can’t find the relationship, marital status, exact age or place of birth from the next census.

Ann was buried in Lewes on the 7th May 1844 and was aged 67, so at least I can work out a rough year of birth. Also, as it is after 1837 I can order a death certificate, which might detail the nature of the relationship with Richard and tell me about her occupation.

There is one problem, that gives me cause to doubt.

If this Ann is the mother of Richard, then why was she in Lewes, when her husband James was still alive and well in Hailsham?

She might have just happened to be visiting on census night, Richard and Eliza also had a two month old daughter, so Ann might have been helping them look after her or the rest of the children. It might be the other way round, did James usually live in Lewes and just happened to be visiting Hailsham on census night.

I could accept this explanation if it wasn’t for the fact that Ann was buried in Lewes, and James (her supposed husband) was buried in Hailsham when he died five years later.

Had there been some sort of disagreement and they were living apart? or was it just a question of the cost of taking James’ body back to Lewes. I shall probably never know, but at least I could order the death certificate for Ann in search of more evidence.

So, not only am I finding new records to investigate, but I am also having to go backwards and retracing my steps by visiting sources that I have already checked.

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