Tag Archives: francis howlett

Ancestral Profile: Ann, the wife of James GEERING (c1777-1844)

20 Feb

Ann was my 5x great-grandmother, known as the wife of Jame GEERING of Hailsham, Sussex because I don’t know much about her life before she married.

Ann’s date of birth is based on the age given on her death certificate and allowing for rounding it matches the age on the 1841 census. The 1841 census suggests that she was not born in Sussex, but that is the only piece of evidence that points to where she came from.

I don’t have any marriage details for Ann and James GEERING, and the only hard evidence that I have that suggests they did marry is her death certificate which records her occupation as “Wife of James Geering Chemist”. I do have a marriage which I suspect is them (see below) but have not been able to prove so far.

If a marriage did occur it was probably between 1795 and 1798, because their four children were born not long after this period. All four children were baptised in Hailsham, Sussex:

  • Jane Howlett GEERING (baptised 24 Apr 1798)
  • John James GEERING (baptised 9 Aug 1800)
  • Ann GEERING (born 18 Sep 1803, baptised 26 Apr 1806)
  • Richard GEERING (born 20 Jul 1805, baptised 26 Apr 1806)

The late baptism of Ann’s daughter Ann suggests that the family had more important things to do at the time or may have been away elsewhere. I have been unable to find any more information about the younger Ann, but her census information might reveal where she was born and what the family was up to. There is a possibility that James GEERING was serving in the army, but I have also been unable to prove this.

The middle name of James and Ann’s first child is almost certainly an indicator of Ann’s maiden name. There is a marriage of James GEARING and Ann HOWLETT at St. Martins in the Field, Westminster, Middlesex on the 30th September 1797, but so far I have been unable to prove that these are my ancestors.

There is a second piece of evidence which gives a connection with the HOWLETT surname, one of James and Ann’s grandchildren was named Francis Howlett GEERING (he was the eldest son of John James GEERING). There was a schoolmaster and postmaster named Francis HOWLETT living in Hailsham, so there is a chance that Jane and Francis were named after him and there is no family connection, but it seems more likely that there is a family connection with the HOWLETT surname and quite possible that Ann and Francis HOWLETT were related.

The 1841 census shows Ann living in Lewes, Sussex with her son Richard GEERING and his wife Eliza and their five children. The odd thing about this situation is that Ann’s husband James was living in Hailsham at the same time. I don’t know whether this was a temporary situation, or whether this was a more permanent separation.

Ann died before her husband, on the 2nd May 1844 aged 67 years old, and still in the town of Lewes. The cause of death was paralysis and her death was registered on the 6th May 1844 by Eliza GEERING (presumably her daughter-in-law). She was buried on the 7th May 1844 presumably at St. John’s Church, Lewes. Interestingly when her husband died in January 1850 he was buried in Hailsham, adding further to the speculation that James and Ann had split for some reason.

Further Research

I really need to take a closer look at the marriage of James GEARING and Ann HOWLETT, the data I have comes from the IGI and doesn’t give me the names of the witnesses. I have a copy of the marriage licence allegation for the marriage but that doesn’t give me any further information.

I need to try to find out more about Francis HOWLETT, hoping that a connection will emerge if I can trace his parents. The problem is that I have even less genealogical information for Francis HOWLETT than I do for Ann.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 14)

4 Apr

Last week was another quite productive week, as well as continuing to sort through my files I have done a bit of work on the ANSCOMBE family and continued to work on the GEERING family.

I have been thinking about what I was going to do next after I finish with my current GEERING research project. My wife keeps asking me about where the GASSON name comes from, so that was always looking likely to be the next project.

That was confirmed this week when I was contacted by three distant cousins also on the trail of my namesake (and 5x great-grandfather) John GASSON. Thanks to them I now have a very good lead on where he came from, and need to start planning how I am going to prove it.

  • I’m still waiting for the will of Ann GEERING, hopefully it will arrive this week and provide the evidence I am after.
  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Review the information I have on John GASSON and prepare a research plan for my next steps.
  • Continue working on the GEERINGs. I need to try and find out more about Francis Howlett and what the connection was with the GEERING family.

Another HOWLETT/GEERING connection emerges

3 Apr

I have previously written about the possible connection between the HOWLETT and GEERING families. My suspicion is that James GEERING married Ann HOWLETT.

I have also noted that there is the possibility that James’ grandson was named after Francis HOWLETT, who was seemingly a well-loved member of the Hailsham community.

Whilst checking another set of parish register transcriptions at Hailsham Library I came across another piece of evidence which links the names HOWLETT and GEERING.

It appears that the first child of James and Ann GEERING (my 5x great-grandparents) was Jane Howlett GEERING (this is the same Jane GEERING who drowned in the common pond, Hailsham in 1874) and she was baptised at Hailsham Church on the 24th April 1798.

So I have another piece of evidence linking the GEERINGs to the HOWLETTs, and this connection is much earlier than the previous one (Francis Howlett GEERING was baptised on the 14th October 1822 in Lewes, Sussex).

I clearly need to look in more detail at Francis HOWLETT, unfortunately there is one factor that might make it tricky. According to Thomas Geering he was

one of a party of strolling players who arrived in the place on a professional tour, he gave up the buskin and settled down to quiet domestic life, married a wife from the neighbourhood and became factotum of the parish.

The fact that Francis HOWLETT wandered into Hailsham from somewhere else (and it could be almost anywhere) could make things rather tricky for tracing his life. The good news is that his wife was a local woman, which might make things slightly easier.

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