Tag Archives: hailsham

Moving on from Ann the wife of James GEERING

6 Mar

It appears that I have reached a dead-end with my research into Ann the wife of James GEERING. I am reluctant to call it a brick-wall at the moment because I haven’t quite exhausted all avenues of research yet, but I have certainly exhausted all the quick and easy avenues.

The marriage register entry for Ann HOWLETT and James GEARING gave me the names of two witnesses, one of which I couldn’t read properly, but neither looked like any name that was familiar to me. I have a copy of the marriage licence allegation, but haven’t checked the bond which might give me a couple more names to work on.

I am still pretty certain that Ann was a HOWLETT because of the naming of her children and that there is probably a connection with Francis HOWLETT the schoolmaster and postmaster of Hailsham, Sussex. Francis was born about 1751 and Ann was born about 1777 so it is possible that Francis was Ann’s father.

I have two problems, first that Francis HOWLETT 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” (according to Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish), so he could have come from just about anywhere in the country, and I don’t know what happened to his wife.

The second problem is that I don’t know much about James GEERING between his baptism in 1776 and the 1841 census. There is a suggestion that he may have been in the military, but I haven’t come up with any evidence for this yet.

Anyway for the time being I think it is time to move on, there are plenty of other ancestors I need to trace, but I have planted the seed now and I will wait and see if anything else comes to mind whilst I focus my attention on someone else.

Next on my list is Ellen NICHOLLS, my 3x great-grandmother. I need to be certain that I have the correct parents and then find their parents. It is quite a complicated affair but I do at least have some idea of the work I need to do. I also need to have another look at finding evidence of her marriage to William GEERING.

All that work for one tiny little fact

23 Feb

As is so often the case the search for one little fact led to much more work than I had anticipated.

I wanted to find out where Ann GEERING (the daughter of my 5x great grandparents James and Ann GEERING) was born. She was baptised in the parish church at Hailsham, Sussex on the 26th April 1806, but the parish register recorded that she was actually born on the 18th September 1803.

The parish register didn’t say where she had been born, but as her other three siblings were baptised in Hailsham in a timely manner it seemed likely that the family weren’t at home when Ann was born and they waited until they got back home to have her baptised, at the same time as her younger brother (who was nine months old when he was baptised).

Having found a likely suspect for Ann GEERING in Brighton, Sussex (working as a servant) I had to set about proving it was in fact her. Fortunately in 1861 she was living with James and Margaret GEERING and she was listed as James’ aunt.

I then had to find out who James GEERING was. I followed him through the census, his first wife died and he remarried and finally in 1911, after he had been widowed for a second time, he was living in Lewes, Sussex with his brother Mark Anthony GEERING.

As you might imagine there haven’t been that many Mark Anthony GEERINGs in the world, but I do have one in my family tree and all the details matched. James and Mark Anthony’s father was Richard GEERING, sister of the Ann GEERING I was looking for.

Success at last, and I now know that Ann GEERING was born in Heathfield, Sussex (perhaps a dozen or so miles north of Hailsham where she was baptised) or at least she thought that she was born there. What the family were doing there will probably remain a mystery unless some other connection emerges further down the line.

Next steps….

I need to check to make sure that I have checked the parish registers for Heathfield. I have searched FamilySearch and the SFHG Data Archive but I need to check that Heathfield is included in one of these and if so what time period is covered.

I am not sure who or what I would be looking for, probably other GEERINGs and maybe some HOWLETTs in the registers. I would probably have found a marriage for James and Ann if it had been in Heathfield because the SFHG marriage index covers all of Sussex up to 1837, but it would be a perfect place to look for the older Ann’s baptism.

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.

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.

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.

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