Tag Archives: lewes

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…

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.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 13)

28 Mar

Last week it felt like I achieved quite a lot, although this might be because I had such a successful today on Saturday.

I got most of my scanned documents sorted, at least the ones that I wanted to. I still have some older ones to go back over and make sure that they are in the correct folders.

I expect to spend most of the week working on the GEERING family of Hailsham, Sussex. I have all the new material from Saturday’s trip to integrate into my research, plus some new leads to follow up on.

  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • More GEERING work. Sorting out stuff from Saturday and update my plans and to-do lists to take into account my latest discoveries.
  • I didn’t get around to creating a timeline for the GEERING family last week, so I need to try and do that this week.
  • I am hoping that the will of Ann GEERING arrives this week, this will hopefully prove the link to my GEERING ancestors in Lewes.

Tombstone Tuesday: an invoice

23 Mar

Another Tombstone Tuesday post with a difference. The invoice below was sent to my 2x great-grandmother Annie TROWER, for the supply and installation of a headstone at Sayers Common Churchyard. I believe that the headstone on the invoice is that of Annie’s sister-in-law Ruth TROWER, who died on the 3rd February 1950, aged 85 years.

Invoice for headstone (April 1951)

The business records for C.F. Bridgman Ltd have been deposited at East Sussex Record Office (in April 1965). There seems to be a huge range of records in the collection, so if I wanted to (and had the time) I could probably trace the whole process of getting the headstone made and installed.

Death certificate of James GEERING

23 Mar

The earliest of the three death certificates I ordered this month was for James GEERING, who I believe to be my 5x great-grandfather.

James died on the 15th January 1850 in Hailsham, Sussex aged 73. His occupation was given as chemist, which agrees with the occupation given in the 1841 census. His cause of death was Chronic Bronchitis (3 years) and Influenza (3 days). His death was registered on the 19th January 1850 by James Martin of Hailsham who was present at the death.

I was hoping that the name of the informant would give me some evidence of a connection with the GEERING family in Lewes, Sussex. Unfortunately I have no James Martin in my family tree yet, but there are a couple of Martins living in Lewes with some of my relations in 1861, one of whom is identified as a grand-daughter.

The 1851 census shows 30 year old James Martin and his wife Martha living in Hailsham. He is shown as a master shoemaker and was born in Hailsham, and Martha was from Bermondsey, Surrey.

It is clear that I need to add this Martin family to my research as well now, another step towards building a community history rather than just my personal family history.

Another piece of the GEERING jigsaw

17 Mar

It wasn’t long after writing about my satisfaction from researching¬† the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex that I made another important discovery. Actually it wasn’t really a discovery as such, but the realisation of a link between and importance of two pieces of possible evidence I had previously discovered.

The first piece of evidence is a marriage on the IGI for James GEARING and Ann HOWLETT at Saint Martin in the Fields, Westminster on the 30th September 1797.

So far this has proved to be the best match for the marriage of my 5x great-grandparents, but I was reluctant to accept it without any further evidence just because it seemed a good fit. When I looked at it, it wasn’t even that good a fit.

The second piece of evidence came to light when I started looking into the life of John James GEERING, one of the other children of James and Ann.

It looks like John James GEERING married Eliza JONES in Lewes, Sussex on the 11th June 1821. Their first child was baptised on the 14th October 1822 in Lewes, Sussex. His name was Francis Howlett GEERING.

It looks like John James GEERING’s first child was given a middle name that was the same as his grandmother’s surname. It could just be coincidence of course, but it gives me enough confidence to start looking for the parents and siblings of Ann HOWLETT in London, in search of further clues.

So another piece of the jigsaw seems to slot into place, maybe not a corner piece but certainly one of the edge pieces. Unfortunately there is still a lot of blue sky to fill in before the picture is complete.

GEERING research update

16 Mar

My research into the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex is proving to be both rewarding and challenging, and I might even go as far as to say exciting.

I am exploring new areas, both in geographical terms and in terms of sources I can use. I am fortunate of course that Hailsham is not too far away (less than two hours by bus and train) and the records even closer (mostly at the East Sussex Record Office in Lewes).

I am also fortunate that there seems to be plenty of records for Hailsham that have survived. For example this is the first time I have been researching in a parish where there is a pre-1841 census still in existence.

Hailsham actually has two, the 1821 and 1831. Of course the details will be very limited (just the head of household) but the very fact that an ancestor should be listed in a pre-1841 census that has survived got me quite excited!

The weak link in my research is proving that James GEERING (the father of my 4x great-grandfather) is the same James GEERING who was the son of Richard and Mary “the old druggist” GEERING. I am hoping that the comment by Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish that James was a barrack-sergeant might lead to more information (time for a visit to The National Archives).

It seems a long time since I got so deeply wrapped up in a piece of research, and it feels so good! The only problem is that there seems so much to do, but oddly enough this seems to be working in my favour as well, because it is forcing me to be more methodical and better prepared for when I do get to visit an archive.

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