stuck in the poorhouse

+10 votes
Hello there

I am new to wikitree, I did employ a genealogist once (when I could afford such things) and she seems to have hit a bit of a dead end since I think my great great great grandfather died in the workhouse and it has been suggested that the family could not afford a gravestone. Now that I have plenty of time and not much money I decided to see if things had moved on a bit but other than finding wikitree (which seems like a very good thing) I have not found any other Lears that I can merge with.

I am Andy Lear (Lear-1133) there is not much doubt about that

My father was john Lear (Lear-1134) and again this is not in dispute

He remembered his father (also called John) (Lear-1135) being a compositor which is borne out by the 1880 census which has him down as an apprentice compositor. he would have had my father (who was born in 1921) at the age of 41 but the photo on his profile was taken at my parents wedding so that looks likely

I am also quite happy that his father was john Lear  the butcher/seller of horse flesh/ labourer as the 1901 census shows him living in 47 Vauxhall street with John 'compositor' (then an apprentice) Lear. We have his birth certificate which shows he was the son of a music printer called John Lear
So we are happy also with music printer John Lear (Lear-1137) who in the 1851 census was living at something that looks to me like 16 johanna Street St Mary’s, Lambeth (which is just by waterloo station)

The genealogist I spoke of had this to say on the subject of music printer Lear’s father.  “I have just received the death certificate of Margaret Lear.  This confirms she died on 4 February 1861 at 67 James Street.  She was 72 years old and the widow of John Lear, brushmaker journeyman.  As Margaret was the informant at the death of John Lear, music printer, we now know that his father was another John Lear who worked as a brushmaker ..... Margret was a widow in 1851”

So she, at least, seemed convinced that Music printer Lear’s father was another John Lear (Lear-1138) ‘brushmaker lear’  who may well have died in the workhouse and ended his life as a hawker (possibly  hawking brushes?)

We do not know for sure that he died in the workhouse, it has not been completely confirmed that the death certificate and burial record  (which I have uploaded as a photo on the profile of lear-1138) are definitely those of the father of music printer lear but there seem to be no other likely candidates.
There is an online group for the decedents of brush makers that I joined but they had no records of John Lear brush maker. If he did die in the poor.

I defiantly have some documents missing that I cannot get off the genealogist that discovered the brush maker (well not without money changing hands and I am currently unemployed)  I don’t know much about tracing family history and I am hoping that there will be someone here that could steer me in the right direction,

Many thanks

Andy Lear
WikiTree profile: John Lear
in The Tree House by Andy Lear G2G6 Mach 1 (11.6k points)
retagged by Andy Lear
It will help you a lot (and help others to help you) if you could put in some locations and sources.  It is often easier to identify ancestors if you have it written down where they came from. :)
No doubt and I am where I can but I do not know where half this stuff came from I'm afraid

As for the other half *grin* you do know about - why not put that in? You can find out places, for instance - look at the death record for John 1843: it says the death happened in Westminster, Middlesex, England - so you could have put that in.

Lots of yummy research in your near future.  I would recommend (because it's free), FreeBMD for all the certificate references, the General Register Office site (which also gives mother's maiden names)

1 Answer

+8 votes
The John Lear who died in 1843:
* on the 1841 census, he is described as a 'pauper' and is in the workhouse
* the informant on his death certificate was not Margaret, it was a lady called Elizabeth Elkes
* how did the genealogist know that John Lear's father was another John Lear (brushmaker) just from the death certificate? English death certificates would not give that information.  It could be found from the marriage certificate of John & Margaret, however.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
I am thinking not now. Not only did I not notice the different spelling (although presumably Lear and Leer are pronounced the same) but having found this I think that Hercules Buildings would have been a bit up market for any ancestor of mine :)

The 1851 census show a Christopher Leer living in Hercules buildings.

I think this is the same person as Chr Lear from the 1841 census. The above post implies that Christopher Lear/Leer who married about 1785( father of Christopher Lear/Leer from the above census records) is related to Charles Lear, the brush maker., but I’m not sure which generation he is referring to when he says “ The brushmaker was, if I remember correctly, a younger son of this family”  I haven’t been able to find baptism records for Charles (Lear-1184), so this may just be speculation.

There are two Christopher Leer wills on the NationalArchives website for two different Christopher Leers. It’s worth checking them to see if they mention John the brush maker. They can currently be download free of charge if you register.

One of those documents PROB 11/1137/182 is the Will of Christopher Leer, Gentleman of East Greenwich , Kent and not much help but the other one PROB 11/1656/4 Is definitely our man as he is a coach maker of Saint Mary Lambeth , Surrey and on the census I found it also said coach something.

It is very hard to read. I think of the document I downloaded only the half the first page is his will and when it starts talking about John Whitehouse that is a diferent will altogether. It starts off with normal will stuff then Line 7 mentions his wife which looks a bit like Sumivle Leer (but almost certainly isn’t)  It looks like he left her the amount of ten pounds which seems a bit mean since he gave more to other people. He seems to have given something to Florence leer and Louise ‘of that something’.  Another bit that I can’t read and he gives the sons of the aforementioned someth9ing which is thirty pounds.  There is something about surviving lears. Then something (presumably the rest) is to be divided equally between his children or their heirs, wives or husbands. Something about something happening after the disposal of the property further mention of his childred and wife (Soushili ?) my eldest son Christopher john Ritt (?) and my oldest to be Sunylebrt @lozony leer to be his executioners with loyalty and twenty pounds to his eldest son Christopher john Leer and four pounds to his eldest something to this my something and about half way down the page says Christopher Jacob leer witniss Robert brookes.

If anyone can decipher  the wife’s name that would be really helpful. Apart from that we have learnt that his eldest son is called Christopher john  and I think he had 2 daughters called Florence and Louise. Apart from that we know that he owned his own house and have confirmed that he was a coach maker.

I have put the original document here

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give me a little  while and I'll transcribe it. It's not long

Ok It's a quick rendition. There are a few words that I'm not sure about and are in brackets.It is rough and ready.I like to do a transcript and then come back to it because I seem to be able to read it better and then spot errors.

The second bit  starting with John Whitehouse is not a different will I haven't transcribed it in full because of time but it is another local coach painter affirming that this was the writing of Christopher Leer. Maybe there was a challenge, maybe the one witness was not to be found. Maybe there are some bits that don't really make sense!  (it doesn't explain why it was necessary  to find someone to swear to the validity of the writing , but in my experience,  this sort of statement occurs when there is a problem.

 National Archives,Kew, Surrey, England :PROB 11/1656/4

Description:        Will of Christopher Leer otherwise Christopher Jacob Leer, Coachmaker of Saint Mary Lambeth , Surrey

Date:     01 April 1822

I Christopher Leer  otherwise Christopher Jacob Leer of Bridge Road in the Parish of Saint Mary Lambeth in the County of Surrey  coachmaker [   fe] this my last will and testament in maner and form following (that is to say) I desire that all my just debts Funeral  expences and [pursing?]  ]this my last will and testament be fully paid and satisfied I do then bequeath to my dear wife Hannah Leer the rest of the house and shop occupied  by  Mr Joseph Fitshowe Sadler and Collarmaker situated in Bridge Road aforesaid  without any [sa’ctions ;sanctions?] whatsoever  [ ---- ptines  exceptines? ] the insurance from fire which she must pay during her life likewise  My will is that the stock in trade household furniture and lease of the premises with everything else I may hold in my possession and belonging to me at the time of my decease may be disposed of to the best advantage and that a sufficient sum maybe invested in the funds to bring in seventy pounds pe’ annum in addition to the above rent of the house aforesaid which is thirty pounds per annum without any securities surviving for her life and for her own use after her decease to be equally divided between my children or their heirs after they have attained the age of twenty one years and likewise my will is that the residue be equally divided as soon as possible after the disposal of the property and the securities  upon it is fully satisfied in the same manner as before specified among my said children or their heirs  I likewise appoint my wife Hannah  Leer my eldest son [I of J?] Christopher John Leer and my eldest  daughter Mary leer my executors and executrixes with a legacy of twenty  pounds to my eldest son  [ I orJ?] Christopher John Leer and ten pounds to my eldest daughter  Mary Leer to this my last will and testament dated this first day of January One thousand eight hundred and twenty two as witness my hand

Christopher Jacob Leer, witness Robert Brookes

Appeared personally John Whitehouse of Mead Place Westminster Road in the County of Surrey Coach painter and made oath that he knew and was well acquainted with Christopher Leer otherwise Christopher Jacob Leer late of Bridge Road in the parish of Saint Mary Lambeth in the County of   Surrey (the rest goes on to say that he was familiar with the writing of Christopher)  this bit is dated 29 March 1822

Proved at London 1st April 1822 before the worshipful John Daubeny Doctor of Laws and surrogate by the oathes of Hannah Leer widow the relict  [I or J?]  Christopher John Leer the son and Mary Leer Spinster the daughter the executors to whom admon’ was granted having been first duly sworn.

Edit : the son was J Christopher John Leer. The image for the following record is on ancestry. He was   a coachmaker like his father. 

Name: J Christopher John Leer
Gender: Male
Record Type: Marriage
Marriage Date: 22 Feb 1842
Marriage Place: St John, Horselydown, Southwark, England
Father: Christopher Leer
Spouse: Elizabeth Arnold
Register Type: Parish Register
Blimey I made a mess of that didn't i? I still think it looks more like Sumivle than Hannah (though I do not for one second doubt that you are right) and where did I get Florence leer and Louise from? Thank you so much Helen.

Here's the allegation (application for the licence to marry Hannah Viner and the marriage itself (but maybe we're going up the wrong branch/tree maybe not relationship to the brushmaker or the music printer)

edited second reference 

Yes unfortunately I don’t think he has anything to do with music printer Lear or any of the brushmakers. Music printer lear’s Father was a brushmaker (Lear-1138) and Tracey has found some other brushmaker Lear’s (Lear-1148 and his wife and son) we are working on connecting these 2 sets of brushmaker Lears but it does not seem that coachmaker Leer is going to be much help with this. It is interesting stuff though.
Cri is a common abbreviation for Christopher, I have it on several of my records
This may seem like a bit of a 'Hail Mary' but I have found an earlier John Lear in what is presumably the 'right' poorhouse now. The actual image is the page before the one the link takes you to.

Since we have come out the other side of census territory I was wondering if better brains than mine could work out if his john Lear is related to Brush Maker Lear (Lear-1138) also called John Lear, also of Lambeth

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