George Geer's Ancestors

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Note: Before 1752 the year began on March 25th. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year, not the beginning.

Jonathan Geer or Geere was born about 1510 in the Parish of Kenn, Devonshire, England the eldest son of John Geer and Alice Trowbridge.  He married first, Juliana Butside or Budokeside, in St. Bodockes, Devon, by whom he had at least two children – John born about 1540 and Mary baptized on October 7, 1540.  Juliana died sometime prior to November 6, 1546, as a license to marry Beatrice Jermyn (or Germyn) is in the Marriage Licenses of the Diocese of Exeter from the Bishop's Registers, for that date. The entry reads “John Geere of Kenne, Gent. and Beatrice Germyn, of Allhallows, Goldsmith street, Exeter, after banns twice called.

Beatrice was born about 1514 in Exeter, Devonshire, England to John Jermyn (born about 1484 in Exeter) and an unnamed wife. Jonathan and Beatrice had at least four children all baptized in the Parish of Kenn – Alice baptized on August 17, 1547; Nicholas born about 1548 and baptized on June 23 1554, Andrew born about 1550 and baptized on November 18, 1558, and ancestor George.  In the England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 collection, there are several other records for children with a father named John Geere in Kenn, some died shortly after birth. It is possible these are also his children or there may have been another John Geere in the area. The children listed above are those that are recorded in the 1620 Visitations of the County of Devon. This record has some details on the children including:  Andrew married and had a daughter Ann and Alice married the Rev. William Varley.

It is not known when Jonathan and Beatrice died, but most researchers agree they are probably buried in Heavitree, which is about 6.5 miles north and slightly east of Kenn. Others say they are probably buried in the Kenn Parish churchyard of St. Andrew's pictured right (mouse over for more info).


John Geer was born about 1480 in Heavitree, Devonshire, England, the eldest son and heir of Walter Geer and Alice Somaster. He married Alice Throwbridge in the Parish of Kenn in Devon, probably in St. Andrews Church pictured left (mouse over for more info).

Alice was born in Credition, Devonshire in about 1482, the daughter of John Trowbridge Esq, who was born about 1456 in Credition, and an unnamed mother. Their surname has also been recorded as Trobridge, Throwbridge, and Towbridge. John and Alice Geer had only one son, ancestor Jonathan, sometimes recorded as John. Alice died shortly thereafter and was buried in Credition.

John married, secondly, Jane Stowell of Codleston, Somerset, by whom he had one son, Andrew, and two daughters, Mary and Anne. Jane raised his first child Jonathan as her own. It is believed that John Geer died in Credition and is buried there. Credition is about 10 miles northwest of Heavitree.

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Walter Geer was born about 1450 in Heavitree, a small town in Devonshire, near Exeter in Devon, England to unknown parents. The surname has been recorded with many different spellings including Geere and Geare. He is the earliest ancestor to whom the Geer family has been traced. Robert Sanders, who did over 30 years of research on the family writes:

In the Geere family there is an ancient tradition, which like Banquo's ghost ‘will not down,’ that the English Geers came originally from northern France at or about the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. This much may be said, however, with absolute certainty: In southeastern Belgium, there is a river Geer which has been known to History since Caesar's campaign against the Belgae in 57 B.C. In the Walloon language, which is an early French patois, the word is spelled Jaar. This river is not shown on any of the small maps of Belgium: in some of the larger ones, like the Century Atlas, it is indicated, but the name is not given.

Sanders goes on to conclude that the surname Geer was derived from that river’s name.

Walter is referred to as “Walter Geare of Heavitree, gent, meaning he was a gentleman in Thomas Westcote's book A View of Devonshire in MDCXXX. In about 1479 in Devonshire Walter married Alice Somaster who was born about 1457 in Wydcombe or Southams in Devonshire, the oldest child of four children born to John Somaster, Esquire and his wife Julyan Somerset. Walter and Alice had at least two children – ancestor John and a daughter named Julianna, Julyan or Julian  (probably named after her grandmother) who married William

Most researchers believe that Walter died after 1480 in Devon, but do not state where.  It is not known where and when his wife Alice died and was buried.


John Somaster was born about 1443 in Wydcomb, Devonshire, England, the only documented child of Adam Somaster and Julian (Julyan) Prideaux. Some researchers say that he married a first wife who died before having any children, but this is undocumented.

John married a daughter of Jacob of Somerset, some say her name was Julyan, but they may be confusing his mother’s name with his wife’s name. She was born in Somerset, England but nothing more is known about her or her father Jacob.

In The Visitations of the County of Devon, John Somaster is listed as of Wydcomb. He and his wife had at least four children – ancestor Alice; John born about 1469 in Painsford, Devonshire, and was known as  "John Somaster of Painsford, esq." married twice; William birthdate unknown, had two sons-the eldest he disinherited because he married without his consent; and Walter, who had three sons.

It is not known where and when John Somaster and his wife died and are buried.

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