genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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John Clare (about 1776 to ?)

John is almost certainly the father of Thomas (born 1810) but there is no definitive proof. Just circumstantial evidence.

I have traced the Clare line back to John CLARE who was born in St Saviour, Southwark in about 1776 and, if correct, there is a possibility that we could go back a further generation to a John CLEAR of St Botolph, Bishopsgate, who would have been born about 1745. 

We know that John CLARE married Lucy (possibly Tyler) and was living at “Wood Yard” in 1814 and described as a “labourer”.  John and Lucy probably had six children all born in Southwark :

  • Sarah and William (twins) born in 1804
  • John born in 1807
  • Thomas born in 1810 (our direct line)
  • Mary born in 1811 (baptism 9th February 1812)
  • Mary born in 1814 (baptism 20th March 1814)

The second of the two Mary’s married John REEVES, a bone merchant from Coleshill, Warwickshire (1841), who later became a butcher and they had six children.  They lived in Lambeth and then Camberwell.

Sarah married John MORRIS, a printer compositer (1831) also from Southwark, and they had seven children.  They lived in Southwark and then Lambeth.

I have found no subsequent trace of William, John or the first Mary.


I needed to determine who Thomas’ parents were.  The only possible hit on IGI was a Thomas CLARE baptised 1810 in Saint Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey with parents John and Mary.  Initially this seemed unlikely as on the censuses our Thomas consistently described his birthplace as “St Saviours, Southwark” or “Southwark”.  The two churches are within about a mile of each other so it was possible this was our Thomas. 

There was, however, a Mary REEVES on the 1871 census living with her nephew, Thomas’s son Charles CLARE, who we know is our line.  We also knew that one of the two Mary CLARE’s married a John REEVES in 1841. 

There are two almost identical Mary CLARE’s on the IGI, although the surname spelling is either different or has been transcribed wrongly : 

a)    Birth of MARY CLARE on 8th November 1811 (baptism 9th February 1812) Saint Saviour, Southwark, with parents JOHN CLARE and LUCY 

b)    Birth of MARY CLAIR on 27th January 1814 (baptism 20th March 1814) Saint Saviour, Southwark, with parents JOHN CLAIR and LUCY.  

If they are both Mary CLARE with the same parents, the most likely scenario is that the first Mary died and they named another daughter by the same name.  However, I have not been able to trace a death between late 1811 and early 1814.  

Having posted the query on Rootschat a responder said that the 1814 baptism listing is unclear but Ancestry gives John’s occupation as “labourer” living at Wood Yard.  Mary REEVES shows her ages on each census and these show her birth year to be either 1814 or 1815.  This suggests the Mary born on 27th January 1814 is the one who was living with our Charles in 1871.  Her death in the December quarter of 1878 shows her age as 64 which confirms this.  

We are still looking for the death of the first Mary between 1811 and 1814. 

We know from IGI that the parents of Sarah and William (1804), John (1807) and Mary (1814) were John and Lucy, so as long as we can prove that Mary (1814) was aunt to THOMAS’ son, Charles, Thomas’ parents must also be John & Lucy.

The clincher came by looking at the marriage certificate of John REEVES and Mary CLARE in 1841.  This shows her father was indeed John CLARE but he is “deceased”.  However, thankfully, one of the witnesses was John MORRIS who we know had married Sarah CLARE who we know is related to Mary CLARE and so must also be related to Thomas CLARE.

Not simple this genealogy lark !

Linked toJohn Clare; John Clare; Mary Clare; Sarah Clare; Thomas Clare; William Clare; John Morris; John Reeves

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