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The Belfry-De Guerre (De Geer) Mystery Solved
Posted by: Kent DeGeer (ID *****2201) Date: October 12, 2004 at 08:51:02
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The author of "The Belfry Family History" is listed as P. De Guerre and the chapter on his immediate family records all of his children and grandchildren, as of 1888, with the De Guerre surname. Recently evidence in the form of land, marriage, birth and census records has confirmed that:

1. Peter De Guerre was born Peter Degeer in 1824 (also spelled Degear and De Gear/De Geer) and he used the original family name for most of his life (from 1824 to c1885/88).

2. Peter De Guerre was actually Peter De Geer III, s/o Peter De Geer II (1798 - 1823)and Sarah "Sally" Dunham. Despite the spelling change, most of Peter III's many Dunham cousins of his generation as well as from the next generation knew him as Peter Degeer all of his life (and beyond).

3. All of the children of Peter De Geer III were born with and used the original family name and in turn all of their children (born prior to 1885) were registered with the family's original surname. Several birth records were signed by the registered child's father as "De Geer."

4. By the time the Belfry Family History was published in 1888 most if not all members of this branch of the DeGeer family were using the new spelling (De Guerre or DeGuerre, Deguerre and Deguere) but there are a number of instances (probably for legal reasons) that some descendants had to revert to their birth name and at least one registered his name change with the Province of Ontario in 1924.

5. There are a number of errors and omissions in the chapter on the family of Peter De Guerre and Clarissa Belfry but they are too numerous to list here.

In addition, Peter De Geer I (a.k.a. Peter, the elder, Peter Sr.(c1771 - 1827), yeoman (farmer) b. in NY was the father of Peter De Geer II (1798 -1823, b. NY and the grandfather of Peter De Geer III (1824 - 1906).

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