The following summary is based on census returns and birth/marriage/death certificates, which by themselves do not constitute a complete or accurate historical account of the families researched. The summary should be treated as speculative only.
About the year 1853, three brothers and their families decided to move from their home in England to start a new life in Canada. John and his wife Jane, George and his wife Sarah, Thomas, and their mother Mary settled in Mulmur township in Canada West (later renamed Ontario in 1867). Thomas married his wife Ann the next year, a emigrant of Ireland. All three families quickly built log cabins on their plots of land and began a career of farming.
At some point in the 1860s, John and George moved their families west to the adjacent township of Melancthon near Hornings Mills.
|Marriages and Countries of Origin|
Descendants of John and Jane Flear:
Based on census records, it appears as though John and Jane Flear had only one son, Joseph. Examination of Joseph's marriage certificates introduce a mystery, however. It seems his parents were not John and Jane, but a couple named Thomas and Elizabeth Flear. There is no record of such a couple in Canada. Given that Joseph was cared for by John and Jane Flear and that they had no other children, it is possible that they were an infertile couple who became the guardians of Joseph, probably at his birth. Joseph may have even travelled as an infant from England. Joseph's marriage records are quite unmistakable since he married twice and listed his birth parents on both occassions. If it turns out that Joseph's birth parents were not related to the rest of the family, it would mean that Joseph's family line are not Flears at all!
A further mystery surrounds the fate of Joseph's first wife, Annie Gibson. Annie died months after giving birth to her first son. After her death, Joseph went missing from the census records in 1881, while his son, William John, lived with his paternal gradparents, John and Jane, in Osprey township. In 1891 Joseph and his son were reunited, with Joseph's new wife, Sarah Jane Cave, and many more children.
|Ancestors of John, Thomas, and George (from England)|
Descendants of John, Thomas, and George
Census Returns in Canada
Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Descendants of Thomas and Ann Flear:
Thomas and Ann Flear had seven children, four girls and three boys. The oldest son, John, likely died in infancy. The two sons born afterward, William and James/John, carried on the family name. Thomas and Ann's daughter, Annie Flear-Heartley, raised a large family on her own after her husband died. She also cared for her elderly uncle John after his wife, Jane, and his son, Joseph, died. John, incidently, lived to be over 80!
Descendants of George and Sarah Flear:
George and Sarah Flear had a family of nine children, eight girls and one boy. The family also took care of George's mother, Mary, who only lived a few years after moving to Canada.
Are all the Flears in Canada related?
A search for the name 'Fleer' in the 1971 census records mentions only the three Flear brothers and their families. Subsequent census returns indicate that almost everyone with the surname Flear is related to the three original brothers. Given that the surname Flear is uncommon in the world, it is quite possible that almost all Flears presently living in Canada are related to the same three brothers, many living in the same geographical area of Southern Ontario.
In the mid 1910s, some unrelated Flears emmigrated from Sheffield and Dunston, England and settled in Toronto. Walter Flear and his wife Ida Northern were married in 1915 in Toronto. Other related Flears appear to be Harry Flear and his wife Lydia Northern, their son William Harry Flear (who died in infancy in 1925), and a relative Ethel Northern. Research into this branch of the Flear family is underway.
Other surnames sometimes get confused with Flear. Flear is sometimes mispelled Fleer or Fleir. The name Fleere comes from Holland and this family is unrelated to the Flears of England. Likewise, the name Fleas comes from Polland and this family is also unrelated. There is one record of a Flean in Canada, but it doesn't appear as though she is related to the Flears either.