Diana KennedyThe Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report March 2012

by Diana Kennedy  



We just have one new member to welcome to the Sole Society, Steve Hewlett. Steve although originally from Suffolk now lives in Yorkshire, although his ancestors came from Essex and he is hoping we can help to fill in a few details before he comes down to research Essex. His grandmother was Charlotte Laura Sewell born in Halstead, Essex in 1855. Her parents were Charles Sewell born 1833 who in 1850 married Sarah Ringrose. Charles was a master shoe maker in Halstead. Charlotte had a brother George Decimus Sewell who married Emma Norton in 1885. Their grandparents were another Charles Sewell born in 1807 who married Caroline Kate Sharp at the Independent Chapel in Halstead. Grandfather Charles like his son was also a master boot maker. In 1833 Charles and Caroline were in Gestlingthorpe near Maplestead. Steve thought they might be connected to other Sewells living in the Halstead and Maplestead area as he had found  another Decimus Sewell.  Brian Sewell our Essex co-ordinator said that at present he cannot find any connection between the two families. The second family has been well documented by Adrian Corder-Birch and member Glennis Sewell. Brian has sent Steve the details he has of his family and a photo of the gravestone of Charles and Caroline in Halstead.


It has generally been fairly quiet few months, although Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell has seen a flurry of activity in respect of the Essex Sewells and as well as the above information he has sent me a summary of recent events as follows.


Tanya Sewell said that although she hadn’t been in touch with the Sole Society for a long time she still enjoyed Soul Search. Unfortunately like most of us she still has a brick wall with her own Sewell family being unable to trace ancestors beyond Edward Sewell born about 1794 and who died in 1847. Edward Sewell married Ann Raby in 1819 in Chelmsford, Essex.  Tanya is not sure if he was Edward or Thomas as in the subsequent birth and marriages of Edward and Ann’s children the father was sometimes given as Edward and other times as Thomas! But she is pretty sure they are the same family. I had the same problem with my 2x Great grandfather who decided at some stage to change his name from Jonathan to William.


Tanya has also unable to find a connection between her (Thomas) Edward and that of an Edward Sewell who married Frances Lark in 1796 despite them having a son Thomas born about 1798 in Chelmsford.  Brian sent Tanya information about Edward Sewell who married Francis Lark, in 1796, which is part of another tree and also details of part of a very large tree, to which Edward maybe connected.


Tanya while tracing another line in her family found another Sewell line from Lambeth and West Hanningfield, Essex.  She has the marriage certificate for a Mark Sewell and Maria Cooper in 1841 in St Mary, Lambeth and baptismal records for their two sons Henry and George (baptised after their father’s death in 1844 from Smallpox) in West Hanningfield.  Maria Sewell then married George Saveall and they had a further 6 children. Tanya asked if Brian had any further details on the West Hanningfield Sewell’s?  Brian says that this is part of another Essex family which concerns member Sarah Hays, and is hoping that some of the trees may connect, but proving it one way or the other is another matter!


Rosemary Woodbridge-Smith’s ancestors came from Great Henny in Essex. With some help from an ex-member of the Sole Society, Richard Smith, Rosemary has traced her family back to John Sewell who married Margery Gibbon in 1520 and they are Rosemary’s 12x great grandparents. Brian originally thought that Rosemary’s tree was connected to member Glennis Sewell. However he now realises that she is more likely to be connected to the tree of member Raelene Yates whose tree is in an adjacent area. Hopefully, Raelene can add some more information.


Ashley Howe has taken over the family research from his mother Henrietta who used to be in touch with Brian. Ashley wanted to get in touch with him as he wanted Brian’s opinion on some of the queries they had discussed about ten years ago. Brian was particularly interested as it is part of his own tree. Henrietta and Ashley’s Sewell ancestor was Amelia Sewell, born 1824, who married Samuel Wisbey in 1862. Henrietta was in some confusion over Amelia’s parents but Brian was able to send her information that they were James [1801-1891] & Amelia, nee Cross, [1795-1872], Brian’s  2x great grandparents.  Ashley and Brian have been able to help each other, and are hoping to get information from another member Debbie Sewell.


Brian has also been keeping up with all of the Aussie Sewell Reunions. The first was Stan Gordon, reported in December’s Soul Search, when 70 descendants of George Sewell gathered together. Then he heard from Peter & Ingrid Sewell and their reunion in Brisbane in March 2011 with 60+ present, and reported elsewhere in this issue. Finally, there was the reunion of member Glennis Sewell’s family which was attended by 70+ when she launched the book she had written on her research.


Away from Essex long standing member Sharon Cunningham has for many years been looking for her ancestor Mark Sewell who was born about 1798, and married in Caston, Norfolk, but we had not been able to find Mark’s birth. Sharon has now been in touch with the Norfolk Record Office regarding Mark Sewell & his birth date, parents etc 


They searched the parish register for Caston from 1793-1803 and could find no entry of his being baptised there.  They checked the marriage entry which states that he came from the parish of Caston, although they pointed out that this does not necessarily mean that he was born there.  They then used the Freereg website which produced one Mark Sewell as having been born and baptised in Tibbenham on 27 April 1798.  His parents were Phoebe (formerly Day) and William.  His date of birth is given as 25 April 1798.  This looks the most promising lead so far, although we do not have any Sewells in Tibbenham in our records. 


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