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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report - April 2001

By Diana Kennedy


Since the last ‘Soul Search’ the Sewell co-ordinators have been busy dealing with enquiries from far and near. I have recently enquiries from Jamaica, Holland and South Africa, the latter of which was dealt with by Tony Sewell. Mike Sewell has received many requests including some from Australia and New Zealand. Most communications we deal with have come through the web site, and these have all been complementary. Searchers have found it found interesting and helpful, so thanks to Tim who manages our Internet presence.

We are pleased to welcome six new members to the Society. New member Cheryl Norton Sewell from North Carolina found our web site helpful in tracking down some Sewell’s in the US. We look forward to hearing more from Cheryl.

Brian Sewell, co-ordinator for Essex, continues to be in touch with new member Richard Smith, who lives in Inverness. Richard has been mentioned in the journal before, having done a lot of work on Essex wills, and has traced his family back to John Sewell born 1586 in Essex. Elsewhere, Brian has been working on two other families with links in Essex and Australia and found a lot of overlap between original sources and articles received but has had only little success in fitting them together. See Brian's introduction to articles from these contacts in this edition of Soul Search.

Eric Sewell who co-ordinates the Cumberland, Northumberland and Durham areas is helping another new member Eileen Gott who is researching her Cumbria family, including Elizabeth Sewell born 1752-3. Eileen thinks that Elizabeth is the daughter of Jacob Sewell and Ann Railton. Eric found Elizabeth for Eileen, one of the seven children of Jacob and Ann Sewell. Eric has also found that Eileen and member Colin Brown are both descended from Thomas Sewell, 1695-1782 of Cumrew, Cumberland, the youngest son of Jacob Sewell. These Sewells hail from the IOW and were the subject of an article by Eric in the July 2000 Soul Search.

Eric has also had enquiries from Joy and Russell White from Australia who found us on the Internet. Both they and Sandra Sewell Templeton are looking for Jesse Sewell from Durham about 1695. Eric has not been able to find any Jesse Sewells in the area before the 19th century.

Mike Sewell who co-ordinates the North East area is helping new member Mike Hines who is researching his wife Elaine’s family who came from Hull. They originally descended from Thomas Sewell who married Anne Hawkins in 1795 at Great Yarmouth. I did have this family on my Norfolk records but with Mike Hines help have added a few more connections and I hope we have added been able to help him add a few. Eric Sewell is also helping Mike with a South Shields connection. Mike (Hines) has also offered to help with transcribing the GRO. Thanks Mike.

Mike Sewell is also helping new member Bob Driver from Aberdeenshire research his Grandfather Robert Sewell who was born in Peterborough in 1856. Mike has found the transcribed GRO indexes very useful, and says all the hard work done in transcribing them is very worthwhile. I certainly agree with him. A word of caution comes from Mike regarding Yorkshire. Since the last round of local government changes there are now about 20 separate repositories in 15 different local authorities. Mike suggests that some homework is needed before visiting Yorkshire record offices.

Tony Sewell who co-ordinates the South East area has looked for the birth of James Sewell for another new member Edna Pritchard from Wales who has rejoined the Society, and is looking for James Sewell baptised about 1779 who married Ann Doust in Streatham area in 1803. Tony gave Edna some possible leads, in that James may have come from Kent. I believe there is more work to be done here.

Tony has also been in touch with Geoffrey Sewell in South Africa whose Great Grandfather William Anderton Sewell was born around 1875 in Canterbury. William moved to Northern Ireland and was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the 5th Royal Irish Lancers. He served in the Boer War and the 1st World War and returned to Ireland, dying in 1946. Tony found only one William Anderton Sewell in the GRO, born 1870 in Mile End.

Pat Scutt contacted us from Surrey regarding William Sewell who was a Fly Proprietor in Weybridge, Surrey in the 1880’s. Pat is unable to do much research and wasn’t sure where William and his wife Frances Orme came from. Tony found William and Frances in the 1881 census and found William came from Huntingdon and Frances from Nottingham. William was the son of Charles and Mary Sewell.

Lynne and Rick Sewell from Australia are researching the Rickmansworth area for Daniel Sewell who married Hannah Brown in 1787 and had six children. Rick is puzzled by the 6 year gap between their marriage and the birth of their first child in 1795. Thereafter the 6 children were born at 2 yearly intervals. I have suggested that it is possible that the couple moved away from Rickmansworth after marriage, moving back a few years later. One of their sons Joseph, born 1798, was transported to Australia for 7 years in 1817, where he later became a shepherd. Joseph fathered 15 children, two from his first wife and 13 from his second. The last child was born in 1878 when Joseph was about 80 years old! Rick is coming to England soon on a business trip and is hoping to spend a couple of days researching Joseph’s ‘crime’.

Family Trees have been received from a few Society members and these are always welcome. In particular from members Patricia Sasse who sent in her Worcestershire family tree and Pamela Jones who sent her Rutland family tree. Unfortunately we have little information on these two areas and so they were very welcome and hopefully we will be able to add to them soon. In addition, member Peter Foreman sent in his Norfolk chart and several other Norfolk charts he has collected over the years. These have filled in a few gaps to my Norfolk records. We have also received ‘strays’, from census information from Tony Foster. Again this information is very welcome.

On a more personal level I recently spent a long weekend with my husband in Suffolk looking for gravestones of ancestors. Despite the heavy rain, and the fact that we had forgotten wellington boots, I did have a little success, although not as much as I had hoped. But I did discover that Lancelot Brown the rector for 58 years at Kelsale who baptised, married and buried many of my ancestors was the grandson of the landscape gardener ‘Capability’ Brown. I am particularly pleased, as gardening is my other passion. While in Suffolk we stayed in a 300 year old Inn, The Crown at Framlingham, which in the 1870’s was run by a William Sewell and later his son William George. They are descended from James Sewell and Martha Mills of Preston, Suffolk who married in 1815. In the lounge of the hotel is a framed invoice dated December 31st 1877 and signed by W.G. Sewell. One item is for a bottle of Brandy for 4s 6d. Needless to say, prices for drinks in the bar have since risen considerably!

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