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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report April 2003

by Diana Kennedy  

Six new members with an interest in the Sewell name have recently joined the Sole Society.

The first is Anthony Sewell from Coventry who sent his family tree. Tony is searching for his Great Grandfather Thomas Sewell who was born in Byfield, Northants about 1855. Thomas lived at Long Itchington and Tony thinks Thomasí parents were Henry and Eliza. I gave Tony a couple of GRO references and hopefully one of these will confirm Thomasí parents.

Another new member is Sandra Templeton from Texas, US who has an interest in Durham; she originally approached us last year. Sandra says she is doing quite well on the US side of her research but is looking for Jesse Sewell from Durham who emigrated to America in the early 1700ís together with his son Abraham. Eric Sewell our Durham co-ordinator made a search but has not been able to find a Jesse Sewell in Durham before the nineteenth century.

Maureen Manning from the Isle of Lewis recently joined. I mentioned Maureen in my last report, (December 2002), her 2xGreat Grandfather George Sewell moved around but in the 1881 census gave his place of birth as Shoeburyness, Essex. Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell was unable to find George in the 1861 census for that area but gave Maureen a GRO reference for George, following which Georgeís parents and siblings were identified from the Rayleigh 1851 & 1861 censuses. Her mother has now told Maureen that some their Sewells went to South Africa, possibly Durban, Maureen would like to hear from anyone who has any information on South African records.

I have also been in touch before with new member Diana Sewell, from North Yorkshire. Her husbandís ancestors come from Norfolk and Diana recently updated me with his family tree starting from John Sewell who married Elizabeth Payne in 1761 at Hackford. His son William Payne Sewell married Maria Payne and they had 11 children, including a son also called William Payne.

I suggested that Diana obtained a copy of a Will for a William Payne Sewell and much to Dianaís surprise the Will turned out to be that of his father who died in 1871, ten years after his son. This helped Diana to connect the generations and fill in a lot of gaps. Since joining Diana has looked at our website and found mention in a 1993 report by Geoff Sewell of a link with Sewell and the Thurston Circus. John Sewell a grandson of William Payne Sewell and Rosetta Head, married Emma Thurston, but Diana has not been able to find any connection to the circus run by Charles Thurston of Norwich. Diana also sent me a list that was given to her by an American friend. These were Parish Records of Sewell entries in the Parish of Eye in Suffolk. You may remember that I wrote in my last report of finding the Sewell gravestones in the Churchyard at Eye and these parish records have given me even more information to add to the Sewellís from Eye.

New member David Sewall is from Orono Canada. David reminds us of the Sewell/Sewall website for North America. The address of the website is:


This family originated with William Shewell of Warwickshire who was born about 1510-20, and whose descendant was Henry Sewell, one time Mayor of Coventry.

Our sixth new member is Judy Wright has links with Chile. She is looking for information on John Sewell and Juana ?nee Dias. John was a mining proprietor in Chile. Their son Richard Manuel Sewell was baptised 1835 in Valparaiso Chile. However, his cadet papers, found by Judy at the LDS centre, were signed by a Jane and Augustus Sewell. Richard was a Superintendent of Police in Bengal Staff Corp in 1871. The only reference I could find for a John and Juana Sewell was as the parents of Adeline Edith Rebecca Sewell baptised 1851 at St Mary, St Marylebone, London. Possibly Adeline is a sister of Richard.

Several other enquiries and pieces of information have been received recently. Australian member Noel Webb has sent me some very useful Australian files of birth, deaths and marriages. These cover most areas of Australia, although Noel found no entries for the Northern Territories. Other areas that include Sewellís are Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland. Some of the earliest records start in 1788 in New South Wales and most go well into the 20th century. These will be a very valuable contribution on the forthcoming CD rom, or they can be searched now by co-ordinators for members with Australian ancestors.

Member Bob Driver had been trying to trace the parents of his grandfather Robert Sewell listed as born in Peterborough in 1856. I was able to give Bob some GRO Birth references for Robert and his two brothers Henry and William. Bob now has the certificate, which gives Robertís birth as 1854, and his parents as Robert and Eliza nee Starbrook.

Another member who keeps in touch is Tony Foster who for sometime now has been looking for the Will of Robert Sewell who in the 1851 census was listed as living in London. Tony has finally found the Will, made in 1851 in Wigan Lancashire and lists Robertsís sons and daughters. According to the Will, Robertís wife was to have the interest until his son was of age. Tony wants to know if it is possible to find out how much his son received when he became twenty-one.

Ralph Hardingís great grandmother Mary Sewell was the eldest of eight children. She was born in 1845 the daughter of Samuel Sewell and Harriet Lane who married in 1844. Samuel was the son of Samuel a grocer of North Walsham, Norfolk, I believe that originally this family came from Norwich. I suggested a couple of Wills that Ralph could try that might help him to sort out this family, as there are several Samuelís with North Walsham connections. One Will is for a Samuel Sewell a leather cutter who left £24 1s 3d to his son Samuel a butcher and the other is for Samuel Sewell a farmer who left £3000. I think the first is the one Ralph is looking for and I am not sure if there is a connection with the second. Samuel a butcher has a twin Thomas both born in 1852 and both are given as butchers in the 1891 census.

Pam Daglish has an autobiography of Elizabeth M Sewell published in 1908. Elizabeth Missing Sewell was one of twelve children, born on the Isle of Wight, and sister of Henry Sewell the first Premier of New Zealand. Originally this family came from Carlisle, with Thomas Sewell born in 1695 at Bleckwell. Eric Sewell wrote an article on this family in the July edition of Soul Search. Just before I heard from Pam I had a message from the Revd Michael Blain who is an historian of early clergy who served in New Zealand. Michael had found Emily Sewell who married the Revd Henry Courtenay Hawtrey and wanted to know who was Emilyís father. I was able to tell him that she was the daughter of Robert Sewell and niece of the above Henry Sewell.

From New Zealand Jackie Gausden wrote that her 2x Great Grandfather William George Sewell was born 1857 in Staines Middlesex. This is not an area noted for the name Sewell, and it would be interesting to know where he originated. I have suggested to Jackie she looks for the 1861 census for Staines to find out where his father came from. William George later emigrated to New Zealand.

Finally Nicky Lynch came across on our website a mention from the Deposition book of Richard Wyatt JP (see Soul Searchl April 2002) a reference to a bastardy order of Ann Howard a singlewoman of Chertsey, against Thomas Sewell in 1775. Nicky said that these were her 5x Great Grandparents and sent her family tree for our records.

The Sole Society committee recently decided to purchase some CD roms of the 1841 censuses and several were for areas with Sewell interest. One has kept co-ordinator Eric Sewell busy with the 1841 census for Durham and Northumberland. Norfolk 1841 census is also keeping me busy, there are no name index to these censuses, so it is a question of working through them systematically. Essex has also been ordered which will be useful to Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell.

One point that has been raised by a member is the publication of memberís addresses and interests. Unlike other Family History Societies members of the Sole Society have an interest in one of only four names and their variants. The Sole Society also researches these surnames and for that purpose has appointed name co-ordinators. This ensures that information gathered and received from members and non-members can be added to our records for the future use of our members. Co-ordinators are always happy to put members in touch with one another and pass on information. I would certainly welcome any help on some of the above enquiries.

This is a fairly short report as I am giving it to Tim, a month before his editors deadline. I am off to Australia and New Zealand for the whole of February. Apologises to those who sent information during February and have not been mentioned, I will include them in my next report n

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