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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report April 2005

by Diana Kennedy  


It has been quite busy over the last few months adding data to our records sent in from new and existing members as well as other enquirers.


I have also been taking a fresh look at some of the county records that I have and this has led to a few more connections between counties. One such connection has taken us back through three generations, three counties and three co-ordinators.


We are pleased to welcome five new members to the Sole Society, with a Sewell interest. The first is Martin Swain who I have corresponded with for a couple of years. Martin is particularly interested in the history of Lancing Park, Sussex and its connection with Anna Sewell writer of Black Beauty. From the recently published biography of Anna, we now know that she lived with her family at Fircroft in Lancing. Martin remembers the then derelict house and grounds from his childhood, where he played in the surrounding woods. The house has since been pulled down and is now a housing estate, however Martin says that the stable block, possibly where the family kept their pony still exists as a private dwelling. He thinks this would make a suitable place for a blue plaque for Anna and her mother Mary also a noted writer of the time.


Sam Allenís grandmother was Wynifred Georgina Sewell born in 1925 in Peckham. Sam was lucky to find newspaper reports on his ancestors, and you can read about Wynifredís father John Henry (Fred), and his attempt to stop a runaway horse, in Soul Search. Wynifredís grandfather John James was born in 1858 in the City of London. His father was William Sewell born in early 1830ís and this is where Sam is stuck, he would like to hear from anyone researching the Camberwell, Peckham or Nuneaton area. Member Tony Foster is also researching this area and maybe they will find a connection when they exchange notes.


Ann Wallace had previously been in touch with co-ordinator Eric Sewell and having taken up her research again after a few years rest, has decided to join the Society. Her ancestors came from Sedgefield, Durham starting with John baptised in 1770. Later Sewells moved to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and less glamorously Gravesend in Kent. Ann has done a lot of research that I will be sending to Eric to add to his records and maybe he will be able to fill in a few gaps. Ann is intrigued as her x2 great grandfather, John Sewell, a property owner and farmer died in 1871, in Sunderland workhouse of smallpox, only days before his baby son George, died also of smallpox at home. It seems likely that the workhouse served as a fever hospital at the time, but Ann can find no record of this.


I have also been in touch before with new member Prue Webster. She originally sent me a lot of information about her Nottingham ancestors and their involvement with the lace industry. I renewed my contact with Prue following an enquiry from a Douglas Sewell. Douglas asked if he could have a contact address for another enquirer Ruth Tyndale from 1999, as he believed that his grandfather Douglas and Ruthís grandmother Kitty were brother and sister. Douglas (Snr) was born in 1894 and his sister Kitty in 1899 in Ilkeston and were in Derbyshire in the 1901 census. When I started looking into this family I realised that Prue was descended from John a great uncle of Douglas and Kitty, and some of the family had moved from Nottingham to Derbyshire. Prue has now been in touch with Douglas but so far has been unable to track Ruth down, as she seems to have changed her e.mail address and we have no other address.


Our last new member is Brenda Ord. Her great grandfather William Sewell was born in Forehoe (Norfolk) Workhouse in 1868. His mother Sarah Ann appears to have had two more children born later and in the 1881 census all were living in the workhouse. Sarah Annís parents were John Sewell a weaver, and Honor nee Riches. William having left the workhouse followed his Uncle John to Northumberland. Having married Isabella Jane Moffitt they then had ten children including Brendaís grandmother, Honora Ethel in 1900. Brenda says she now knows why her grandmother had such an unusual name, presumably named after her grandmother, Honor. Although we had details of this family on our records, Brenda has given me more details to add to our records.


Long-standing member Helen Kifford sent a copy of her Hertfordshire family tree with the marriage of Charles Sewell and Ann Thompson in 1849. Helen believed from the marriage certificate that the father of Charles, born 1827, was David. Our records showed Charles as the son of Daniel and Ruth nee Walding. Helen had another look at the marriage certificate with a magnifying glass and decided that with hindsight it was more likely Daniel and not David who was the father of Charles. I must say having seen the certificate it is difficult, but is most likely to be Daniel. Obviously they were not written to make it easy for latter day researchers! Daniel and Ruth married in Rickmansworth in 1812, although the children of Charles and Ann were born around the St Pancras area of London. I have been able to take Helen back another generation to the marriage of Daniel Sewell and Hannah Brown in 1787 also in Rickmansworth.


Another member Shirley Oxenbury tells me she is still at a blank looking for Sarah Ann Sewell, who was born about 1836, possibly in Spalding. Shirley asks if anyone is able to help with the parish records. According to Sarah Annís marriage certificate her father was John Sewell a bricklayer.


I have also heard from member Kathryn Lea Lawrence Sewell who is also researching the Spalding area and have put Shirley in touch with Kathryn. Kathryn dates her ancestors back to William George Sewell and Susannah nee Walker who married in 1809.


Following the December edition of Soul Search I had a letter from member Edna Pritchard about the Cricket Hankie article by Bev Hendy. Edna recognised the Thomas Sewell on the hankie as one of her ancestors, Thomas, baptised 1806 in Mitcham, Surrey. As well as being a cricketer Thomas was a calico printer. His son called Thomas, also played cricket.


I have also had some feedback on my article of the Norfolk train crash, from a letter I sent to ĎNorfolk Rootsí where the original article came from, regarding the family of Frederick Sewell the fireman who was killed. It was this letter that brought a response from John Dyball. Johnís mother is descended from the daughter of Frederickís wife Clara from her first marriage. John has very kindly sent a lot of information on the Blundeston Sewells where Frederickís parents, George and Susan nee Goldsmith lived. With the help of Johnís parish records and certificates I have been able to amalgamate several Blundeston families into one large family. On the same family, independently I heard from Velda Skeggs who lives in Tasmania. Velda is descended from Frederickís son George Frederick born 1869. Velda has sent me details of George Frederickís family.


I was also pleased to hear from member Ron Sturrock-Mc Moore who has been in touch with member Andrew Sewell. Ron has confirmed they are related and has updated Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell of the extra information.


I also mentioned in Decemberís Soul Search that I had two William Sewellís born in Woolwich, Kent in 1886. I knew that I could trace one back to 1820ís in Woolwich and the other whose father came from Warwick. From this birth certificate I knew Williamís father was John Thomas and he was born in Warwick born 1858, (1881census). Having purchased John Thomasís birth certificate I found his parents were John Bloxham Sewell and Ann nee Sewell. Looking in the 1881 census I found John Sewell a widower in Warwick with his son William, and Williamís wife and son. Fortunately the family were still living in the house where John Thomas had been born. The 1881 census gave me the information that John was born in Northants, and I found John Bloxham Sewell in the Parish records baptised 1827 in Byfield. This family was in the records of Ruth Pringle co-ordinator for Northamptonshire and Mike Hines co-ordinator for Warwickshire. So between us we have put all the information together into an extended family covering the three counties. Meanwhile Ruth has been in touch with three other enquirers of this family who are all linked.


Ruth has been working her way through the 1500-1700 transcripts at Northants Record Office. When she has finished that she will move on to the fiches for 1700-1950. That should keep her busy for quite a while!


Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewellís brother David went to a talk by a member of the Magic Circle. David was told of an Ernest Sewell who produced magic sets in the 1920s and appeared at Windsor Castle. Ernest seems to have lived in London, so does anyone know Ernest? Do you have a magician amongst your ancestors?


Once again thank you to all members who have sent in copies of certificates or any information to add to our records.


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