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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report April 2008

by Diana Kennedy  


We welcome two new members, Kay Sewell and Margaret Steer are both researching the Sewell name and have now joined the Sole Society.

Northamptonshire co-ordinator Ruth Pringle has unfortunately had to resign from the Sole Society and as co-ordinator due to family health problems. I should like to take this opportunity to thank her for all the hard work and the valuable contributions she has made to the Sole Society records and to wish her well.

Kay Sewell is researching her husband, Robert Sewell’s, name. His father was Walter Pope Sewell who was born in 1901 in Islington, Mdx. Walter had a sister Ethel May born in 1893 and a brother Henry Cowland born in 1898. Their father was Harry Thomas Sewell a Master Bookbinder who married Mary. This was about all Kay knew.

The 1901 census showed a Henry Sewell with his wife Mary and children Harry T and Ethel living in Islington. The GRO gave me a Harry Thomas born 1868 in Pancras. I then looked at the 1871 census which showed Harry aged two with brother George and parents George age 36 a Printer ?born Essex (difficult to read) and Martha age 26. I thought this might be the correct George and looked him up in the 1881 and 1891 census. These showed George a Porter was living in Model Buildings, Pancras and he was born in Long Melford Sfk. By luck I spotted a few doors down from George and Martha, a family with the surname of Cowland. The marriage GRO records showed George married Martha Hannah Cowland in 1865 and this was confirmed by the Parish Records for Old Church, St Pancras. The Cowland family in Model Buildings was Martha’s brother. It was interesting to note that Model Buildings was not a tenement as we first thought but the name of a street, and is still there close to Kings Cross Road. However we have still not found George’s family in Long Melford. A few Suffolk families moved to Long Melford but as yet I cannot find a link with George. Kay says she is hoping to go to Suffolk to do more research.

Our second new member, Margaret Steer, is a Saywell by birth. Her grandfather was born in Croxton, Cam in 1881. His father James Saywell married Charlotte Sewell. James was the son of James Saywell and Charlotte nee Corn who married in 1834 and Charlotte the daughter of William Sewell and Julia Ann nee Splevins. The Saywell side appears to trace back to John Saywell who married Mary Bird in 1771 in Croxton. We are unsure of the parents of William Sewell; Margaret thinks they are William and Helen nee Hartop although William is given as a Saywell. There are several Saywell and Sewell families coming from Croxton but like Margaret I have had difficulty sorting them out as the two names are often transposed. Many of the names and dates of birth are similar which doesn’t help. With Margaret’s information I shall have to go back and check our records for Croxton.

I have had a few other enquiries; the first of these was from Australian Merv Webster, who described himself as a bush poet and balladeer. He was looking for Joseph Sewell who was transported in 1832 age 25 years. Joseph was tried at Chelmsford for stealing a turkey, having a prior conviction he was sentenced to 14 years transportation to New South Wales. In 1840 Joseph married fellow convict Jean/Jane Whittle who came from Glasgow and had been convicted of house breaking and sentenced to 10 years transportation. Brian Sewell our Essex co-ordinator cannot positively identify Joseph but believes it likely that he is the Joseph who was born in 1808 at Chelmsford, the son of Edward and Frances. Edward Sewell and Frances Lark married at St Mary’s Chelmsford in 1796. Brian has details on Joseph’s family but nothing more on Joseph himself who seems to have disappeared from the Essex records. Being transported might be the answer.

Simon Tosswill read an article from our website written by Adrian Corder-Birch on the Sewells of Halstead. His ancestor was William Alers Hankey whose eldest daughter Mary Hall Alers Hankey married Isaac Sewell as his second wife in 1825 and his eighth child Sarah married Henry Sewell in 1859. Henry was the son of Isaac and his first wife. Simon has a lot of information on the Hankey family and was eager to get in touch with Adrian. Member Glennis Sewell is also descended from this family and has been sent Simon’s details.

Caroline Arthur is researching a Sewell line in Australia, starting with Free Samuel Sewell born in 1829 in Stamford Mdx who married Susan Ellen Newton in 1879 in Albury, NSW. His mother was given as Grace. Caroline asked if I had come across the family. I didn’t have Free Samuel in our records but did have two possible brothers in Henry Dennis Sewell born 1827 and Edwin born 1836 both in Hackney. Henry Dennis’s son born in 1854 Hackney was called Free Henry Sewell. While writing this report I decided to go back and see if I could find more on this family. Eventually in the Ancestry 1841 index under the name Levell I found Free. Looking at the original I am convinced the name is Sewell, with father Robert age 45 a Gardener, wife Elizabeth, and children Robert 15, Henry 14, Free age 12, Emma age 8 and Edwin age 4.

Australian Member Bev Hendy has sent me copies of US Social Security certificates. These can be another useful line of enquiry if you have American ancestors. They give name, date and place of birth, name of mother and father plus address and name and address of employer.

And finally from Louisa Mothersole, a mystery! Louisa was researching her ancestor William Wiard and found his gravestone in Aldeburgh, Sfk. The inscription reads ‘In affectionate remembrance of William Wiard who died February 19th 1890 age 73 years. He was for 27 years faithful steward in the family of the late W.G. Sewell Esq’. Louisa wanted to know if this family was familiar to anyone. In the 1881 census William Wiard was the House and Land Steward living in Eaton House, Aldeburgh. There was no mention of W.G. Sewell. Not knowing who W.G. was I checked a few more censuses for William Wiard and found him in the 1871 census in Teddington, Mdx the farm Bailiff on Sewell’s farm, next door was Sewell’s Lodge with a labourer but again no mention of W. G. Sewell. The farm was not there in either the 1861 or 1881 censuses. So far I can find no positive trace of W.G.Sewell.


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