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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report May 2006

by Diana Kennedy  


This time we welcome four new members to the Sole Society with an interest in the Sewell name. The first of these is Roger Chalk who is hoping there may be some descendents of his Salisbury family in the Sole Society. Rogerís mothers name was Phyllis Muriel Sewell and Roger has traced her line back to John Sewell a weaver, who married Ann Webb in 1661.They lived in the Wilton area of Wiltshire later one branch moved to Whitechapel in London, but most remained in the Salisbury and Southampton area. Roger has sent me a file of copies of his Family Tree, with certificates and Wills and pictures that he has put together.


New member Michelle Rowberry, who is researching on behalf of a friend, initially left a message on our forum site. Michelle wondered if we had any information on the Sewells from Byfields, Nth. Michelle has traced her friendís family back to Henry Sewell who was born about 1828 in Byfield. Henry Sewell married Eliza Cox and together they had seven children. One of these was Joseph Henry born in 1868 in Leamington Hastings who married Mary Ann Bertha Bostock. The youngest of their three children was George William, Michelleís friendís father. Ruth Pringle who co-ordinates the Northamptonshire Sewells found Michelleís information filled in a few gaps in her records but also found some more information for Michelle. Ruth originally thought that Henry Sewell born 1775 the grandfather of Henry born 1829 had come from Chacombe but now realised he had come from Byfield. She found a large family extending into Warwickshire and later to Lancashire during the Agricultural Depression where they worked in the Cotton Mills. Their descendants then moved to Australia. Ruth found that the father of Henry was Thomas Sewell who had several interesting careers, one as a postman and later as a butcher. Ruth has sent Michelle a copy of a photo she had of the gravestone of Thomas Sewell in Byfield. It read In affectionate memory of Thomas Sewell who died 13th August 1838. Aged 63 years.


Our third new member is Neville Sewell, who has only recently started to research his Sewell name. Neville said his grandfather was Charles Bertie Sewell, who married Jane Kelsey in 1908 at Send near Woking, Surrey. Charles and Jane had eleven children. The marriage certificate gives the father of Charles Bertie as Percy Edward May Sewell, a pensioner. Neville didnít know where the name May had come from. I found two marriages for Percy May Sewell, in 1865 in Lambeth and 1870 in Woolwich. In the IGI there is a Percy baptised in 1835 at the Old Meeting House, Halstead, Essex. His parents were given as Decimus and Karen Amelia Sewell nee May. It seems likely that this is Nevilleís Percy Edward May. In the 1861 census Percy born Halstead aged 25 is living in Hackney with wife Bessy and family. The 1865 and 1870 marriages are possibly second and third marriages for Percy.


John Rees is our fourth new member, John can trace his family back to Coventry when Henry Sewell or Shewell, born 1544, married Matilda Horne. One of their sons Henry went to America. John has his own website on www.sewellgenealogy.com where he shows both his English and American ancestors. John is interested in the Manchester and Black Country Sewells who did not go to America.


Among the enquiries we have received was one from James Shewell, who has been tracing his family back for a while. His grandfather was Francis William Shewell who came from Derby. He later moved to Birmingham where he married and had six children.  In this case the spelling has remained as Shewell and not become Sewell.


Debbie Blanzy wrote to say that her great grandmother was Alice Clara Sewell born about 1879 in Eltisley, Cambridgeshire. We had Alice Clara in our records as one of the nine children of Alfred and Ada nee Haynes. Debbie sent me what information she had and I was also able to fill in a few gaps in our records but also take Debbie back three more generations.


Lorraine Key from Australia asked if we were researching the family of Elvina Sewell whose parents were Mark Sewell and Florinda nee Yeomans. Elvina married John Howes in 1851 in Caston, Norfolk and they went to Australia in 1857. Member Sharon Cunningham is also descended from this family and so I was able to put them in touch. One continuing mystery is where Mark came from.


Member Ian Sewell sent Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell more Essex parish extracts that he had found. One in particular intrigued Brian. It was for the marriage in Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, of Arthur Sewell in 1877 to Elizabeth Sewell. Brian was interested to see spouses marrying with the same surname but could not place either person with any family in Great Baddow. However, there aren't many Arthur Sewells in Essex and it didn't take him too long before he found Arthur in an existing tree, baptized in Rayleigh, in 1848, father David, which matched the Great Baddow marriage. Brian already had Arthur as married to Eliza[beth] but didn't know her maiden name. The 1881 census showing she was born in Billericay. The Great Baddow entry gave her father as Joseph. Brian then found her in another tree, which he found interesting as it not only linked the two trees together but also meant that three Sole Society members are involved; Irene Evans, Adam Sewell, and Brian himself. Adam is directly descended from Joseph Sewell. Brian has several Rayleigh based trees, nearly all of them starting at the beginning of the 1800s and wonders where they came from before that and if the two families already knew each other.


Of the other Rayleigh trees, in early 2004, Brian had been in correspondence with ex-member Maureen Manning and as some of Ian's latest additions related to her tree, he contacted her with the information. Maureen had been making enquiries through Genes Reunited re her gt-grandmother's brother who had gone to South Africa but she could find no trace of the family there. An Australian man contacted her just before Christmas who is a grandson of that brother and he was able to add a lot more to the tree. It seems Maureen was looking in the wrong country as they had moved from South Africa to New Zealand and then Australia. Maureen also believes her tree is linked to the other Rayleigh tree mentioned above, Brian is hoping she will be able provide the basis for this view. One of Maureenís ancestors, Doris Sewell, b.1919, was "strangled by her husband who claimed it was a mercy killing but was still convicted"!


Another enquiry for Brian came from Peter Gamble & his sister Bridget Chappelle, whose gt-grandfather was Wilfred Sewell [1862-1936], born in Clerkenwell but whose father, John Sewell, came from Felstead, Essex. Brian was able to provide quite a lot of information but Peter & Bridget also supplied some well supported new details which have resulted in Brian being able to join several trees together. Brian says that it is quite clear that there is some way to go yet, although he has 149 entries already, including the previously separate Felstead tree of member William de B Murphy. Brian has put them in contact with each other. So far they have gone back to c.1730.


Member Prue Webster was interested in the article in Soul Search (Dec 2005) by Amy Arbuckle on ĎChanging Namesí. Prue was searching for Thomas Gustavus Sewell in the 1881 census, she eventually found him under SCOVILL. Prue also came across a different problem searching for Arthur John Sewell in Nottingham. She found two listed, one aged 35 and the other 25years. Prueís Arthur John would have been about 25years, however the occupation didnít fit but the 35years old did. Both were listed as boarders, and Prue found one had married in 1881 and the other in 1884. Only by obtaining both marriage certificates was Prue able to sort them out. Her Arthur John had been listed in the census as ten years older than he was. In the 1901 census Arthurís wife was staying with her mother and was listed as SAWELL. Having done the research, Prue could not find a link between the two Arthur Johnís but has sent me the details for our records.


Following John Saulís article in December Soul Search on cricketers, I heard from member Edna Pritchard. Ednaís ancestors were the father and son cricketers both named Thomas Sewell. Also a cricketer was Ednaís x2 great grandfather William Humphrey Sewell who played for Surrey. Edna has been researching the calico printers of Mitcham, Surrey as both of the Thomasís and William Humphrey were calico printers. Edna found that originally the printers were of Huguenots descent who settled in the Wandle Valley in Mitcham. She found they worked in crude huts, applying the dye by blocks onto the calico, which was laid out on the grass to dry. The dye was placed in baths and wheeled along in a trolley. Edna also sent me a copy of the research she has done on another family of Calico Printers, the Aspreys. William Asprey married Ann Sewell, the daughter of Edward Sewell, in 1782. It was rather a co-incidence but a week before I received Ednaís letter I had a message from Carol Montgomery. Carol had picked up from our website my report in April 2002 Soul Search on the Asprey family and was interested as she had found a connection to her family and the Aspreys, and wanted to get in touch. I had mentioned that Yvonne Foster was descended from the marriage of Ann and William. I was therefore able to put Carol in touch with Yvonne and also Edna. So our website is not only useful for finding Sewell ancestors but also other names.


Member Pam Rose offered to help out with the West Country records and decided to start with Devon. The first family she found was Joshua Sewell who married Elizabeth Catherine Pinwell in 1820 in Paignton. They had four children all baptised in the Independent church Paignton. Two of these were Anna Lincolne Sewell and Abraham Lincolne Sewell. Pam went onto find them in the 1851 census. Elizabeth was now a widow living in Brixton, London with three daughters, the last two showed they had been born in Essex. Pam wanted to know if they should be recorded in the Essex records. However the Lincolne names struck a chord in my memory and sent me searching through my records. Eventually I found a Batholomew Sewell who had married Anne Lincolne in Norwich, of their many children there was Joshua, baptised in 1795 at the Old Meeting House Norwich. In the 1841 census, Joshua was a Dissenting Minister. It seems that this branch, of a family with Norfolk roots back to the 1620ís, moved in the space of about 30years from Norfolk to Devon to Essex and then to London.


Finally Canadian member Judy Wright would like to know if anyone has heard of an actress by the name of Sylvia Irene Juanita Sewell, born in 1904.


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