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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report - July 2000

By Tony Storey

My impression is that it’s been a fairly quiet few months since the last journal with relatively few Sewell enquiries. Even so, we have dealt with some interesting letters and emails and picked up one or two new members on the way.

Diana Kennedy is continuing to add to the Norfolk and Suffolk charts and has been able to help new member Sheila Saunders with her family tree, specifically John Sewell who married Rhoda Draper in Bury St Edmunds in 1811. Perhaps any Sewell member with East Anglian connections would like to forward details to Diana as she may now be in a position to help and would certainly wish to add the family to her database.

Brian Sewell has his hands full dealing with Essex and asks me to thank Sole Society member Adrian Corder-Birch and Essex FHS member Isabel Wilson for their invaluable assistance.

Brothers John and George Sewell emigrated to Western Australia but the family seems to originate from the Castle Hedingham and Halstead area. Tales abound of an elopement to Gretna Green and links to the famous Courtauld family of Spitalfields so expect to hear more in due course.

Mrs Henrietta Howe has discovered a little more about James and Maria Sewell of Stock, Essex, James apparently being Brian’s great great uncle. Thanks in this case are due to Sarah Hay for her help.

And now a rare failure. We have been unable to help Richard Smith who is searching for Parnell Sewell who married William Sadler in Little Horkesley around 1663. It’s tempting to suspect a spelling mistake but they had a daughter who was also named Parnell. Has any member come across this unusual first name?

Eric Sewell seems to handle more enquiries than most, dealing as he does with the northern counties where the name probably originates. Making extensive use of the nineteenth century censuses Eric has been able to help Sharon Bagnall, Vonnie Galusha and Joan Gaskin and comments on how useful the GRO indexes are now that they are becoming available.

Tony Sewells has identified two Sewell concentrations in Sussex. Between Littlehampton and Worthing lie the villages of Ferring and Goring, which was a hotbed of Sewells from 1550 to around 1720 when they seem to vanish. Then in 1770 Sewells appear in Pagham, near Chichester and it is from this family that Tony has traced his descent. Otherwise, sightings are sporadic and seemingly unconnected so if any Sewell member has Sussex roots please contact Tony with details so he can complete the picture.

To summarise, the Sewells can certainly feel very pleased with what has been achieved in the last year or two:

Not only is the journal bursting with Sewell material,

not only has a research base of IGI and GRO data been established,

not only are Sewell charts beginning to appear for most UK counties,

not only do we have co-ordinators in place dealing with the enquiries from potential new members,

but most important of all, we are working as a team, exchanging knowledge, sharing expertise, creating a master index and generally helping each other.

To me, this is what belonging to a family history society is all about.

Return to The Sole Society Home Page