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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report August 2005

by Diana Kennedy  


Once again it has been a busy time and we welcome five new members researching the Sewell name.


The ancestors of Derek Williams came from Lambeth. Derek has had quite a job sorting out his great grandmother Lilian Mary Sewell who was born in 1881 in Lambeth. Derek has not been able to trace a marriage for Lilian, but knows that she had four children. The father of all four children was given as, Christopher Thomas Williams and the mother as Lilian Mary Williams, formerly Sewell. Derek knows that she later moved in with a Charles Thatcher. Rumour has it that Lilian Mary died in a sanatorium during Zeppelin air raids over London during the First World War. However Derek has found evidence that Lilian married Charles James Williams in 1914 and died in 1917. In 1917 her brother William Walter Sewell and Charles Thatcher placed Lilian Mary’s children into care. More straightforward are the parents of Lilian Mary and William Walter, William Henry Sewell born 1853 City of London and Mary née Lees.  William Henry was the son of Henry Sewell a merchant’s clerk. Acting on information from a professional researcher the William Henry Sewell that Derek believed was his great grandfather, was the son of a sugar merchant who died in 1864 at Gosforth Cumberland. Looking through the Sewell CD Derek has now found the correct William Henry, born around 1853 in Blackfriars.


Kevin Dodson is researching the Worksop, Blyth areas of Nottinghamshire as well as Lincolnshire and Kingston upon Hull, related to the same family that can be read about in Distressing Suicide at Blyth in Soul Search April 1998 by Margaret Doubell


The great grandfather of William de B Murphy was Richard Francis Murphy who married Harriet Celia Prior in May 1862 in Bethnal Green. She gave her father’s name as William Shanke Prior, a custom house officer. Her mother was Hannah Prior. William Shanke Prior married Hannah Sewell in Great Yarmouth in April 1812.  From our records we found Hannah was the daughter of Thomas Sewell and Ann née Bacchus. Hannah was baptised January 1792 in Felstead Essex. Thomas and Ann later moved to Norfolk where their last two children were born.


Betty Siede has been researching her family and has been in contact with member Peter Foreman for a number of years. Betty’s family are connected to the Sewell/Larter family that dates from the marriage of Aaron Sewell to Lorina Larter in 1816 at Bacton, Norfolk. Following a recent mention of the Sewell/Larter connection in my report of December 2004, Betty sent me copies of her research into the families. She requested they be sent onto member Chris Caton and enquirer Malcolm Larter who are both descended from this family. While I had the Sewell side in our records I am sure Malcolm and Chris welcomed the additional information on the Larter family.


Our last new member is Dave Sewell who lives in Jersey. At the time of writing my report, Dave had only just joined and so I only know that he has previously corresponded member Ian Sewell about his Essex family.


As well as receiving several interesting pieces of information that been added to our Sewell records, our county co-ordinators have as usual also been busy. Midlands co-ordinator Mike Hines has finished entering Nottinghamshire data and compiling family trees. Northamptonshire co-ordinator Ruth Pringle has been helping Australian enquirer Bram Taylor and exchanging information. Bram is researching his Charcombe ancestors and is hoping to write an article for Soul Search. Ruth has also been in touch with Denise Howes who also researches Northants area. Ruth thinks that there is a link between the Northants villages such as Charcombe and Byfield Sewell families, and Bram, Denise and her own families.


Australian member Bev Hendy has been helping fellow member Philip Lloyd with his Australian ancestors. Bev has also located the death certificate of one of her ancestors Sarah Sewell the mother of Russell. It seems that Sarah died 27 November 1845 at Woodbridge Suffolk aged 83 but was buried 2 Dec 1845 at Sproughton, All Saints where other members of her family were buried.


The Sole Society research co-ordinator Tony Storey spotted two Sewell entries in ‘Who’s Who in Essex’. This sparked off much correspondence with Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell. The first was James Sewell JP a nurseryman, who was born in 1873 in Waltham Abbey, Essex but Brian found his father James was born in Watford, Herts we therefore were able to correctly code this family. The second entry was William Sewell JP who was born in 1851 in Greenwich, Kent, the son of Thomas Charles Sewell, born in Limehouse, Middlesex and grandson of Samuel Sewell born 1780. Thomas Charles was a wine merchant who had moved to Essex following the birth of his second child. Brian had part of this family in his Essex files and I had half in the Kent/Middlesex files. Once again we were able to combine the two families into one, using Tony’s information.


Following Tony Storey’s article on the City of London A Walk in the City, Soul Search December 2004, I heard from Neil Wholey. Neil is writing a short biography of Jonathan Wholey who was in business with William Sewell. They were trading as grocers in the city under the name of Wholey and Sewell. Later the business became Sewell and Nash. Neil was looking for further information on the business partnership, could I help? One possibility is that William was the son of William Sewell and Hannah Maria née Fuller. William, born in 1786 in Yarmouth, was an uncle of Anna Sewell who wrote Black Beauty. From the 1851 census we know that William Sewell, born Yarmouth, was aged 64, and living in Hackney and his occupation was Wholesale Grocer. His sister Sarah married Thomas Nash in 1815.


Member Amy Arbuckle has after much searching had some positive information regarding her great grandfather William Bilbrough Sewell. She found him in the 1861 census aged 22years as a footman in Yorkshire. However in the 1871 census they are listed under the name Sowell, with William Billeward Sowell as head. Amy said that in the original entry it is clearly Sewell. Under the 1881 census he is listed as William Savell in Devon. She said that once again the original entry is clearly Sewell. However she has been less lucky in the 1891 and 1901 census.


Two members sent information on Norfolk. Brenda Ord visited Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk, and sent me Sewell details from the Parish Records; you can read about her visit in Soul Search. From the information Brenda sent I was able to add details to the records as well as confirming other records. The latest information received from Diana Sewell were several entries from Norfolk censuses, in particular the 1871, again confirming and adding to our records. Diana is interested in the Hardingham area of Norfolk.


Trevor Wright is descended from Blundeston, Suffolk, Sewell family, that of John and Lydia Sewell. Trevor had been to Blundeston and discovered Sewell gravestones in the churchyard. We were able to exchange information on this family. John born Beccles married Lydia Brown in Blundeston in 1798. They had twelve children born between 1799 and 1818 all in Blundeston. There is only one other family in our records in Blundeston, that of George born in 1807 in Blundeston. It seems likely that George was also the son of John and Lydia, although there is no evidence to confirm this.


Rick Sewell who corresponded with me a couple of years back got in touch recently to give an update on his Hertfordshire family. He had read my report on member Helen Kifford who shares this same family. I had been trying to get in touch with Rick for Helen without success as Rick had changed his e-mail address. Hopefully they have now been in contact with each other.


Member Sarah Hay has offered to help with some of the Cambridge Sewell’s, even though her main area of Sewell research is Essex. Sarah has been visiting churchyards looking for Sewell’s and has found several burials. She was also given details of an Eltisley family by a friend of her husband, that of Richard and Helen Sewell and their four children. Richard Sewell was born 1871 in Eltisley, Cambridgeshire. Using the information I was able to check the 1891 census and found seven more siblings for Richard Patrick plus his parents Alfred and Ada. They were not on our existing records, and as yet I have not found the parents of Alfred.


Wallace Ross has traced his Sewell family back to Robert Sewell baptised 1806 at Moore Dyke, Dalston, Robert was a farmer and Wallace believed that his mother Jane outlived her son, dying at the age of 96years. Wallace wanted to know if we could help with Robert’s parents and in particular his father. Cumbria co-ordinator Eric Sewell found Robert aged 44years and his family including his mother in the 1851 census, and also as a farmer in the 1829 and 1847 Cumberland and West Directories. Eric found in the IGI an entry for Robert baptised 20 July 1806, mother Jane Sewell, no father given. Eric thought it possible that Robert was baptised with his mother’s surname, most probably because she was unmarried, and found a possible entry for the baptism of Jane in December 1773 in Dalston, the daughter of John Sewell and his wife Anne. If this is the case then this matches the family of John Sewell who married Ann Rayson and had ten children. Eric was also able to tell Wallace that four years ago he was in correspondence with James D. Emmerson, a descendant of Thomas another son of John and Ann. He had also been given a Memorial Inscription at Dalston that read Robert Sewell of Moordyke died 3 Apr 1855 aged 49 also John Infant son of above died 26 Dec 1836 aged 1 week also James Sewell died 17 Mar 1858 aged 9. Another son of Robert, John emigrated to New Zealand.


Member Sam Allen has offered to help with the 1871 census for London. Sam has an interesting family website, which can be seen at www.jessicaallen.co.uk


James Harrison was browsing the internet recently when he came across our website and read in the Soul Search April 2005 co-ordinators report my request for information on Sewell magicians, in particular Ernest Sewell. James says that his grandfather was Ernest Sewell who was a magician and entrepreneur. He says his Magic Set manufacturing business still runs today, manufacturing kites and other outdoor products. I am hoping to hear more from James on Ernest’s family.


As usual we have had a number of queries some of which we have been able to answer but maybe you can help with some of them. Sharon Cunningham asked for help with finding information on her great grandfather Robert Sewell. Robert was born in West Dereham, Norfolk about 1833 and died in 1901 in Rockwood, Canada. Sharon knows that he was a Crimean war veteran, but had discovered a R.M Sewell listed in 1855 in the Bengal 71st Regiment and wondered if there was a connection. I contacted member Judy Wright who I knew had researched Indian records and she was able to confirm that R.M Sewell was Richard Manual Sewell and was her ancestor and not connected to Sharon’s Robert. Judy has made a few suggestions for Sharon to research. However Sharon is still stuck looking for Robert’s father Mark Sewell.


David Iredale is looking for his great grandmother Elizabeth Ann Sewell born about 1860 in Carlisle or Low Hesket. She married John Holliday Birrell in 1878 in Carlisle, giving her father’s name as William Sewell. Eric Sewell our Cumbria co-ordinator has so far been unable to help David.


Member Sandie Willoughby is still looking for the whereabouts of Louisa Sewell. Louisa was the daughter of Thomas Sewell and married Thomas Wright in 1851 at St Mary Newington.


Paul from Australia asked if we could help, his wife is the daughter of Eveline May Sewell. Eveline was one of 21 children, 5 sets of twins. They were born between 1914 and 1936, the children of Robert Sewell and Edith née McConnell. Robert was the son of Thomas born Yarmouth aged 37 and Sarah A Sewell of Hull. Thomas had been married before as in 1881 he was a widower and a boatswain on the ship SS Renaldo at Kingston upon Hull. However I have been unable to locate either record of Thomas’s marriages. In 1871 Thomas appears to have been living with his grandmother Harriet and brother John. Paul has sent a delightful photo of a family of Sewells who came out from Norfolk to Australia in the early 1800’s. photo


Chris Bartlett and I exchanged information some time ago. Elizabeth Sewell married Thomas Lemon in 1784 in Chatteris, Cambridge. Chris has now found that the Lemon family came from Swardeston in Norfolk and believes that Elizabeth is the daughter of Joseph Sewell and Anne née Moore of Ketteringham, Norfolk. If this is the case then our records trace this family back to the marriage of Richard Sewell and Mirabel in 1617 in Redenhall, Norfolk. Much of these family records came from a book titled East Anglian Pedigrees, it included ‘The Sewell’s of Wymondham’. It will be interesting if Chris can find a link between Norfolk and Cambridge families. John Sewell a possible brother of Elizabeth inherited an inn from Thomas Lemon.


Grant Crowley in New Zealand was keen to know more about James Sewell and his son William James. William emigrated to NZ in the 1850’s on the ship Hanover with his wife Emma and their 7yr old son Edward William, Grant’s great grandfather. James was an Innkeeper in London and died in 1854. Grant thought James came from the Lambeth area of London and might be the James Sewell who married Caroline North in October 1821 at St Mary Newington. A son William was christened at St Mary’s in January 1828. However our records show that James and Caroline’s son William was not born until 1834, confirmed by the 1841 and 1851 census data. This is part of the family of member Tony Foster who has done a lot of research into this family. According to the census data and Will information supplied by Tony, James was a cordwainer in 1841 and a lamplighter in 1851, no innkeepers mentioned. To date we are not sure if this is the correct family of Grants


There was over fifty percent response to the survey carried out by the Sole Society from Sewell researchers. It was great to hear from members who had not been in contact for some time and update the records with their information. There were no surprises for the most researched counties, Essex and Cumbria. Soul Search, the website and the CD came in for a lot of praise. There were also suggestions for addition material to add to the CD and we will be looking at these areas to see how we can increase our records. I hope we will be able to bring out a more up to date CD in the future, groans from Tim and Tony who worked so hard to bring out the originals!


There were some suggestions for the Annual Gathering and I would be pleased to hear from members any questions or queries they would like to raise that can be discussed in the group sessions. Also the kind of material they would like to see brought along for display. I have been discussing with fellow committee member Ian Sewell how we can display some family trees, which can run over many pages. If you do have any items of interest or family trees you can bring along they will be very welcome and of interest to other members. If you are unable to attend and would like ask questions or to send me material I would be happy to receive it for display.


Many members said they would be happy to help, and we will be looking at ways of help with adding to our records. But even help by sending in any Sewell information they came across is very welcome. These are always added to our records and often it can be the key to merging trees. So whatever Sewell information you come across don’t hesitate to send it in. It is always better to receive duplicate information than miss a link.


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