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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report August 2008

by Diana Kennedy  



We welcome seven new Sewell members to the Sole Society.


The first of these is Peggy Keeley nee Sewell. Peggy initially contacted me last year, and later joined the Sole Society; unfortunately I omitted her from the new members in the April addition, although I mentioned her enquiry in our December issue. Peggy was hoping to find out more about her fatherís eldest brother, Robert Sewell. Robert was a son of Alfred James and Annie nee Boast. Alfred and Annie had nine children over twenty two years. Alfred was descended from William Payne and Roseanna Sewell. A family well documented by member Diana Sewell, and Peggy and Diana have been exchanging correspondence.


Caroline Adamsí maternal grandmother was Nellie Gertrude Sewell born in Brockley, Lnd in 1902. Caroline has traced the line back to the marriage of Nellieís grandparents in 1859, when Richard Sewell married Esther Hall. This shows Richardís father as Joseph, a gentleman. This is where Caroline has come to a halt as she has been unable to find Richard on the 1841 census or Joseph on any census returns. Unfortunately we do not have this family in our records and I have been unable to help Caroline.


Jackie Heale posted a message on our forum site; she is researching her Sewell family from Cumberland. So far Jackie has got back to Jacob Sewell born about 1723, following the line through from her maternal grandmother Minnie Sewell born in 1907 in Carlisle. Jackie is hoping to fill in the gaps.


Sally James from Australia is looking for her English Sewell links and has come to a full stop with William Sewell born 1828 in Long Buckby, Nth. In the 1841 census William is living with a Thomas Sewell but the ages are wrong for father and son. William married Elizabeth Marks, nee Murcott and then moved with his young family to Australia. Our records show William to be the son of John and Martha with two siblings Catherine and Henry. Sally is following these up.


Joy Wilson has Edith Sowell/Sewell as an ancestor. According to various censuses data Edith was born between 1793 and 1801 in Graveley, Cam. The Parish records show that in 1815 she married John Endersby. According to our records we have only one family in Graveley and the records show the surname spelt either as Sowell or Sewell. John Sewell married Sarah Briggs in 1792. The records show John and Sarah had four sons and three daughters, between 1793 and 1808, but no Edith. Joy has also been unable to find a baptism for Edith but said she will have another look through the records.


Other new members to welcome are Stephanie Sewell and Alison Day; I hope to say a little more about their research next time in the next edition.


We have also had several other enquiries. Malcolm Toyes from Belfast is researching his brother in laws maternal Sewell family. Doris Kathleen Sewell was born in Burgh Castle, Sfk about 1902. Malcolm had searched the churchyard at Burgh Castle and found several Sewell gravestones and wondered if there was a connection with Doris. I didnít have a Doris Kathleen in our records although we did have Richard Sewell who married Martha Burns and produced several sons in Burgh Castle. Richardís parents were Charles and Susan nee Haylett. While I was able to find a marriage for Doris Kathleen I was not able to find a birth for her in the GRO. There was however a Dorothy Catherine born 1902 in the area. I suggested Malcolm buy the marriage certificate to find the name of her father. This came back as John Stephen Sewell who was the youngest son of Richard and Martha. Maybe Malcolm will have to take a chance and buy Dorothy Catherineís birth certificate to eliminate or confirm.


Kellie Sewell was looking for help with information she had on George Herbert Sewell born in 1912 in the West Bromwich district. Kellie had found his brother Christopher Gordon Sewell on the Commonwealth War Graves site. Christopher was a member of the RAF Volunteer Service and died in 1942, age 33, his parents were given as John Herbert and Georgina Sewell of Cannock. The GRO gives Christopher Gordon as born in 1918, which would have made him just 23 years when he died and not thirty three. Kellie believed George Herbert was born in Handsworth and with his wife Lily emigrated to Australia as a teacher. George is buried in Papua New Guinea. I also found another brother, Stanley. John Herbert was the son of Charles and Elizabeth and grandson of Thomas and Dinah nee Draper from Lincolnshire.


I wrote about the family of Jonathan Sewell in our December 2007 issue of Soul Search. Jonathanís ancestors were builders living in London and were involved in the building of the Pitt Estate in Kensington in 1844. The builders were three brothers, we believed to be the sons of Edward and Letty nee Hunt, who had five sons in all, christened in Marylebone. Since then Jonathan has continued to keep in touch, updating me on his research. He managed to find a Will of Edward Sewell dated 1828; Edward mentioned his dear wife Letty and also covered every eventuality on the guardianship of his children, including continuing provision for them to continue with their education. It shows the family were living at Lisson Grove in Marylebone. With this information, Jonathan was able to find copies of insurance documents dated 1837/1838 on the a2a.org site. The policy holders were listed as George Edward Sewell (a son), Letty Eales (his wife who had since remarried) and Daniel Hunt (possibly Lettyís father). This backs up the theory that Edward had died before 1836. A copy of the policy shows the policy holders as timber merchants and carpenters and was to cover £800 for buildings, contents insurance, and quite a considerable amount for those days. Covered were Household goods, wearing apparel, printed books, musical instruments, china and glass plus coach house and stables.


Jonathan is now looking at other Sewells in area and their connection. I donít suppose many of us think of looking for insurance documents but it shows how useful they can be. We are sure that Edward was the son of John Sewell of Norfolk. Jonathan found a reference to ĎPoll for the Two Knights of the Western Division of the County of Norfolk 1837í with the register of electors. These include a Francis Sewell living in Lisson Grove. Jonathan then located the Will of one John Sewell, Yeoman of Holkham, Norfolk of 1807. This mentions his sons Francis, Edward and John. As a yeoman he was eligible to vote for the two knights of the shire. Jonathan thinks it was likely that they were involved in the building of Holkham Hall in Norfolk but unfortunately has not found any records to confirm this, although as a carpenter it is likely that he was working on the Hall.


Back in 2005 we printed a copy of a picture in Soul Search, sent to us by Norman Rogers-Jones. Norman had found the picture in a car boot sale in Penrith, Cum. It was painted by a Mary Ann Sewell in 1875 of a bridge Norman thought was in Borrowdale in the Lake District. We were not able to say who Mary Ann Sewell was. Now Pam Baines has sent a message to say that her GG grandmother was Mary Ann Sewell born in 1845 in Northumberland. Pam says that she was an educated woman who lived in Wasdale not far from Borrowdale and regularly walked the fells. Pam believes she may have painted the picture and is hoping to compare signatures.


Longstanding member Maureen Boocock sent me a puzzle I was happy to help with. Maureen was looking for Elizabeth Agnes Sewell her grandmotherís half sister. Maureen knew she was born 15th June 1868 in Middlesborough to George and Isabella Sewell nee Lillystone. Isabella died on 4th November 1868 at Stockton, probably at the home of her parents. Elizabeth Agnes was with her Lillystone grandparents in the 1871 census age two given as Elizabeth Sewell. Her father George then married in Middlesborough as George Catchpole Sewell in 1869. It is known that Georgeís mother was a Sewell and his father was probably William Catchpole. George then dropped the Sewell name and became George Catchpole. Maureen had been unable to find out what happened to Elizabeth, as she never appeared in any of the censuses with her father. Maureen said she had evidence that she was alive in the 1890ís because her grandmother Elizabeth Aldis nee Sewell asked about her in letter to her granddaughters who were in service in London.


I began by looking at the 1871 census that showed Elizabeth with John and Agnes Lillystone in Stockton. Elizabethís surname began with an S but I was unable to read it, I assume this was the enumerators attempt to spell the name Sewell. The 1881 census showed that the Lillystones had returned to Norfolk to the village of Lyng. Elizabeth was given as age 12 born Middlesborough and surname Lillystone. In the 1891 census I found Elizabeth Catchpole age 22 born Middlesborough a housemaid in Rochdale. In 1896 Elizabeth Agnes Catchpole married William Edward Forshaw in Prestwich, Lan and in 1901 is shown as Elizabeth A Forshaw age 32 born Middlesborough in Gorton, Lan. That makes four changes of names, three before she married, plus three different counties. Fortunately all of the names were fairly unusual, and it was much easier with the use of a computer.


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