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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report December 2002

by Diana Kennedy  

It was very nice to see quite a few members with a Sewell interest at the Societies Annual Gathering and to put faces to names. We all enjoyed an interesting and informative day.

Since I wrote my last report in July it has been quite a busy time with enquiries and information coming in. I heard from Paul Oldfield who is writing a book on Victoria Crosses won on the Western Front in the First World War. He had come across Harold Cecil Sewell who won a VC posthumously on the Somme, and thought we might be interested. I found that co-ordinator Mike Sewell had already come across the same information and had written an article for Soul Search. However this did set me off researching the family of Harold Cecil, where I found a quite remarkable family. I just wish I had more time to research this family, as I am sure there is a lot more to find.

Saul Member Edie Robinson came across the Sewell name while touring a museum in Taunton, Joseph Neal Sewell, the Lincolnshire giant. Once again Mike Sewell had given us information on Joseph Neal Sewell in the July 1999 Soul Search. Edie’s find however tells us what happen after the death of the giant. Both Harold Cecil and Joseph Neal Sewell’s stories can be found in this Journal.

We welcome two new Sewell members to the Sole Society, Irene Evans and Sarah Hay who both have an interest in Essex. I have mentioned Irene before but I do have an update on her family from Brian Sewell that I will talk about later. Sarah has been corresponding with Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell since 1999. She is descended from James Sewell born 1836 in Great Baddow. From the 1851 census Sarah found James’s father was also a James born 1802 in Writtle. Sarah is currently trying to find her grandfathers Army records. Meanwhile she has done a lot of scrambling over gravestones in Essex churches and has provided Brian with several Sewell parish record entries in the Billericay area.

I have received several pieces of information from Society members relating to the Sewell name. Fred Sole who keeps his eyes open for snippets of information found a list of Sewell Hearth Tax records from Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. Robert Saywell sent in more information from Cambridge with a list of Croxton marriages from the Parish Records. It would be nice to find a co-ordinator for the county of Cambridgeshire willing to put all this information together.

Sole member Mrs A Merritt sent more snippets from Coventry. This time she found Alderman Henry Sewall who had written to the Mayor of London in 1611 regarding the Princes visit. Mrs Merritt says that there is a Sewall Highway in Coventry and wonders if it was named after Henry. Mrs M Loake gave me a list of early Wills she found at Northants record office. Thank you for all the information you send in, please keep on sending it. I also hope that when we are researching the Sewell name we keep a look out for the other names researched by our Society.

Feedback from my last report came from member Tracie Sargent who believes her family is descended from the family of Anna Sewell (Black Beauty fame). One possible connection is her GG Grandfather John Sewell who was born in Darlington. Member Peter Foreman, who has a lot of information on Anna’s family, sent me a letter giving Tracie a possible Darlington connection with Anna’s family. Walter Sewell of Darlington attended the funeral of Anna’s cousins, Catherine and Mary and is listed in her Will as a nephew. Tracie will be following this up. Peter goes on to say that Edward Fuller Sewell also a cousin of Anna’s once owned Glendale House in Goathland, near Whitby, Yorkshire. It is now a guesthouse and was used in the TV series Heartbeat.

Member Thelma Cannon gave me information for Andy Wheatley who was looking for a Sewell owning a Florist and or Greengrocers shop in Plaistow. Thelma, who came from the area doesn’t remember a Sewell Florist in Plaistow. Although she does remembers a Florist at 165 Plaistow Road, London E15, owned by Sewell’s. She also remembers her father saying that a Sewell married a Carr and lived in Plaistow, they ran a greengrocers stall in Queens Road Market, Upton Park. I have passed the information on to Andy who is following it up. Thelma is still looking for information on William Ambrose Sewell and his father John. She has found William Ambrose on the 1891 census in Plaistow, birthplace given as Southwark, born about 1831. Thelma wonders if anyone else is researching this branch.

In the April edition of Soul Search I mentioned the name Zuill, which appeared to originate from the north. I recently heard from Doreen Mercer who found my report on our website. Her maiden name was Zuill and she came from Lancashire. Doreen says that the only other people she knows with the surname Zuill are related to her. So far there is no definite connection to the name Sewell.

New enquiries include David Burrell of Lincoln who is trying to sort out his family tree from family papers and the bible. He is looking for Ann Sewell born 1838, Ann married Henry Burrell 3rd March 1870. Co-ordinator Mike Sewell found some GRO references for David to try and gave him addresses of various Record Offices that may be able to help David.

Margaret Johnson has a record of a Sarah Sewell born 1820 in Leeds, she married Margaret’s GG Grandfather, John Sykes, a Police Inspector, about 1850 and in the 1881 census is aged 61 living at Holbeck, Leeds. Family gossip says that Sarah’s father was Robert Sewell. Co-ordinator Mike Sewell could not find Sarah Sewell baptised in Holbeck, or baptismal records elsewhere in Yorkshire. The only record he could find was a Sarah baptised 1820 daughter of Robert and Mary in Culgaith, Cumberland. Mike could find nothing in the Yorkshire area for Sarah’s marriage to John Sykes.

Recently joined member Julie Betteridge has sent her family tree, which originates in Lincolnshire. Julie says that she has only just started but already she has done a lot of work. Her Great Grandfather Thomas Sewell she thinks was born about 1835 in Lound, Lincolnshire; his father was John Sewell who Julie has yet to find. Hopefully Mike will be able to help Julie.

Margaret Anderson, from British Columbia saw our entry for the Sole Society in the Family Tree Magazine. She is researching her father’s line, and has found Anthony Shuell or Sewall, who she believes married Helen Bryce in 1788 in Alloa. Margaret thinks his father may have been Robert. Anthony was a ‘nailor’ and Margaret understands that ironworkers were brought into the area. Co-ordinator Eric Sewell agrees that the Sewell name is uncommon in Scotland and most came from south of the border or possible by sea and Margaret should look at other areas, for Anthony. Margaret has since sent me a list of Alloa Sewell’s to add to our records.

Maureen Manning is trying to trace her Family Tree but does not know where it originates. Her Great Grandmother Clara Maude Mary Sewell born 1867 was christened at St Pancras, London, and her parents were George Sewell and Mary Ann Harrison. Clara married George Alfred Hitches at Greenwich in 1895. Maureen also believed Clara had a sister Ada. I was able to find the GRO reference for Clara Maude Mary and possibly the marriage GRO reference and suggested that Maureen purchase these to confirm the details. I found the family in the 1881 census at Greenwich, alongside Clara was sister Ada and brother George. The birthplace of their father George was given as Shoeburyness, Essex. Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell had a look at his Essex records but was unable to find George in the 1861 census for Shoeburyness. It is possible that George had already left the area. Brian did give Maureen a GRO reference for the birth of George.

Brian Sewell has been able to make several connections with his Essex trees, with help from member Ian Sewell who has been transcribing Parish Records. Brian also took a few days ‘holiday’ in Essex and visited the Essex Record Office, this enabled him to update his information on Ramsden Bellhouse, Billericay and Mountnessing, providing him with a minor breakthrough and a surprise with his own family. Brian’s, plus members Irene Evans and Ron Edwards are all descended from GG grandfather James Sewell born about 1801/2 and baptised Billericay. The IGI gave James’s parents as Philip and Susannah nee Cracknell married in Mountnessing, 1793. It also listed a Mark Sewell marrying Ann Cox in 1792, then marrying Phoebe Cracknell in 1897.

Brian wondered whether Philip and Mark Sewell and Susannah and Phoebe Cracknell were related. The Mountnessing records showed a possible link with Philip a witness at Mark’s first marriage. Brian then found Mark and Phoebe also had a son James, born in 1801, with Philip and Susannah’s James born 1802. Mark’s family lived in Mountnessing and Philip’s in neighbouring Buttsbury. However the censuses had shown that Brian’s GG grandfather James came from Buttsbury, making Mark, Brian, Irene and Ron’s 3x Great Grandfather Mark rather then Philip.

David Howden from Norway is researching his Norfolk Sewell family. His GG Grandmother Helga was born in Norway in 1844. David has traced his line back to Robert Sewell born 1635 at ‘Stanfield Hall’, Norfolk. This family was familiar to me as it contains the unusual male name of Clare or Cleer, a name used in several generations. The family was also documented in a book entitled East Anglian Pedigrees. David says that his 4x Great Grandfather Benjamin Sewell (1774-1849) gave many of his ‘belongings’ to the British Museum.

In the Norfolk FHS journal I found Charles Hawker asking for help regarding Daniel Lewell and Elizabeth Gallop, who married about 1800, possibly at Hempnall. I have in the Norfolk records a Daniel Sewell and Elizabeth Yallop marrying 1790 at Oulton in Suffolk, and wrote to Charles. Daniel according to my records was born in Hempnall, as was his son also Daniel. Charles spent a disappointing 2½ days at Norfolk Record Office looking at Parish records and was unable to find a marriage for either Daniel Sewell or Daniel Lewell. So we still don’t know the correct spelling. From the Norfolk FHS I recently purchased a CD of 1810-1838 Norfolk marriages. This has provided many extra names and dates for my records that I am slowly working through.

During a recent short trip to Suffolk, my husband and I decided to visit a few villages and churches. One church we visited was at Eye, which unfortunately (or fortunately) had an art exhibition inside and we were not able to take a close look. However coming outside we made for the churchyard and the first eleven gravestones we came across were all of a Sewell family. Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring the camera but I did have a paper and pencil so was able to make a note of the names. The first was that of Daniel Sewell who died March 6th 1805 age 56, the second that of Mary Sewell wife of Daniel died 2nd March 1811. The others were the sons and daughters of Daniel and Mary, together with their date of death and ages. Of the eleven only two were unreadable, a rare find.

For sometime in my Suffolk records I have been wondering about the name of the father of a family I first came across in the 1851 census for Leiston. It gave Rebecca as a widow, occupation Shopkeeper, together with six children born between 1841 and 1849. I had added information from several successive censuses and from other sources, including the fact that two of the children moved to Kingston in Surrey, near where I live. I decided to buy a birth certificate for one of the children and found the father’s name was James, a farmer. The only James I could find who died in 1849 was the son of John, a brother of my 3x Great Grandfather Dan Sewell. Both Dan and John were born at nearby Kelsale in Suffolk. James and Rebecca had married in Leiston in 1839, in the 1841 census they were living with the parents of James at Knodishall. James died of accidental gunshot wounds to the stomach in 1849 at Knodishall.

Other enquiries include one from June Harvey who found F M A Sewell had witnessed the marriage of her mother Georgina Winifred Hayden in Wandsworth in 1825. Despite searching the GRO I have drawn a blank. I suspect that Sewell is the married name of F M A.

Dalene Gawith is looking for information on William Henry Sewell born 18th November 1829, in Buckinghamshire. William was said to be the youngest of ten or eleven children. He left England as a stowaway on a ship about 1843 bound for Connecticut and married Ann Tilson in Newark, Ohio in 1852. Despite his sisters going out to America to persuade him to come home, he never did. Dalene believes Williams’s parents were from Lancashire. I found a reference on the IGI for a William born 1825 in West Wycombe plus five sisters, born to William and Mary Sewell, but nothing for a William born in 1829.

Eileen Crisp Prineas had a Bible with Sewell names and wanted to know more. Her grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Sewell who married William Hoskins; she was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, in 1876. Also Jonah born ?1841 who married Mary Eliza Thomas in 1867. Eileen thought that Jonah’s father might be Moses. I was able to find the appropriate GRO's and the death of a Moses in 1851 all in Whitehaven. I was also able to find Jonah and his family in the 1881 census in Whitehaven, which included Mary Elizabeth and two older brothers, one by the name Moses.

Susan Hedeen is descended from Timothy Sewell and his second wife Bridget Lyndsey who married 30th June 1735 at Mendon, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, through their son Joseph. Susan found a box of family archive material, which included a biography of her grandfather Luman Algernon Sewell published in 1905. This suggested that his Sewell’s emigrated from Ireland to the colonies. Susan would like to hear from anyone who maybe searching this line.

We are getting lots of information, which hopefully we will be able to piece together, maybe not now but in the future. As this Journal goes out the beginning of December I hope it is not too early to wish all of our members a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year when you find that elusive ancestor.

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