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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report December 2004

by Diana Kennedy  


We welcome three new members to the Sole Society with an interest in the Sewell name, Nathan Sewell, Vicky Baker and Robert Sewell. Nathan enquired how did I pronounced Sewell. He had heard it pronounced in a variety of ways, as we all have. Was it SU-UL, SOOL, SEE-WELL. There doesn’t seem to be a single right way to pronounce the name and depends on regional accents.


I came away from the October Annual Gathering with a stack of information from members attending. During the name group discussion times it was agreed on the importance of collecting every scrap of information. If they are sent to me I will forward them to the appropriate co-ordinator or if there isn’t one for the area I add it to my files for future reference. Ruth Pringle who co-ordinates Northamptonshire gave me an impressive file on all the work she has done for the Society in the area. I hadn’t thought of it before as an area with many Sewells. It just shows that once you start how many you can find.


Philip Lloyd who researches the Sole name as well as Sewell in Manchester, gave me a copy of a Souvenir of the Wesleyan Chapel in Manchester and Sunday School in Hulme. John Sewell was admitted as a scholar in 1812 and progressed as a teacher, librarian and conductor, until January 1876 when he was made a supernumerary conductor. John died in 1886 and it was said that he would be remembered for the through manner in which he did everything he put his hand to. He was also insistent on discipline and it goes on to say that on more than one occasion the ‘features of an unruly scholar bore the mark of this’. I am not quite sure what marks they are referring to, one can only guess! A brother of John was James Sewell a cashier at the Branch Bank in Manchester.


John Slaughter, Saul co-ordinator, gave me copies of missing baptisms from Banningham, Norfolk. It was thought the records had been lost, but apparently they had been in private hands and only recently were given into the Norfolk record office. The information John provided me with gave the children of Thomas and Mary Sewell nee Waterson who had married in Swafield, Norfolk on 5 March 1806.


Our President, Fred Sole gave me 1871 census records of John Sewell born in Forton, Lancashire and living in Fishwick, Preston, Lancashire. I found John’s parents on record, and could add the 1871 details. I then spent a few hours following the family in GRO, and IGI and other censuses. From these records I could see how the family had moved around a small area of Lancashire. They were as one expected concerned with the Cotton Mills. However John the seventh of their eight children gave his occupation as Pupil Teacher in the 1881 census and was living with his sister. However, from the GRO it seems likely that John died aged 19 in 1883.


Even our guest speaker Meryl Catty found some Sewell references that she bought along with her and since then has sent on information regarding the Sewell name. These include a list of burials in Essex cemeteries, and Able and Freemen of Suffolk. Meryl had also found a Quaker Meeting report, of a Marriage between Jn Wright and Rebecca Sewell in 1681 in Essex.


Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell tells me that Essex researchers Sarah Hay and Pam Rose have done a lot of research on their tree that has enabled him to connect in two other trees. Another member attending the Annual Gathering was Rita Acre who is researching Rutland and Stamford in Lincolnshire and she is interested to know if anyone else is researching these areas.


Two enquiries I received recently originate from enquiries from 1999 and 2000 and show just how much our records have increased. The first was from member Chris Caton who originally contacted me in August 2000. Chris was looking for his mother’s Sewell family. Did we have any details on his grandfather Harold Charles Sewell born 1904 and his brothers in Lowestoft, Suffolk? The only references I had were a couple of GRO references that I gave to Chris and mentioned his details in my next report for Soul Search, December 2000.


Then in October this year I was contacted by Mary Warren who found this report on our website. Her father was a brother of Chris’s grandfather. Mary had lost touch with the Norfolk Sewell side of her family and wanted to get in touch with Chris, could I help. Chris’s mother is Mary’s first cousin and Mary’s mother was Chris’ mother’s godmother. Chris says they lost contact a while ago and his mother and Mary were delighted to be in touch again. Chris’s mother and Mary are descended from Aaron Sewell, born 1792, and back in 2000 we had not made the connection with the information Chris gave, to this family. Co-incidentally, a few weeks before I had a message from Malcolm Larter. One of Malcolm’s ancestors was Lorina Larter who married Aaron Sewell on 6 Oct 1816 at Bacton, Norfolk.


Back in May 1999 Charles Spain wrote to say that his grandmother’s name was Edith Sewell from Lydd in Kent. Edith married Charles William Pope in 1896, could we help? Tony Storey was co-ordinating the Sewell name then, but could find only two Edith’s of the right age born in Kent in the 1881 census neither born in Lydd. Tony suggested that Charles buy Edith’s marriage certificate to find who her father was. Recently Charles wrote to say that he had identified Edith living in 1881 at Coastguard House, Winchelsea Sussex age 6. She was born in 1874 in Sussex. Her father was Robert Haylett Sewell age 45, born Norwich. Charles wondered if we had any records for Robert Haylett. I was able to tell Charles that Robert H was the fourth son of Charles and Susan Sewell, nee Haylett, born 25 March 1836 at St Martins Norwich. Robert had also joined the Royal Navy in 1855.


Other enquiries include one from Eddy Piemazek who sent in an unusual puzzle. She wondered if I could shed light regarding William Sewell. Eddy’s mother-in-law’s late second husband left her a bible that she had passed on to Eddy. The bible dates from 1803 and on the inside covers are hand-written texts, both religious, and nature notes, as well as quotes from famous people. The writing was preceded by “Wm Sewell, 8th Nov 1806”. Could we identify William? Eddy thought he might have lived around the Northwest of England, the Lake District, where she believed the bible might have come from. I passed the puzzle over to Eric Sewell who co-ordinates the Northwest, Eric thought the most likely candidate was William Sewell (1781-1869). This William Sewell was the curate at Troutbeck and headmaster of Kelsick Grammar School, Ambleside. Eric mentioned the antics of this gentleman in an article “The Sewells of Swindale”, Soul Search August 2003.


Kay Styche a member of the Birmingham Ancestor Society wrote with information on the family of Emily Sewell who ‘married’ Samuel Shelly. Kay wanted to know if we had a marriage for Emily and Samuel, as she knew their first child had been born in 1892. Kay had been unable to find a marriage for the couple. Warwickshire and West Midlands’s co-ordinator Mike Hines found three possible marriages in 1894/5 but nothing before this. We wait to see if one of the marriages is correct.


Member Tony Foster contacted me with an update on his family. Tony has been in contact with another researcher of his family tree and has sent the Sewell names he found on the 1871 census for Camberwell, Surrey. Tony goes onto say that he found the Sewell CD useful and found in the army records one of his ancestors, Robert Ernest Sewell. Robert joined the army in 1891 giving his occupation as Porter; he married Mary Ann Birch at St Luke’s Church, Kingston, Surrey in 1907. Robert was a widower at the time of his marriage and a Staff Sergeant with the East Surrey Regiment; he was discharged from the Army in 1909. From this second marriage, Robert had two daughters born in 1909 and 1914. Aged 41years Robert re-enlisted, two months after the birth of his second daughter. Using the GRO on the CD Tony found a possible first marriage in 1895, when Robert was age 21 and a valet. The army records also show Robert’s brother, Joseph, was in the Royal Navy.


Bev Hendy sent from Australia some interesting copies of Wills for her family. Bev’s family must have the record for the number of Wills. The first Will was for Russell Sewell a farmer, who died in 1860 at Great Oakley, Essex. Russell left £9,000, with sums for his sons and daughters. Another was a Will of Benjamin Yates, the wife of Sarah daughter of Russell. Benjamin died in 1873 ‘In a Railway Carriage between the Station at Feltham and Barnes in the London and South Western Railway’. According to the inquest it was a first-class carriage! Bev and her husband Barry were over from Australia and were able to attend the Annual Gathering. The following day they were off to Suffolk and Essex to see some of the places their ancestors came from.


After my last report in September Soul Search, Ron Sturrock McMoore phoned to say that he was certain he had a link with Andrew Sewell’s family tree. I hope they have now made contact with each other. Andrew’s great Grandfather George Edward Joseph Sewell was born in 1874 in Shoreditch, Middlesex.


Member Judy Wright’s picture of her great grandfather, Major Richard Manuel Sewell, you may remember was in the August Soul Search. Judy has now found the marriage announcement in the Times for Nov 14 1890 of his daughter in the Deccan, India. Judy has traced her family back to Henry Sewell born in 1861 who was an HM Naval Officer in Madras where his children were born. His grandson Richard Manuel Sewell was born in Chile. Judy has done a lot of research of the Indian records and continues to send me details of her own family and another family whose members were prominent in the Indian army that I am working on. So far we have not been able to find a link between the two families.


On behalf of the Society I have been purchasing birth and marriage certificates to attempt to unite families in our records. These are useful in providing names of fathers and maiden names that may give a clue to the family’s origin. However the purchase of a marriage certificate gave me a wife of William Sewell other than the one I was expecting. This led me to two William Sewell’s born in 1886 in Woolwich, Kent, an area not noted for a large number of Sewell’s. The first William was married to Lilian Charlotte Boorer in 1914 and turned out to be William Caleb son of William Caleb and Mary Sewell nee Nash. The second William married Ada Alice Pierce 1908, the son of John Thomas and Lucy Margaret Sewell nee White. The curious thing was that not only were they born the same year and place but their marriage certificates showed they were living at different numbers in the same road. I can find no connection between the two families, William Caleb’s family I have traced back to 1820 in Woolwich and the other William to Warwickshire. I will have to purchase more certificates to sort out this family.


I finally found in the 1901 census a Charles Sewell of Suffolk that I was looking for. Charles Sewell died in Aldeburgh Suffolk in 1912. From his Will I knew he was a Lt Col in the 6th Dragoon Guards, and from his wife’s Will that his son Charles Francis was an army captain. I had not been able to find the family in other censuses but from the 1901 census I found the children were born in Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex and East Indies. The birthplace for Charles in the 1901 census was given as Carleton, Cumberland. Eric Sewell who co-ordinates Cumberland was able to find the baptism of Charles on 4th Sept 1830, the son of Francis Theodore Dudley Sewell and his wife Margaret. Eric also found a Francis listed in the 1829 Cumberland Directory as Francis Sewell, Lt of Carleton. Francis T.D was the son of John and Sarah Sewell and was baptised 24th Jun 1796 at St Mary’s, Whitechapel. Francis T.D. Sewell and Margaret were married in 1825 at the Old Church St Pancras and Francis died in 1846 in Berkshire. This information helped me to tie the family that I had of another son of Francis T.D, that of Thomas W Sewell born Berkshire. I had originally found Thomas as the vicar of Sternfield Suffolk in the 1861 census. Living with Thomas was his widowed mother Margaret and sister Frances. I am still not entirely sure where this family originates; it could be London, Cumberland, Berkshire or anywhere! Once again in family history as you sort out one problem, along comes another and will no doubt keep me busy in the coming months.

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