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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report December 2009

by Diana Kennedy  



We welcome three new members to the Sole Society researching the Sewell name. Our first new member is Ron Sewell. Unfortunately I as yet know nothing about Ronís research due to an oversight by me in not contacting Ron sooner.


Sue Markham started researching her mothers Seymour Sewell paternal line a few months ago. Sue says that the name Seymour Sewell unhyphenated but added as a middle name was possibly as an affectation. She remembers being told when young that Jane Seymour third wife of Henry V111 was a distance ancestor, but she believes that is wishful thinking. However looking at her family tree one never knows, they were quite a remarkable family.  We know they came mainly from the Isle of Wight and before that from Cumberland. Among the numerous members of this family their many occupations include, a Marine Biologist, a tutor to the King of Siamís children after Anna (of King and I fame), the first premier of New Zealand, the co-founder of Radley College Oxford, plus authors, lawyers and clerks in Holy Order. On the Isle of Wight Thomas Sewell married Jane Edwards in about 1800. Thomas was the son of the Rev William Sewell and Frances nee Clarke from Cumberland.  William became the Rector of Headley.


I was in touch with our third new member Trevor Wright in 2005. Trevorís ancestors come from Blundeston in Suffolk. John Sewells was born about 1746 the son of John and Sarah. John junior married Elizabeth Shouldeam in 1769 in Blundeston. The surname in Blundeston is spelt with a final s, Sewells. Trevor has done a lot of work on his family tree over the years. Lately he has been looking at Quaker Burial Grounds in Beccles and Worlingham both in Suffolk. There are several Philip Sewellís in Beccles and I am not sure to which family this Philip belongs.


Talking of gravestones, member Sharon Cunningham was contacted by a distance relative in Australia who sent her several pictures of gravestones of Sewells who were buried in Australia in the 1900ís. They are descendants of Mark and Florinda Sewell. Mark Sewell married Florinda Yeoman in 1828 in Caston Norfolk. Mark was born in 1798 but not baptised until 1827 and we are still unable to find Markís parents.


An enquiry came from Valerie Carr, who was researching her father William Leo Sewellís family. He emigrated to the US in the early 1950ís. His parents were William Henry Sewell and Louisa Fredericka Meinzer who married in Forest Gate, Essex. William Henry was born in 1886 the son of John Stock Sewell and Harriett Maria nee Barker. Valerieís parents had found the gravestones of John and Harriett Maria with their sons when they visited Manor Park cemetery. Valerie wondered if we had any more information. John Stock Sewell was a house painter born in Whitechapel, the son of Thomas and Hannah. Thomas was a Master Plumber born in Felstead in 1818. Brian Sewell our Essex co-ordinator was able to take Valerie back another generation to Thomasí parents John and Elizabeth, with John given as a butcher.


However I have drawn a blank with an enquiry from Sara John. Her maternal grandfather was Albert, his parents were William, a shipwright and mother Florence. They had two other children Freda and Charles. The family is on the 1901 census in Rochester, Kent. Sara knows that the three children were taken into care by the Salvation Army soon after this in nearby Rye where their father came from and where their grandparents were living in 1901. The two younger children were sent to Canada in 1911 and 1914 on the Home Care Scheme. Albert the eldest who was born in 1897 was apprenticed on the Arethusa. Sara wants to know what happened to William and Florence. Like Sara I could not find a death certificate for William or Florence, I also drew a blank with the 1911 census. We can take this family back a few generations to a Charles Sewell who married Susan Haylett in 1825 in Norwich, but do not know why the children were taken into care or what happened to William and Florence.


Another enquiry came from Howard Sewell who is descended from his great great grandfather John Sewell. I found a marriage for John in the Parish Records, he married Kate Elizabeth Auger in 1870 in Camberwell. From census data we know John was born about 1850. The 1871 says he was born Bow, Essex, the 1881 St George, E, the 1891 London and the 1901 Camberwell. Wherever John was born I have been unable to find him in the GRO or before 1871. On his marriage certificate his fatherís occupation is given as Ships Steward so it is quite likely he was away on census night. We do know that John junior was a Pyrotechnist and later a Journeyman painter.


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