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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report December 2001

by Diana Kennedy 

After a quiet beginning since the last Soul Search we then had a flurry of enquiries. Four new members with an interest in the Sewell name have recently joined the Sole Society. Member Mike Hines has agreed to co-ordinate the West Midland Sewellís, and is busy putting together family trees from the IGI. I have made a start on the Lancashire families. There are still other areas where we could do with a co-ordinator if anyone has any spare time!

Brian Sewell our co-ordinator for Essex has been busy as usual, he has been following up the Adrian Corder-Birch research - see the article in this edition of the journal. He has also been able to help Adrian with some names from the GRO indexes.

New member Ian Sewell has traced his family back to Thomas Sewell in Munton Essex around 1772 and was seeking descendants. Unfortunately Ian has had some bad luck with missing census data, namely the 1851 census for Dunnow and the 1881 census for Clitheroe, Lancashire. However Brian was able to help with some 1881 census and GRO indexes. Ian also sent Brian some copies of certificates, one of which linked up with Brianís next contact Janet Saluzzo.

Janetís Great Grandfather Edwin Root Sewell had the unenviable fame of being the first driver fatality in a petrol driven car. Edwin, an employee of the fledgling Daimler company, lost control of the motorised 6HP `wagonette' vehicle he was demonstrating to prospective buyers while speeding down the steep incline of Grove Hill Road in Harrow, north west London in 1899. Both he and front-seat passenger Major James Miller died from head injuries after the car's rear wheels collapsed under the pressure of braking at 20 mph, considerably more than the vehicle's recommended maximum speed.

Edwin was born in Great Baddow Essex in 1867. He married Elspet Campbell in 1860 and had three children. Edwinís parents were Samuel Sewell a master miller and Sarah Woods. Brian had noticed the Root name in the GRO indexes already and was amazed that Ian Sewell had included a birth certificate for Mary Ann Sewell b 1846 daughter of Mary Louisa Sewell nee Root! Brian discovered that Edwin Rootís father was Samuel Sewell son of Peter Sewell of Great Baddow, who was married to Mary Louisa. From this information and from 1861 census for Writtle that Brian recently purchased he was able to link three previously unconnected IGI trees together and to take Janet back another generation to Henry Sewell who married in 1801. Brian also has a Will for one of Janetís relatives. Ian Sewell had also sent Brian an 1850 map covering the area where Janetís ancestors lived. This map also shows a Sewells farm which may belong to another family that Brian has been helping.

Also from the 1861 Writtle census Brian has been able to help Henrietta Howe from Romford who contacted Brian through the Essex Society of Family History. Her Great Grandmother Amelia Sewell married Samuel Wisbey in 1862 in Stock, near Chelmsford. Henrietta believed she had found Ameliaís parents in the 1861 census in Stock, but Amelia wasnít there. Brian found that Amelia was actually living with her future in-laws in Boreham. Again using the Writtle 1861 census Brian has been able to add several more family members for Colin Webb who contacted us last October, regarding his wifeís ancestor Thomas Sewell b 1803 at High Easter.

Eric Sewell co-ordinator for Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham had a letter from new member Ann Wallace who wrote about her family in Sunderland. As Ann does not have a computer Eric found some interest in her family on the internet. Ann has a relation in Colorado who is an old friend of a cousin of Eric, also a Sewell.

An e-mail appearing in July 1999 Soul Search has prompted an enquiry from member John Sewell in Edinburgh, who is researching the descendants of Robert Sewell (1748-1834) and Margaret Blyth. Eric is waiting a reply to his e-mail from the 1999 enquirer.

Eric has recently added to his census data by persuading Carlisle library to supply a photocopy of Sewellís appearing in the Carlisle census indexes they had published on microfiche for 1841, 1871 and 1891 for £5 instead of the £20 per year. A bargain!

Mike Sewell co-ordinator for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire has been fairly quiet during the summer. New member Anne Gould, has an interest in Seawell. Her 6x maternal Grandmother Millicent Seawell was born about 1704 in Lincoln (IGI spelt Suells). So far we have been unable to take her back any further.

Tony Sewell co-ordinator for Kent, Surrey and Hampshire has almost completed family trees for Kent, although he points out that it is as if Sewellís were just passing through Kent when born and married.

New member Ray Sewell from New South Wales is researching his father and grandfather who lived on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. His Grandfather was George Sewell who married Hannah Cooper; we hope to be able to help Ray.

Yvonne Foster from Australia enquired as to whether we had any information on Edward Sewell who lived in Mitcham, Surrey. She knew Edward was a calico printer with two children Robert b. 12 April 1761 and Ann b. 8 Dec 1765. Ann married William Asprey who founded Asprey and Co, the silver and luxury goods supplier of Bond Street, London. Yvonne is descended from Ann and William and has kindly donated her family tree to add to our records.

On further investigation Tony found the christening of a William Sawell to Edward Sawell was found in the IGI, possibly another son of Yvonneís Edward, with an alternative spelling. No obvious connection has been found so Tony has started to build a tree around a main Mitcham Sewell family, starting with the descendants of James Sewell and Ann Doust. Member Edna Pritchard is descended from this Mitcham family.

At present Tony has 50 names on this tree, up to 1898, many of these were cloth printers. Some moved away from Kent to Lancashire, presumably to the mills, while many stayed around the Mitcham area. Tony writes that Mitcham is on the river Wandle which is a fast flowing river and from the very early days it was well known for its water mills. These originally were used for flour, then snuff and then herbs for medicines. A side product of this was the making of dyes for cloth printing, hence the number of printers in the area.

Tony has found no direct connection as yet between Yvonneís Sewellís and the main Sewell family identified in Mitcham. However on the basis that they were all in the printing industry and there appears to be only one main Sewell family in the area then they are probably linked. He just needs to make the connection.

I have been fairly quiet with Suffolk and Norfolk enquiries. Member Marj Cowie has sent her family tree which originally descended from John Sowles who died 1572 in Norfolk.

Diana Sewell read about our Society in the East Surrey F H S. She has researched her family back to John Sewell and Elizabeth Payne who married in 1761 in Hackford, Norfolk. Dianaís family tree helped me to make a few more connections to the Norfolk families I already had and this is now quite a large family with several branches. I was also able to give Diana a reference to a will (thanks to member Tony Foster) for a William Payne Sewell who married Roseanna Head in 1830 and grandson of John and Elizabeth.

Member Peter Foreman who has done a lot of work on the Norfolk Sewells wrote to say that he had heard from a Tim Ray that his house was at one time occupied by two Sewell sisters. A check on the 1881 census revealed that the house at that time was occupied by Mary and Catherine Sewell the spinster daughters of Edward Sewell the uncle of the author Anna Sewell. Tim also told Peter that a Joseph Sewell a Quaker minister was living in the same street and that he went on to become a missionary to Madagascar in 1867. This Joseph was almost certainly a cousin to Anna.

Ross Jilley from Australia came across our web site and wrote to say that her great grandfather married Margaret Elizabeth Sewell who was born in 1847 in Liverpool and was wondering if we could help. I found the marriage of Margaret in the GRO in 1873 at Macclesfield and also a birth in 1846 West Derby. I also found the Jilley family in the 1881 census living in Cheetham Lancashire, Margaretís husband John was a cigar merchant and they had two children. Ross says that Margaret was an herbalist. After purchasing Margaretís birth certificate Ross found that Margaretís parents were John Sewell and Mary nee Forster, but that is as far as it goes so far as yet.

Fay Ellen Sewell from Canada was looking for information on her Great Grandfather John Phillip Sewell born in England in the 1850ís. I gave her a GRO reference for a John Phillip James born 1856 in Gloucester. Fay knew from her Grandfather John Henry Sewellís Canadian Expeditionary records that he was on leave in England in October 1916. His records show that he requested permission to marry in August 1917; from this I was able to give Fay the GRO marriage reference in 1917 at Romford, Essex. It seems likely that her father John Phillip (now deceased) was born a few months after the marriage in 1917, which probably accounts for the mystery surrounding her fatherís birth, which Fay has been unable to find in Canada. However I could find no record of his birth in England, it seems likely that he was born in Canada or he is registered under his motherís name. Fay has now let me know that she has purchased the birth certificate of her Great Grandfather John Phillip James and now has another name to add to her research, Glendall, her x2 Great Grandmother.

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