SEWELL Co-ordinator’s Report April 2023

By Tony Storey

It’s always a quiet time of year but we still get a steady trickle of mail.
I was contacted by Judy Wright, a longstanding member of the Society, who has an interesting family with connections to South America and India. She wondered if we could help to find the origins of Henry Sewell, who became the Mayor of Madras in 1800 and who died shortly afterwards. He is believed to have been born in about 1760, possibly in London. The City of London and Westminster records and indeed the churches themselves suffered considerable damage during the war, although it’s not unknown for lost documents to emerge from basement hideaways. No success yet, but we’ll look again from time to time.
Sometimes the enquiries from non-members seem a little speculative, but I treat them as potential new members, which is how I discovered that someone called their poor son Abraham Lincoln Sewell. I was searching for George Washington Sewell at the time!
One lady wrote to me about a Sewell family from Essex who emigrated with their four sons in the 1870s. As a result of DNA tests on the present generation, it is apparent that one of the sons who arrived in Australia must have had completely different parents from those of his ‘brothers’. She wanted to know how this could possibly have happened. It seems to me that DNA is not always the answer. Sometimes it’s the question!
Finally some good news for the Sewells. Our friend, Ian Sewell, has agreed to continue looking after his county of origin Essex. I’m also pleased to say that Brenda Ord is now dealing with her county of origin, Norfolk. All enquiries can still be sent to my address in the first instance and I’ll pass them on as necessary.
I am aware that there are Sewell hot spots in the North-west and Midlands so I’m very much hoping to receive offers of assistance in those areas particularly. Please let me know if you would like to be the Society’s expert on your own county of origin. Free software could be made available where necessary.