By Ian Sewell
Not much to say on the Sewell front as we have had no inquires or new members. Sometime ago I said I would start cross indexing the IGI with our records and I started with Essex which thanks to Brian Sewell’s and my research is quite comprehensive. In the end I gave it up as a bad job. I spent most of my time deleting copies or multiple guesses based on single entry and even then, when I had a genuine entry often it disagreed with the data we had recorded from the parish records. So, whilst it can be used as a reference, it’s not much use as a coherent data source.
Luckily, I have a suitable replacement in the GRO Births and Death records. These have been out online for free and with a bit of Excel work I was able to copy and format all the Sewell births and Deaths. The births also now come with the mother’s maiden name which helps in identifying the family and in many cases the surname of the mother where we do not have the marriage recorded. The transcribing accuracy of the maiden names takes a bit of getting used to as you could have up to four different names in the same family. In total I now have over 16,400 birth records to correlate.
Again, I have started on Essex where there are 1072 entries, of which I have been able to place 883 into the records a success rate of 82%. Of the 189 I could not place many were more recent ones where our records are thin; the birth records go to 1918 and the death records to 1957. In addition I was able to add 227 new entries to our records. Many are of children who died young, including an aunt I never knew I had, one Grace Maud who died aged 3, but there were a lot where for some reason the full family never appeared in a census
I did start on the deaths in Essex but in the end gave up as the failure rate was so high. It’s useful to have them in for a specific individual but trying to find entries for all the deaths has such a low hit rate, <40%, even in parishes that were well recorded, that it became too much of a chore.