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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Sewell family come from? What is the English Sewell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Sewell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Sewell family history?

The lineage of the name Sewell begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in any of the places named Sewell, Showell, Seawell, and Sywell in England. Sewell is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. There are a variety of types of local surnames, some of which include: topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. It is also possible that the surname Sewell is a patronymic surname, which derives from the Old English given name Siwal(d). This surname is composed of the elements sige, sę and weard, which mean victory, sea, and rule, respectively.

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Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Sewell has undergone many spelling variations, including Sewell, Shewel, Sewel, Sewall, Shewall, Shewal and many more.

First found in Warwickshire where the earliest record of the name was Sewallis, a "noble Saxon" who possessed Lower Eatington before the Norman Conquest. Sewallis was an ancient personal name and was not uncommon in Saxon times. [1] Girart de Sevele was listed in Normandy in 1180 and the Rotuli Hundredorum lists Roger Sevale in England c. 1272. [2] Two references claim that four different listings of the name were found in Warwickshire the Domesday Book, our translation [3] only listed one Sewell, in Bedfordshire as land held by the King that was originally belonging to the Odecrooft hundred but Ralph Taillebois added it to the manor of Houghton Regis with King William's consent. Today Sewell, is a hamlet located in central Bedfordshire and is still in the Houghton Regis civil parish.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sewell research. Another 331 words(24 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1366, 1393 and 1393 are included under the topic Early Sewell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 33 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sewell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Sewell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words(2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Sewell were among those contributors:

Sewell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Sewell settled in Virginia in 1637
  • John Sewell settled in Virginia in 1639
  • Thomas Sewell, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1649
  • Richd Sewell, who arrived in Virginia in 1651
  • John Sewell, who landed in Maryland in 1651


Sewell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Gerard Sewell, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Philip Sewell, aged 7, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1772
  • Thomas Sewell settled in Virginia in 1773
  • Charles and John Sewell settled in Maryland in 1774

Sewell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Geo W Sewell, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • George N Sewell, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Edward, James, Phillip, Thomas, and William Sewell all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870
  • J A Sewell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • L R Sewell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850


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  • William Hamilton Sewell (1909-2001), American sociologist and the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1967-1968
  • Joe Sewell (1898-1990), American baseball player
  • Sicily Sewell (b. 1985), American actress
  • Edward Granville Sewell, American mathematician and university professor, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas
  • Elyse Marie Sewell (b. 1982), American fashion model from Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Harley Edward Sewell (1931-2011), American NFL football guard
  • Lieutenant Cecil Harold Sewell (1895-1918), English recipient of the Victoria Cross during World War I
  • Rufus Frederik Sewell (b. 1967), award-winning English actor
  • Brian Sewell (b. 1931), English art critic and media personality
  • George Sewell (1924-2007), English actor

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  • History of One Sewell Family in America by Franklin Comer Sewell.
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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  11. ...

The Sewell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sewell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 7 July 2014 at 08:06.

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