Swindells Family History

John's branch, at least.

John's lineage goes like this:
Paul Anthony Swindells Mar 1944-Aug 2009
Norman George Swindells (11 Oct 1921 - 1997) marr. Dec 1942 in Camberwell to Joan Iris McNaughton
George Swindells (1885-1955) marr. Edith Sherwood
James Swindells marr. 12 Jul 1876 to Elizabeth Seel
Samuel Swindells marr. to Sarah ?Smith
??

Rev. George Swindells (John's great-grandfather, 1885-Oct 1955.

Joan McNaughton (18 Sep 1919 - 1997) was the daughter of Edith Louise Higgs and George Smith McNaughton (son of John McNaughton). George was a Canadian soldier who came to Britain during WWI. He only stuck around briefly, abandoned his wife and young child to return to Canada. Apparently he never sent money to support either wife or child, and died during (although probably not in battles of) WWII.
Edith (Higgs) had to work long hours to make ends meet; she did later remarry but had no more children. Her family origins were overwhelmingly in London, and included a factory foreman, dairymen and jewellers. Surname on this side include Bailey, Hildreth (sometime recorded as Hilder), Easton, Tyrell, Morrison and Northam.

Norman Swindells was the youngest of 4 siblings all born and mostly raised in Eastbourne, Sussex. The others were:
Edith Elizabeth (Betty) (b. Sep 1916), married Jack Man in about 1941. They had two? daughters together
Stephen Seel (30 Aug 1917 - 1994), married Molly Liddington 24 Aug 1944, at a wedding officiated by George, Stoke Bishop (?Eastbourne). Their daughter = Mary.
Joan (b. Sep 1918), married Billy Miller in about 1944. Parents of Jennifer.


George Swindells was born 25 Dec 1885 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, into a textile-working family. He was an occasional curate and officer in the Church of England. He met his wife Edith on the top of a double decker bus in Wolverhampton, in about 1914, after she had returned from her big trip to New Zealand. He was 29 and she was 36. They married the following year. Generally George had terrible health, suffering from frequent "bilious attacks" (what we today might call irritable bowel syndrome) and other allergic-type conditions. He found the children too much to have at home, they were generally packed off to relatives and boarding schools from the age of 11 if not sooner. George was famous for insisting on no talking during meal times and apparently his sons both found small talk and family gossip difficult. His letters to his daughter Joan at finishing school are full of admonitions to concentrate on her studies and less on tennis and anything else not academic.

I don't know who the people are in the wedding photo of George Swindells and Edie Sherwood .

Edith Rachel Sherwood The third youngest of seven children of William George Sherwood (died 11 Dec 1911) and Annie Thompson (d. 10 Dec 1910). Edie's siblings were Annie b. Aug 1867, Will b. April 1872, Gertie b. Feb 1874, Harry b. Nov 1875, Nellie Nov. 1878 - Dec.1890, and Charlie b. June 1883. more about the Sherwoods elsewhere.

The brothers of George Swindells

George's children knew well his two brothers: James and Norman. James Swindells (~1883-1965ish) was an educated man, who wrote thoughtful and affectionate letters containing long passages in Latin to his niece Joan in the 1960s. It's not clear whether James ever married, but he's understood to have had no children. Norman Swindells (2 Jul 1899-Jun 1986), the baby of his family, appears to have briefly immigrated to the United States (1920-1932ish). He married Mona Hunting in about 1933 (she died in the early 1960s), and remarried Grace ? who outlived him and immigrated to California where she died in November 2010. Norman also had no children. Norman comes across as affectionate and carefree in his letters. He and Joan shared a love of animals, he often writes about his dogs, and apparently was financially comfortable (no signs that he had to work). It's a mystery to me how Norman got his money, thru his wife Mona?

The Seven Sisters

George also had seven sisters, with approximate birth years: Alice 1877, Bertha 1879, Elizabeth 1881, Sarah 1889, Jane 1892, Phoebe 1884 and Ada 1897.

About them, I know frustratingly little. I have some marriage records as follows:

Alice 1896 in Macclesfield to James Bailey Elizabeth 1906 in Macclesfield to Albert Bailey
Sarah (?d. 1973?) marr. 1915 in Macclesfield to Percy Meakin (1892-1973)
Ada 1930 in Stockport to George Arnfield
I can't find a family relationship between the husbands of Alice and Elizabeth

I have some details about the children of Alice and James Bailey, from the 1911 Census:

Florence 1897, May 1898, James 1901, George 1906, Albert 1909.

Why were the seven sisters not as well known to George's children? Joan Miller thought her father had just three much older sisters. Why was there no contact with them or their children, or any of George's other Macclesfield relations? George honoured his background by giving his mother's maiden name, Seel, to his first-born son. Yet he had so little other contact with his Macclesfield connections. I want to speculate like mad, but why, really, why?

James Swindells the father of George, was born about 1853 in Macclesfield. They lived near the modern centre of Macclesfield, in small terraced houses (probably only 2-3 bed). Everybody, James, Elizabeth, and all their children above school age (about 8yo) are down as silk workers in every Census except in 1911, when George is a theology student (family lore says that previously he worked as a factory manager, but couldn't keep it up due to ill health, and was persuaded to study religion by his brother James).

Elizabeth Seel, b. about 1858, was from yet another textile working family; both her and James' fathers were silk weavers. Elizabeth was the daughter of Samuel Seel (about 1829 to after 1881) and Jane Potts (1829 to after 1881). Their other children, with approx. birth years: Jane 1850, John 1852, Henry 1854, William 1856, Sarah A. 1865, Charlotte 1868 and Phoebe 1871. Family lore says that Samuel Seel's father or grandfather (?Jacob) came from Ireland, and that he served at Trafalgar under Admiral Nelson.

From Census records, I think I can confidently work out that James parents were Samuel Swindells (b. ~1824 - after 1871) and Sarah ? (b. ~1825 -1871+) in Macclesfield. James' siblings with approx. birth years were John 1848 (witness to marriage of James + Elizabeth Seel), Samuel 1850, Sarah, 1857, Thomas 1859 and Edwin 1862. I have tracked Edwin in some Census years, and it appears that he associated closely with some other Swindells families (lived nearby for instance), but it's hard to figure out how they all slot together.

I think that Jacob Seel (b. ~1797 Ireland and died after 1841) is the father of Samuel Seel. Wife = Ann (b. ~1801), other siblings with approx. birthyears = William 1821, Charlotte 1826, Henry 1826, Ann 1832, Sarah 1834, Charles 1837 and John 1840. They all resided in Macclesfield.

Origins of the Swindells surname.


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