Looking for John Albert Sewell, b. 1880 in Oklahoma.

john albert sewell ww1 reg card  I need to work a little on John Albert Sewell. I need to review my timeline and build a sound research plan. As a genealogist it is important to set your goals for your research and work through a logical process to resolve any issues. As I determined what I know about John Albert, I log everything into a simple timeline. A timeline will include everything I know about John, his family, his community, etc., in date order. Next I need to set a goal to keep me focused, if not I could go all over the place. My goal is to locate John Albert Sewell in the 1880 and 1900 census. Also, determine if he was married “before” he married Ethel “Irene” Giles, daughter of Henry and Nellie (b. 1868 Greenville County, TN, maiden name is McCorke, 1st marriage surname: Murphy) Giles. Lastly, locate a death record for John.

So let’s outline what I know first. Mr. John Albert Sewell, so far it appears you were born 28 June 1880 in Oklahoma per your WW1 registration record and census. His parents names are Fred and Jemimah Sewell. Let’s look at a draft timeline to help determine what my research plan will be:

  • 1880 born in Oklahoma
  • 1900 Fed Census-unknown at this time
  • 1903 located a marriage record between a John Sewell b. 1880, age 23, to Arinda Garrett  age 30, in Pittsburg, County, Ok.  John Sewell & Arinda Garrett
  • 1910 Fed Census I located a John Sewell living in Cameron, Le Flore, Ok with a Arch Sewell, noted as a brother.
  • 1917 WW 1 registration record
  • 1918  marriage record between John Albert Sewell and Irene Giles, IA
  • 1920 Fed Census, John and wife Irene living in Des Moines, IA
  • 1925 State of Kansas census Kansas City, Wyandotte County.
  • 1930 Fed Census Irene (Giles) now married to Clive Doty, children are in the household-based on ages, etc.
  • 1940 unknown at this time

When I review the timeline the gaps, conflicts, and questions arise. I like to break the research plan into little tasks, then review what I obtained, then reassess what the next steps will be. You always want to determine if you are researching the right individuals, so you need to analyze each record and using the “Murphy’s So what & What’s next” principles. Here is a draft of the beginning of a research plan with a few tasks to research and resolved:

  • Get an OK county map
  • Locate John Sewell in the 1880 census, with parents
  • Locate birth record for John Sewell in Ok
  • Find out if John had a brother named Arch or other siblings.
  • Review John and Irene’s marriage record to see if it says how many times he was married or if this was his first marriage.
  • What’s was going on in Kansas, they lived there in 1925
  • Locate marriage record for Ethel Irene Sewell to Clive Doty, which would of been in 1926 based on the 1930 census.
  • Locate a death record on Arinda (Garrett) Sewell
  • Locate divorce or death record for John A. Sewell between 1925-1930
  • Locate a divorce from Arinda or Irene.
  • Determine if there are any clues on the WW1 registration record

Determine the next steps-what are they?


  1. United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KZ2J-78K : accessed 22 February 2015), John Albert Sewell, 1917-1918; citing Polk County, Iowa, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,643,347.

2. United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/ML7P-SC8 : accessed 22 February 2015), John Sewell in household of Arch Sewell, Cameron, Le Flore, Oklahoma, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 148, sheet 6B, family 109, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,375,271.

3. United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MDM3-YJP : accessed 22 February 2015), John Sewell, Des Moines Ward 1, Polk, Iowa, United States; citing sheet 10B, family 253, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,507.

4. Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890-1995″, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QVP6-LQ72 : accessed 22 February 2015).

5. Ancestry.com.. Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.

One response to “Looking for John Albert Sewell, b. 1880 in Oklahoma.”

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog and learning your pattern of thoughts. It really helps me in my research! So thank you!!
    Blessings in finding your answers

    Your cousin Joyceann

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