Two Withell family groups living in a small town in Victoria, Australia had no idea if they were related although one family knew of their Cornish origin. Research into the ancestry of both these families has shown that they were not connected and that the second family had its roots in Sussex in the area near Chichester

Several generations of this family lived in the Heyshott area in Sussex. During the 18th century the surname was mostly recorded as Withell but when William Withall married Jane Pollard on 2 April 1823 in Heyshott the name was recorded as WITHALL and this was the spelling entered for the baptism of their children. When one of their sons George Withall moved from Heyshott he was to become known as Withell wheras the rest of the Heyshott families retained the Withall spelling.

GEORGE WITHELL was born in Heyshott Sussex and was baptized on 20 March 1831 as GEORGE WITHALL, the seventh of the twelve children born to William and Jane Withall.

GEORGE was to marry JANE WALKER HILL at the Bethesda Chapel in Sunderland, Durham on 26th February 1857. George was a mariner and gave his father's name as William Withell a farmer. His occupation as a mariner is consistent with his appearance in the port of Sunderland where there was a very large shipbuilding industry. By 1851 the port was home to more than 1,000 vessels. Following their marriage George and Jane Withell settled at Monkwearmouth where they had eight children, all registered as Withell.

  • 1881 Census - George and Jane were living in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland with six of their children, William 22 plater, John G. 21 blacksmith, Harriet 15, George 13, Watson 11, and Septimus 8.
  • 1891 Census - There had been a number of changes in the family. George had moved a few doors and opened a grocer shop at 54 Victor Street and only John G. a miller and Harriet, were living at home.
  • 1901 Census - All the children had left home but George 70 and Jane 67 continued to live at the grocer shop at 54 Victor Street. 

GEORGE WITHELL died at Monkwearmouth in the 1st Qr.1904 age 73 and his wife JANE WITHELL died in the 4th Qr. 1912 age 79.