Author Archives: frank

About frank

Frank Sambells is a retired geography/environmental science high school teacher who started researching the origins of the Sambells surname and his own ancestors in the early 1990’s. He has identified the earliest origins of the surname in both England (1154 AD) and France (980 AD). Applying genealogical proof standards Frank has traced his own pedigree back to earliest parish registers of the mid 1500’s. He is presently taking a series of certification courses in genealogy research methods from the National Institute of Genealogy that are offered through the University of Toronto. Recently Frank made two trips to the Cornwall Records Office in Truro Cornwall in 2010 & 2011. Researching the Tithes Surveys he has discovered new information concerning the agrarian life style of his ancestors during prior to the census of 1841. He is in the process of incorporating this information into a book which will document his research findings of the past two decades. After completing the documentation of his family tree back to the 1500’s Frank was compelled to make attempts to contact other branches of the Sambell/Sambells families from around the world. His research over the years provided many clues that suggested the emigration of several Cornish and Devon Sambell/s in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds. This lead to the establishment of many different branches of the clan throughout the world. His efforts to make contact with other branches of the family were very successful. He was amazed to discover the enthusiasm that many other people had in researching their paternal Sambell/s origins. As a result Frank was inspired to develop this website as a venue to support and encourage other family historians to research and make collective contributions to writing the story of the origins, migrations and life of the Sambell/s clan over the past 1000 years. To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root. Chinese Proverb

New family history blog

Announcing the publication of my new family history blog – – related to the discovery of the origins and lineage of the Sambells clan during the past 1000 years. The blog will take you on a journey along pathways and paper trails as I discover the footsteps of my ancestors. Postings in a section called “Ramblings” reveals stories of my travels to churches, castles, manors and farms which were so familiar to my ancestors. Postings in a second section called “Discoveries” follows the paper trail of ancient documents which reveal a continuous lineage of my ancestors since 980 AD.

SA homepage screen shot

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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Site Updates


Sambells Family History Vol I, Origins & Lineage 1000 – 1850

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE Published Sept. 2016

Sambells Family History is a twenty chapter, two hundred page hardcover bound book printed in landscape format 11″ x 8.5″. The chapters are richly illustrated with a variety of unique maps and charts which have been included to help facilitate the understanding of who’s who, and who’s where in time and place.

Sambells Family History comprises two sections. Part I, with eleven chapters, presents the medieval history of the clan. The introductory chapter highlights my first-hand observations of the English homeland of the Sambells clan in Cornwall. Chapters two and three explain how I was able to determine the French origins of my medieval family and include brief biographies of the five earliest paternal generations from 1000 to 1150 AD. The origins of these earliest clan members discovered in eleventh-century cartularies from northern France are discussed in relation to the political circumstances which lead to their rise in prominence.

Chapters four to six present additional biographical sketches of my expatriate French ancestors who arrived in England with King Henry II. Explanations of when and why the form and spelling of the Sambells surname evolved from St Pol are discussed in the context of the evolution of the English language. Chapters seven and eight describe the type of records and methods used to search for ancestors from 1150 to 1500. Accounts are given of the lives of Oxfordshire ancestors who served in the royal household during the reign of Henry II, Richard I, John and Henry III. Chapters nine to eleven highlight my discovery of ancient remnants of the family crest, wax seal, and shield bearing emblem – in the Parish church of South Newington – all of which contribute to defining kinships from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. In total, ten successive generations of medieval ancestors are highlighted from 1000 to 1350. In addition, the first members of the clan to arrive in Cornwall in 1287 have been identified in terms of where they came from, their occupation and where they lived.

Part II consists of nine chapters which trace another ten generations of my paternal ancestors in ascending order from the 1550s to 1850s. Chapters twelve and thirteen present the socio-economic background of life when the clan established firm Cornish roots in the Parish of St Germans in the 1500s. It should be noted that I have not yet been able to establish a complete paternal lineage over the course of 1000 years. There is a missing gap in kinship extending three or four generations from 1350 to 1500. Work on unraveling that mystery is in progress and will be part of the focus of the next volume of Sambells Family History.

Family history without documentation is mythology. It is for this reason that primary evidence used to identify kinship is clearly cited to encourage others to research their own connections to the clan. My assistance in this regard may be sought by contacting me through this website “Contact” option.

More information about the chapter contents and sample pages may be viewed at the “Book Order Form” page of this website.

• NOTE: Jan 17, 2017 The original order of 75 books have all been sold and accounted for. A new small run of 10 copies has been ordered with 5 of these remaining for sale.

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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in Site Updates


New Parish Records available online

WOW! Great news for tracing our Devon ancestors. FindMyPast has just added 3.5 million parish records for Plymouth and West Devon. These are baptism, marriage and burial records from 1538 to 1911. Access is by subscription which I highly recommend. PS Please don’t forget to footnote the exact source of each record you find. This will help to authenticate our data base.

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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Site Updates


March 16, 2012: New “Archives” pages added.

The first transcript of original WWII letters by Rose Sambell has been added to the Family History pages. The new section called Archives will be the repository for transcripts of original documents related to the family history of the various branches of the Sambell/s clan.

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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Site Updates


March 1st 2012: Family Files pages are up and running

Access to the Family Files page called Ancestor Files is now up an running. To view these pages you must first register and log in each time you visit the website. Read what the Family Files are all about. Help us to build the living branches of the Sambell/s family tree by submitting your own file of ancestors. For instructions on how to do this go to Family Files. Good luck. p.s. Once you register as a family member it may take 24 hours to activate your membership and access to the Ancestor Files pages.

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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Site Updates