Sales Genealogy

The Sales family mostly lived in or around the West of Kent or the Eastern parts of East Sussex, working as farm labourers or blacksmiths. Members of the family were blacksmiths in Leigh for about 100 years. So far, our most distant ancestor for whom we have clear data is Thomas Sales, born about 1760, who lived in Marden, Kent. We also have details of another line, which goes back to John Sales, born about 1680, who was buried in Leigh, near Tonbridge, Kent, in 1722. If you are an Australian descendant (or think you are), then John Sales is the one you need.

The Family Tree includes other individuals in the database not directly descended from John Sales - but it shows less detail for each individual.

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The "Sales" genealogy also includes the surnames "Sale" and "Sayles" as past variations in spelling mean that there are clear links between people with these surnames. In some cases, the same individual's name is spelled in different ways on different documents. An example is a burial entry in the Speldhurst parish register on 27 November 1731 for "Daniel Sears alias Sayles". However, data from the 1851 census suggests that this was not too common. Information on the birthpace of male individuals identified as head of their household gives a look back at the geographical spread of the surname in the previous generation. The major concentration of the "Sales" surname was in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, whereas "Sale" was more geographically scattered.
A similar look at the "Sayle" surname shows it as most common in Lancashire, with no obvious correlation with areas where the "Sales" surname was common. Similarly, male heads of households in 1851 named "Sayles" were mostly born in Yorkshire. One head of household and one servant named "Sails" in this study came from the same parts of Kent or Surrey as the Sales family, so may have been variations of the name, as did one "Sailes". Those named "Sayell" all came from the counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire.

It is possible that the Sales surname came to the British Isles with Huguenot (Protestant) refugees from France, most of whom arrived during the 17th and early 18th centuries. There are several places across Europe called "Sales", or similar and the surnames "Sales" and "De Sales" are found among both Huguenot and Catholic records from that time.
Useful genealogical information on the Sales surname in France is available via the Geneanet website at


Grateful thanks to the following people for their invaluable contributions to the Sales family tree database: John Doley, Peter Garas, Fred Harman, Maureen Rawson, Arthur Vidgeon.