Sole Co-ordinator's Report - March 2000

By Maureen Storey

We welcome one new member, John Soul, who with his mother has done a lot of work on the Soul family of Olney, Bucks. John has set up a website devoted to the family which will be of interest to anyone with Olney connections.

In the last few weeks we’ve received a number of requests for help from Sole researchers who are just beginning to research their family trees. In each case we’ve been able to take them back a generation or two and are currently waiting for them to buy the birth certificate that they need to get them back past the gap in our sources of free information between 1891 (the last available census) and 1911 (when the GRO indexes start to include the spouse’s surname for marriages and the mother’s maiden names for births).

Leslie Sole’s father, Alexander Holland Sole, was born in Liverpool in 1914. We know that Alexander had at least three brothers and that his mother’s maiden name was Taylor but we need Alexander’s birth certificate to find his father’s name; family tradition says the family originally came from Kent.

David Sole’s grandfather, James Sole, was born in Hull in April 1908 and for many years worked in the railway engineering works, repairing locomotives. David believes his great grandfather’s name was also James Sole, but we’re awaiting confirmation from his grandfather’s birth certificate.

Similarly, the birth certificate of Arthur William Sole who was born in Paddington in 1896 will hopefully help us to place Adrian Sole in one of our extended families.

We’ve recently been able to extend our Soul of Northleach, Gloucestershire family tree thanks to information received from Ken Crompton. Ken is the great great grandson of Emma Soul (see photograph), the daughter of Joseph Soul and Mary Cummings, who was born in Northleach in 1839. Emma with her husband, Edward Cresswell Haden, and their seven surviving children emigrated to Australia aboard the Ben Voirlich in 1880.

In the very first Soul Search Don Steel told us how it was in 1953 that he first began to research the Bedfordshire Sole families after discovering he was descended from Frances Sole, the daughter of Gregory and Ann Sole, who was baptised in Henlow, Beds in 1802. There his research stalled as he was unable to find a baptism or marriage for Gregory. It remained stalled until we had an enquiry from Sue Woollard asking if we knew anything about the descendants of Gregory and Ann who were named as beneficiaries in two Woollard wills: those of brother and sister Gilbert and Jane Woollard who both identify Ann as their sister. So although we’re no nearer finding Gregory’s parents, after many barren years, Gregory and Ann’s descendants can finally learn something of Ann’s ancestry. Patience, it would appear, does have its reward!

Some of our enquiries come from people who are trying to find their immediate family rather than their remote ancestors. One such case was Alice Sharpe (nee Sole) who contacted us last summer hoping that we might be able to help her find her brother Edward who she hadn’t seen for many years (Soul Search July 1999). To Alice’s great joy, we did eventually find Edward (via Fred Sole’s CD of the 1998 electoral roll) and they exchanged several phone calls. Sadly their plans for a reunion were shattered by Edward’s sudden death a few weeks later but Alice has some consolation in now being in touch with a ‘lost’ nephew and niece.

We’ve also had an enquiry from someone who was adopted as a baby and wanted to find out something about his birth mother’s family. He hadn’t at that stage decided if he actually wanted to try to contact his relatives - it was possible that his mother might still be alive and he said he had no wish to do anything that might have repercussions for her or her family - but he wanted to know something about them. We were able to fill in some details of his family background: grandparents, uncles, aunts etc. We have since heard that he is now in contact with one of his first cousins, so this story has a happy ending (at least I hope so!).

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