Bob SheldonThe Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report March 2012

By Bob Sheldon


New member Matthew Fraser Moat is descended from John and Elizabeth (nee COOK) SOLE, who were married in Nackington, Kent in 1750, via his grandmother Mabel Constance SOLE of Bridge, Kent who married Herbert MOAT in 1919.  It is early days yet but from our initial exchange of e-mails it is clear that Matthew has done extensive research including the noting of much family knowledge from his parents and other relatives.  He found the Society via our internet web pages and we have begun to exchange and compare our data which I am sure will help to enlarge our knowledge of this family.  We have already identified over 500 persons connected with this family but so far we have not been successful in connecting it with the other Kentish lines despite extensive searches of available records.


Matthew did mention an interesting ‘family legend’ which rang bells with him when he saw my article ‘Joan Sole – Kentish Martyr’ copied from the December 2006 journal which related what we knew about her and four others being burnt at the stake in 1556, largely thanks to research done by another member Colin Sole.  The family legend was that one of the SOLEs from Stodmarsh, Kent was burnt at the stake and that there was a memorial to her in Canterbury.  He had spoken to his parents about it and they said that as far as they were concerned it was not a ‘legend’ but a ‘fact’ told to them by Matthew’s grandmother Mabel Constance SOLE.  What a pity that we have seen no evidence that Joan was from Stodmarsh or in any way connected with this family. Nevertheless the story must have started somewhere in the past but it must also remain with a question mark attached.


We have had four other interesting contacts but so far none have resulted in new memberships.  Anton is descended from a different Kent family via his grandmother Vera née SOLE.  Her father Stephen (1886-1961) and grandfather William (1858-1935) were both high ranking members of the Nottingham Fire Brigade in the late 19th century.  William, born in Margate had initially worked on the railway but he married and settled in Derbyshire in the 1880s.  Anton has said he will send more information about his fire fighting ancestors when he has sorted through many family papers.


Patricia is connected with our largest Sussex family via her ggg-grandmother Louisa nee SOLE (1824-1864) of Bramshot, Hampshire and has listed some information about Louisa and her siblings which is generally in agreement with our records.  I have told her that we have identified over 1600 connected persons in this family back to 1640 and we would make them known to her if she became a member.  Clearly SOLE is not one of Patricia’s prime research names but she has done well to find her connection with the name.


The third contact was Rebecca who is the g-granddaughter of Annie Eliza SOLE, another member of this same Sussex family.  Rebecca has recently heard a family story which says there was some Indian blood in the family and could we confirm the story.  We know that Annie was the daughter of Henry John Bramley SOLE who while serving in the British army in India married Lucy Maria GIFFORD in 1881 and Annie was born there in 1883.  Henry’s line back to 1640 in Sussex is known and Lucy’s parents are recorded as William and Anne (nee JONES) GIFFORD.  We do not know what took William to India but with a name like that he is very unlikely to be an Indian.  So we have shown an Indian connection but not that there is Indian blood.


The latest contact, Paul from New Zealand, is descended from Thomas and Lucy (nee GLASSPOOL) SOAL who emigrated with their family from Petersfield, Hampshire to NZ in 1874 and is also part of the same Sussex family.  Paul very kindly sent in 56 photos of his ancestors taken from what he believes to be the family album once owned by Thomas and Lucy, but unfortunately most of them are unmarked and those that are marked give little away.  Paul says he is waiting for the NZ winter to arrive when he hopes to do more research and speak at length to his only surviving aunt who he believes has quite a lot of family history to divulge.  I hope he will come back with whatever new findings he uncovers.  An abridged version of the history of Thomas and Lucy SOAL appeared in the journals for December 2008 and April 2009. 



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