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

Sole Co-ordinator's Report – March 1997

Kent, Sussex and Hampshire

By Bob Sheldon

The south-eastern corner of England has been well inhabited by our family groups over the years. There have been many spelling variations to the name, but primarily SOLE and SOAL appear to dominate. So far, I have been concentrating on the Kentish connection, but I have now been able to extend the area I cover to embrace the above mentioned counties which include London south of the River Thames.

I have extended my computer database by the addition of the GRO index up to 1950 - it now contains over 4,200 events - and will shortly be adding IGI data for these additional counties.

By far the largest line now identified is that of Edward Sole of St. Peters-in-Thanet, Kent. He was born there in 1718 and as it happens, I lived in the same village for the first eighteen years of my life, some 240 years later. I think Edward might still recognise the church and one or two cottages in the village.

A source of some frustration at present is not being able to trace Edward’s parents. They do not appear to have been married in St. Peter’s church, nor in the two adjacent parishes. The mission is on to find them.

Edward had 642 (currently known) descendants but there are potentially many more which we have not yet identified. One line that has been mentioned before in Soul Search (Vol. l No.7) followed the emigration of the widow of Edward’s grandson (also Edward) and her seven boys to New Zealand in 1841. These lads all subsequently married and provided another 516 known descendants via the male lines. Some of the family stayed in England and we know of 88 descendants via the male lines and 15 by those female lines made known by Society members.

The Society’s presence on the Internet has introduced two members to me with connections in this south-eastem comer of England.

Existing member Ann Turner (living in Toronto, Canada) has identified her ancestry back to gt-gt-gt-gt-grandfather William Sole who was born circa 1780 in Hampshire, probably in the Portsea area. We have exchanged data and I have been able to fill in some of the gaps in Ann’s history with events from the GRO index. Unfortunately this index only provides very limited information and the 6 charge for a copy certificate is prohibitive especially as you don’t know if is the right certificate until it is received and paid for.

New member John Pimentel, living in Hudson, Massachusetts, USA, has traced the ancestors of his wife, Kate, back to gt-gt-gt-gt-grandfather Richard Soal who was buried in 1785 at Trotton near Midhurst in Sussex. His birthplace has not yet been identified. Over the years the family appears to have straddled the Sussex and Hampshire border living between Midhurst and Petersfield a distance of around 10 miles but in the 20th century they appear to have settled in Hampshire. Again I have been able to provide GRO index data to John towards completing his research.

Another recently joined member Elizabeth Love has introduced herself as the daughter of Violet Soal who died a few years ago but who researched the SOLE name extensively and left many documents. It is understood that these papers are deposited at the Society of genealogists and Don Steel has been sorting and indexing them. It is hoped that Elizabeth will be able to assist with this sorting exercise that covers her family in the south London area.

Finally, may I ask for any member with connections in this corner of England whom I have not yet contacted, to make themselves known to me.

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