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

Chairman's Report - April 2001

By Bob Solly

The New Year has seen a surge of enthusiasm from the members of the Society, as they become involved in activities which further our knowledge of the various names of interest within our group. They are finding it rewarding although in most cases the information that they are researching and collating may well be peripheral to their personal interest. In particular the members with Sewell interests have been giving their time to producing a very substantial amount of valuable information that enables the Society to become the most respected source of data about this surname.

As you will have read in the last journal we have information on about 14,000 Sole entries, 9,000 Saul and 30,000 Sewell’s. I have been working on the Solley GRO indexes (which already exist on paper, courtesy of one of our early members who had spent a considerable time in the pre-computer era) and estimate that there will be about 5,000 births and deaths, many of which will not be on our well researched family tree database (which contains 2,500 Solley’s extracted from the IGI and numerous other sources). We do not have any members interested in the Soley variant, so these have been excluded.

In total, therefore, we will have access to about 60,000 items which indicates that we have a good chance of finding some information to assist researchers into our names.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the work, particularly the simple typing, or checking of entries in a list. Once computerised the lists may be sorted, for example, by registration district thereby increasing the chance of associating families together. This work helps us to fulfil the fundamental objective of the Society, which is to promote and engage in comprehensive worldwide research into the genealogy and family history of families carrying our surnames.

It is important to recognise the contributions that your committee makes to the development of the Society. The February meeting boasted the largest attendance ever at Tony Storey’s house (all converging together with an enthusiasm for Maureen’s cakes) and resulted in an energetic discussion in which everyone had a contribution to make. Many thanks to them all.

Finally, I would like to thank Tim Soles for the excellent work he has done in producing journals, to ever higher standards. In addition to this he has put his considerable talents to developing and maintaining our web site at A model of its’ kind, I quote from a recently received note from Cheryl Sewell, a new member:

"What a wonderful web site! I have been researching my husband’s family off and on for years, but nowhere have I found more information than here.

I traced his family to Virginia in the US in the 1600’s to Henry and Alice (Willoughby) Sewell, then back one more generation to Henry from 1610 in England, died in Virginia....

Please accept our membership."

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