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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report April 2002

By Maureen Storey  

In this journal we welcome two new members, both of whom trace their family back to Kelshall in Hertfordshire.

John Comely is a descendant of Eliza Sole, daughter of Stephen and Louisa. Eliza married Samuel Manning in Sandon, HRT, in 1850 and they had eight children. At about the same time that their cousins in Australia were founding the Sole Bros Circus, three of the sons of Samuel and Eliza Manning were setting up the Manning Bros Travelling Fair which is still in business today. It would be interesting to know whether one enterprise inspired the other (and if so which was first) or whether the idea developed independently in Hertfordshire and New South Wales.

Les Blackmore is a descendant of Eliza’s brother George. Les’s grandfather Jonathan Sole was born in Kelshall in 1856 but he and wife, Sarah, and their five children disappear from the area after 1891. Until hearing from Les, the 1891 census was the last record we had of Jonathan but we can now add a further six children to Jonathan’s family, two by Sarah and four by his second wife, who he married in Poole, Dorset in 1900.

Malcolm Margetts contacted us after the article about ‘The Lost Souls’, the five sons of William and Julia Annie Soul of Gt Rissington, GLS, who were killed in the First World War, appeared in the Saga Magazine and the national press. (The article is reproduced in this journal.) Malcolm’s wife is a descendant of one of the brothers’ sisters and he was keen to add to what he knew of the family. The ‘Lost Souls’ are descendants of Edward and Elizabeth Soul whose children were born in Chedworth and Sherborne, GLS, between 1787 and 1804.

Another descendant of this couple is Tim Soles who has recently found Edward’s baptism in 1755 in Yanworth, GLS. The baptism indicates that Edward is another son of William Soul and Mary Sansom, who currently head our Northleach tree – the combined Chedworth and Northleach family now numbers over 700 people.

Sarah Sole, who was born in Chatteris in 1846, was the subject of a query from Julia Campbell. In 1865 Sarah married Charles Taylor, the brother of Julia’s great grandfather and Julia wanted some background on the Chatteris Soles to add to her research on the Taylor family. We were able to give her some general background and in return she has given us information about Sarah’s children.

Wendy Johanssen asked if we had any information on Martha Sole who appeared in the 1851 Bethnal Green census with her husband Thomas Cannon. The census indicates that Martha was born about 1810 in Clapton, MDX. Martha was the sister of my 3xgt grandfather John Sole and so we were able to give Wendy a great deal of information on her Sole ancestry. Unlike many family historians, however, Wendy’s chief interest is in tracing her maternal line and she is now stuck at Martha’s mother, Dinah Sole (nee Woodland), whose birth details have eluded me for more years than I care to remember.

It is nowadays very rare for us to be unable to help enquirers looking for a UK-born So(u)l(e)(s) but in the last few months there have been two such cases. Loretta Westra asked if we knew anything about her great grandfather George Sole, who emigrated to Nebraska some time before his marriage there to Anna Jane Holland in 1886. According to Loretta’s family sources George was born in Little Downham, CAM, in 1859. Unfortunately we haven’t yet found George’s birth, though research is still underway.

Geraldine Burgess hoped that we would be able to help her in her research into the family of her grandmother, Mabel Mellors Sole. According to her marriage certificate Mabel was the daughter of William Sole, a valet, and our records show she was born in Reading, BRK, in 1883. This was the only Sole event in Reading in this period, and to date we haven’t been able to identify Mabel’s father in a census to find where he was born. Hopefully the 1901 census will provide the answer (eventually!).

The Canadian National Archives have begun putting the attestation papers of their First World War soldiers on the Internet:

This has enabled us to locate some of the So(a)(u)l(e)(s) who disappear from the UK records. There is also an index of ‘Home Children,’ who were sent to Canada to start a new life, but the details given are very sparse and it is difficult to identify individuals.

Return to The Sole Society Home Page