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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report April 2004

(Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire)

By Bob Sheldon  

We welcome two new members who are both connected to the same Sussex tree which we have traced back to the village of Rustington  near Worthing in 1594.

Graeme Hewitt is relatively new to family research but he has already traced his family back through his grandmother, Florence May Sole of Portsmouth to his great grandfather, one of the many Philips in this family.  Philip moved westward out of Sussex in the middle years of the nineteenth century to start the Portsmouth branch of the family.  His son Harold was born there in 1858 and Harold’s wife Madeline gave birth to six children of which Florence was next to the youngest.  Before Graeme became a member we knew nothing about any descendants of her or her siblings.

Jacqueline Houghton is also a newcomer to our hobby and says she has “found it quite exciting”.  She and her sister Margaret Capelin, who I understand also intends to become a member, have already started to visit graveyards in their quest.  Jacqueline and Graeme are on different branches of the family but I have established that they are “4th cousins, once removed”.  She is descended from Henry Sole who was born in Rustington in 1789.  He decided early in the nineteenth century to set off eastwards to Brighton where he married Mary Beaver and raised a family of five.  Their descendants appear to have stayed in East Sussex where Jacqueline’s father Charles Leslie was born in Eastbourne.  He was an officer in World War 1 reaching the rank of captain.  Jacqueline has his diary, some of which was written in the trenches, and in due course we hope she will allow us to publish extracts.

It is pleasing to note that we now have six members, and hopefully seven in due course, who belong to this Tree.

Last July I sent to Geoff Knott a copy of the latest Tree chart of our other large Sussex family which starts in 1681 at Heyshott, a village near Midhurst.  He and Lizzie Love had previously compared notes from their individual researches.  He has just returned a copy to me which has a number of amendments and very many new pieces of information for which we are grateful.  I understand he has also included data from a contact who has done much research on this family although “Sole” is not his main interest.  We are grateful for each of their efforts and it just remains for me to update our records.

Fred Sole, our president and joint founder of the Society, drew to my attention a cutting from the Johannesburg “Herald” which referred to Stephen “Sam” Sole. Last November he was declared the winner of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award 2003.  Fred recalled that Sam is the son of Donald Bell Sole who was one of our founder members in 1991 and whose ancestor Alfred emigrated to South Africa from Kent in the early 1800s.  Donald had previously been the South African ambassador to the United States in 1981.  We subsequently lost contact with him, so after reading the newspaper cutting I tried to get in touch with his son Sam, but so far I regret without success.

Other activities continue with a desire to obtain more of our ancestors’ Wills.  These often provide valuable information about family connections.  Both Phil Lynch and Geoff Knott have been active in this area.  Copy Wills prior to 1858 are now available for a small charge from The National Archives website and after 1858 from any of the Probate Registries.  Any members who make use of these services are requested to send us a copy of the Will to add to our growing library.

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