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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report April 2005

By Maureen Storey  

In this journal we welcome four new members: Judith Sole, Lesley Bond, Jean Muckelt and Robert Barfus.


Judith’s interest in her husband’s Sole ancestry was sparked partly by BBC’s ‘Who do you think you are?’ and partly by the birth of her twin grand-daughters Imogen and Olivia Sole. Her husband’s grandfather Francis Gregory Sole was born in Eyeworth, BDF, in 1887. He and his wife Rose (nee Geeves) had five sons between 1907 and 1927 – sometime between 1915 and 1917 they moved from Bedfordshire to the village of Croydon, CAM. Francis’s family has been traced back as far as the marriage of William Soule and Agnes Clare in Stotfold, BDF, in 1624.


Lesley asked if we had any information on the family of her grandfather William Arthur Sole, who lived most of his life in Hackney. The GRO indexes revealed that there were two registrations of a William Arthur Sole in Hackney, both in the first quarter of 1904. One of them was the son of a William Philip Sole, who is a member of Bob Sheldon’s family, and the other was the son of a James Edward Sole, one of my family. Just to add to the confusion the families lived only a few streets apart in Clapton. It was finally established that James Edward was Lesley’s great grandfather.


Jean is researching her husband’s family and had traced one of his lines to Harriett Soole (b 1812, Ickleton), who married Jabez Kemp in 1839, and then back further to Richard Soole (1762-1816) and Ann Seymour (1765-1836). We are currently exchanging information on the Ickleton family with Jean.


Robert is looking for some clue as to the identity of his parents of his great grandfather Henry Soles (1847-1929). By the age of 3 Henry was living on a farm in Indiana in the care of a William Campbell. Nothing is known of his parents and Robert surmises that they had died prior to 1850, perhaps the victims of an Indian attack.


Robyn Smith e-mailed from Australia to ask if we could help with her research into the family of her mother-in-law Margaret Sowells Smith. Margaret’s grandfather James Sowells was born in Norfolk in 1857. Some time after the birth of his youngest child in 1891 he and his family (wife Alice and children Walter, Emma and Louisa) emigrated to Australia and settled in Sydney. Robyn found that on James’s birth certificate his mother’s maiden name was given as Sarah Blacknell whereas on his sister Sarah’s it was given as Sarah Duck and she wondered if we could explain this discrepancy. I’ve given her the GRO reference necessary to obtain the marriage certificate for James’s parents and am waiting to hear if this throws any light on the problem.


Michael Sole has traced his ancestry back to Alfred Sole and Caroline Pankhurst who emigrated to South Africa in 1852. Michael has been unable to establish where and when Alfred was born and wondered if we were able to help. It is believed that Alfred and Caroline married before emigrating and a quick check of the GRO indexes revealed possible marriages for them one in 1849 in Sheppey and the other in 1845 in Pancras. We’re now waiting to see if either of these is the ‘right’ Alfred.


A new visitor centre has been built next to the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, and Ken and Pam Linge have been creating a database of the soldiers commemorated on the memorial with the intention of making it available at the visitor centre. Their aim is to add to the minimal information already available from the Commonwealth War Graves Registers. In response to their request for help we were able to give them some information on Jonah Sole (1888-1916) of the Stotfold family, and King Ernest Sole (1876-1916) of the Kelshall family.


We’ve begun making contact with those who have registered a Sole or variant name on the GenesReunited website. The response has so far been surprisingly good and though in many cases the contacts prove to have only a peripheral interest in the Sole etc. names we are getting sufficient new information to make it worthwhile.  


Ed: for further information visit:   You can search for names free of charge but to make contact with other members there is a small annual fee. At the time of writing there are over 28 million names on the site and it is still growing rapidly. The majority of the content is British and it is well worth a visit 


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