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

Sole Co-ordinator's Report - April 1998

By Maureen Storey

Linda Butler, our Australian representative, managed to find time during a business trip to the UK last November to spend a few hours in Cambridgeshire with John Slaughter, Tony and me. After hearing so much about her over the years it was a great pleasure to meet her, especially since she came laden with more data on Australian SOLEs, chiefly those of the KeIshall and Layston families. Linda has also extracted the SOLE birth, marriage and death index entries for New South Wales for the Society.

Much of the last few months have been spent in entering the details of the Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire families on our database. And thanks to information supplied by one of our new members, Brendan Soul, one of our larger Middlesex trees has been linked back to its Gloucestershire origins. Brendan’s gt-gt-gt-grandparents were Eli and Elizabeth (nee Hodges) Soul who lived in Shoreditch, Middlesex, from the 1790s. Brendan has supplied us with detailed information about nearly two hundred of their descendants, including:

Joseph Soul (1805-1881), secretary to the Orphan Working School, who published a poem in memory of the Prince Consort;

Caleb Soul (1817-1894) who with his son Washington founded a chain of chemist’s shops in New South Wales; and

Matthew Augustus Soul (1829-1881), patent agent and engineer, who published the short-lived Marine Engineering News, a journal aimed at the shipbuilding and engineering trade.

Brendan is fortunate in that he has a large collection of family papers including letters, some dating from the 1790s, between Eli Soul and his brother Daniel in Shoreditch and their parents, John and Mary Soul, in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire.

Another of our new members is Lynda Budd whose grandmother, Belinda Sole, was born in North Walsham, Norfolk in 1884. According to the 1881 census, Belinda's father, William was born in Tasburgh, Norfolk while her grandfather James Sole was born in Pulham Market, Norfolk, in about 1809, though these have yet to be verified. Both William and James were ostlers and before becoming an ostler, William is said to have ridden as a postillion for the Earl of Suffield.

We have also received yet more information about Australian members of the KeIshall family, this time from Margery Smith, whose grandfather Walter Henry Sole was one of the brothers of Sole Bros. Circus fame. Margery has recently completed a book, Half a Life -The Diary of a Tobruk Rat, which is based on the diaries that her father kept from the day he joined the army in 1940 until his death at Tobruk in 1941. The first chapters give a short history of her mother Amy Sole’s early life and include many SOLE photos. Margery is keen to make contact with anyone who was in Tobruk in 1941 or who is descended from someone who was.

We have two new members from Canada who were introduced to the Society by our Canadian representative, Helene Weaver. One of these, Donna Maine is Helene’s second cousin, their great grandfather was Joseph Brooks Soul, one of the Olney family. The other is Dr J.A. Soles who traces his SOLES/SOLE family back to William and Margarita (nee Wyngaard) Sole whose son John was born in Linlithgo, Columbia, NY, in about 1762.

Last October, Helene published a book of personal narratives about her SOUL-BROWN family, Memories of the Thirties and Forties. This tells what it was like to grow up on a farm in Canada during the Depression and the Second World War. It contains an appendix that pays tribute to her mother, Nellie Soul, and to her grandfather J.B. Soul who struggled to create a farm from the bush.

In addition, we have received information from the following (though they do not wish to become members, have gladly shared their data with us):

Ken Page, whose gt-gt-grandparents were Philip Webb and Mary Soul (married English Bicknor, Glos. on 8 September 1805)

Janice Dale, whose gt-gt grandmother, Mary Sowell was born in Gt. Mundon, Herts. in 1809/10;

Beth Hallam, one of whose Spiller family was the first wife of John Layers Liscombe Sole (of Devonport).

Finally, on behalf of the Society, I would like to say thank you to Merle Storey. Through ill-health Merle is unable to continue with her family history research at present, but she has donated a copy of her work on her Bedfordshire SOLE family to the Society; a valuable addition to the Society’s records.

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