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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report August 2001

By Maureen Storey

 Maureen Storey

Carmel McMullen has been researching the family of her husband’s great grandmother Annie Sole.

According to the Australian marriage and death records Annie was born in Cheltenham in 1870 and was the daughter of William Sole and Sarah Potter. The birth details given were a little misleading but Carmel eventually found Annie’s birth in the Winchcombe Registration District in 1871; so far so good, but from there her research became more complicated.

By 1881 William and Sarah had moved to Kempsey in Worcestershire where they are listed with five children but no Annie. The only Annie Sole in the 1881 index with the correct birth details is living with Moses Sole and his family in Churchill, Oxon, where her relationship to Moses is given as ‘niece’.

If this is the correct Annie then William and Moses are brothers, a hypothesis further supported by William giving his place of birth as Eastleach (in about1840) and Moses as Borethorpe, part of the parish of Eastleach Martin (in 1852). A search of the Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville 1851 censuses for William failed to find him – it did, however, turn up a 9-year William Packer living with Samuel Soles and his wife Ann (nee Packer) in Eastleach Martin. Could it be that the young William Packer had become William Sole?

Initially the easiest way to find further evidence for this idea seemed to be to find Samuel and his family in the 1861 census to see if the family now included Moses. Unfortunately as yet we’ve been unable to find them in either 1861 or 1871, though Samuel is back in Eastleach Martin in 1881. Having had no luck with the censuses, the alternative was to buy Moses’s birth certificate – but instead of making everything crystal clear, this only muddied the waters still further since it gave Moses’s parents as James Soles and Ann Packer. Could there have been two Ann Packers married to Sole men in the same area at the same time or was there a mistake on the certificate? At present this is still unresolved, though a mistake seems more likely as we have no record of a James Soles in the Eastleach area at this time.

Richard Myhill wrote asking if we had any information on Ann Sole who married Samuel Bartram at Tivetshall St Mary, Norfolk, in 1823. We were able to take Richard’s research back another two generations to William Sole and Hannah Staff who married in Tivetshall St Mary in 1775 and to put him in touch with two distant cousins, one descended from Ann’s brother James and the other from her sister Eliza.

Terry Sole from Canada has only just begun researching his family. He says his father never mentioned his parents and to date all that he knows is that his father Alfred George Sole was born in London in 1907. Unfortunately this falls in the gap in our sources between the last available census in 1891 and 1911 when the GRO indexes began to include the mother’s maiden name so the only immediate help we’ve been able to give Terry is the GRO reference for his father’s birth. Once Terry has his grandparents’ names from the birth certificate we should be able to help him further.

Frances Soal who married John Hardwick in Hildersham in 1766 was the subject of an enquiry from Peter Young. At present we are unable to place Frances in any of our So(a)l(e) families but we were able to put Peter in touch with Sue Turner, one of his distant cousins who had sent a similar query only a few months ago.

Fred Simon emailed us to give some information about his Sole family who are believed to have originated in Spain. Fred says that the family has a long tradition of being watch and jewellery makers and that his branch moved from Spain to Hungary where they were jewellers to the King (some of their work is on display in an Austrian museum) with later generations emigrating from there to Canada and the USA.

The first volume of the Federation of Family History Society’s National Burial Index is already proving its worth and has enabled us to identify several Sole deaths.

Its coverage varies greatly between the counties with Gloucestershire being the best represented of the So(u)(a)l(e)(s) home counties. However, burial records often don’t contain enough information for a definite identification to be made, for example, the index lists the burials of two Thomas Souls in All Saints, Worcester, one in 1709 and one in 1711 – at a time when we have three generations of Thomases in the Worcester family and no way of telling which two these were.

On the other hand it also points to parishes where previously unknown families were living, for example there are three Sole burials in Writtle in Essex, a parish that hadn’t previously featured in our database

Return to The Sole Society Home Page