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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report August 2004

(Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire)

By Bob Sheldon  

We have received no fewer than three contacts from the USA since I last reported.  Two of the respondents live in Arizona and as far as I know are unaware of each other but both are related by virtue of their ancestry in Kent.


Our web site prompted a Kentish descendant in the USA to make contact.  John Sole now living in Arizona, but who was born in Stodmarsh near Canterbury, wrote with information regarding his lineage back to his great grandparents Albert and Louisa (nee Daniels) Sole who were married in 1870 at Folkestone.  Albert was the head of a farming family in east Kent in the latter half of the 19th century and other descendants still farm in the Stodmarsh area.  Until John made contact the only information we had on him and his father Ernest was their birth dates.  Now we know that Ernest was a petroleum engineer who worked in Romania, where he married his wife Margareta, was a member of the Indian army during WW2, later worked in Iran and Kuwait before retiring back to the UK in 1963 and was a county councillor in Essex until just before he died in 1975.


We have traced John's family tree back 10 generations to John and Elizabeth (nee Cook) Sole who were married at Nackington, near Canterbury, in 1750 and raised their family a few miles away in Bekesbourne.


While visiting our family in California I received an e-mail from a lady, who also lives in Arizona and who was just about to set off for England with the intention of visiting as many as time will allow of the east Kent locations where her ancestors Edward and Ann Sole lived in the early 1800s before emigrating to the USA in 1849.  I was able to tell her that Edward was born in 1790 at Fordwich, near Canterbury and gave her a list of the actual locations connected with his family.  I also told her to look for a particular gravestone in Wickhambreux churchyard which held two of her relations.  So I hope she had a fruitful visit and I await news of her experiences and of her line of descent from Edward and Ann.


Also while visiting the USA I was able to visit our new member Ralph Marsh.  He and his wife Ethel made me very welcome at their home in California where they have lived for over 50 years.  Ralph was born in Canada but was baptised in Faversham, Kent where his ancestors had originated.  His connection with the Sole family is through the second marriage of his great grandmother Catherine Harris (nee Wise) to William Sole in 1854 at Faversham after the death of her first husband John Harris from whose marriage Ralph is descended.  Catherine gave birth to three Harris children and six Sole children and Ralph and I exchanged our respective family trees.  Unfortunately Catherine's second husband William Sole was the son of another of the many Edward Soles who were born in east Kent in the 18th century for whom we still lack evidence of their connections. 


My mention in the April journal of my efforts to make contact again with Donald Bell Sole has prompted a welcome response from his fourteen year old grandson David.  He lives in New Zealand and came across his grandpa's name after the article appeared in our web site and while he was researching for a school project.  David and his dad have offered to help with family information and I await further contact from them.


Phil Lynch sent me some 30 copies of BMD certificates for descendants of two of his Irish ancestors who emigrated back to England around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.  In so doing he also found additional branches of the tree previously unknown to us. 


Phil also found a heavily stained but legible copy of the certificate relating to his GGG-grandfather's enrolment as a Freeman of Dublin.  This reads:


"We certify that Charles Sole of N Earl Street was duly admitted and Enrolled a Freeman of the Borough of Dublin, in right of Service on the Twenty seventh day of October 1841."


Charles had moved from Deal to Ireland with his parents around 1823 when he was nine.  He started his working life in a grocer's store but progressed from being a clerk to a Flour merchant to becoming a Miller and Merchant later in life.  He died in Dundrum in 1885.


Our thanks to Geoff Knott for not only obtaining 27 Sussex wills proved at the Chichester Archdeaconry between 1553 and 1800 but for also transcribing them.  These old documents are difficult to read and Geoff has applied great skill and patience in revealing references to family connections of the various testators and the bequests they made.  As a generality the Sussex branches of the family were more financially endowed than those in Kent.  There was Christopher Sole of Warminghurst who died in 1675, one of the many yeomen recorded.  He left "all my servants  . . . . twelve pounds apiece . . . . . and bequeath unto my eldest son John all my lands and tenements in the county of Sussex . . ."  Future editions of the journal will contain extracts from some of these wills

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