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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report August 2006

(Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire)

By Bob Sheldon

Mike Smith is a new member, but he has joined on behalf of his brother-in law Derrick Sole, so I guess Mike is the family historian.

Derrick lives in Nottingham and Mike has traced the family back to Alfred, his gg-grandfather, who lived in East Kent. Our records show that Alfred’s son William was born in Margate in 1858 and later worked on the railway eventually becoming a guard. During his travels he must have met Lucy BOOTH of Long Eaton, Derbyshire. They were married in Shardlow in 1882 where they brought up their eight children between 1884 and 1898. However we were able to tell Mike that we have traced Alfred back a further two generations to Edward and his wife Mercy, nee CHITTENDEN, who were married at Monkton in Thanet in 1792, but immediately following the wedding they were subject to a Removal Order sending them to nearby Chislet which was judged to be their lawful settlement under the Poor Law.

Edward and Mercy are at the head of our largest known SOLE family in Kent. Our membership includes eight cousins of Derrick, Kathryn Bullen (Australia), Sue Martin (USA), Edythe Robinson, Bob Saffery, Derek Sole and another Derek Sole, Sue Sutton (New Zealand) and myself.

Elizabeth Sole from South Africa has become a member and tells us about her grandfather Herbert Samuel SOLE and g-grandfather Henry John SOLE. We were able to advise her that Henry John ran a printing works in Grahamstown and was the son of Alfred SOLE who married Caroline PANKHURST in Sheppey, Kent in 1849 and emigrated to SA soon afterwards. As yet we do not know Alfred’s birth date or place. Elizabeth says she has uncovered quite a bit of data on her ancestors which we await with great interest for her to share with us.

Another recently joined member is Cecile Godlonton who also lives in South Africa. We await details of her research so far but it may be that she is also descended from Alfred SOLE and Caroline PANKHURST in Sheppey in 1849 and consequently a cousin of Elizabeth above.

Glynis Mayes says she came across our web-site by accident and contacted us to say that her maiden name was SOLE and her grandfather John Henry SOLE came from Portsmouth but that she had very little information about him. I asked her to send me what little she knew and from her reply it was clear that her grandfather may have spent his later life in Portsmouth, where he died in 1966, but he was in fact born in Ramsgate, Kent in 1886. He was the elder brother of James William SOLE and therefore an uncle of James Lester SOLE, who readers will recall from his amusing memoirs “Much Ado About Nothing” (see Vol 2, Nos 20-23).

John Henry had “disappeared” in our records after his birth until Glynis told us, that like his father John, he had been a Trinity House Lighthouse keeper and as such had been stationed all over Britain. He met and married Ellen JONES in Pwllheli, North Wales in 1911 and there were four children, all born in Holyhead between 1912 and 1925. Glynis’s father was George Hugh who sadly died just four years ago. Glynis shares the same cousins as Derrick Sole listed above.

Kenneth Soal recently joined the Society and we await details of his research before we can connect him probably with one of our Sussex/Hampshire lines where the SOAL spelling is common.

I followed up a Members’ Interest item in the Kent Family History Society journal from Arthur Stanford and he has been kind enough to send me some useful data from the Kent parishes of Coldred and Sibertswold which we did not have in our records. He had found our name after going back four generations to his gg-grandmother Elizabeth SOLES who married William STROOD at Elham in 1832. Their family consisted of 12 children between 1833 and 1854, all born at Barham. Because he is four generations removed from the SOLE name he did not wish to become a member, but he did provide a list of all the SOLE events he had found which were valuable. For example he found the only known reference in Kent to a Philadelphia SOLE who was baptised in 1820 at Sibertswold. We had previously known that she had married Frederick DOUGHTY at Ramsgate in 1844 but we did not know her parentage until Arthur sent us his list. This enabled us to connect her to another of our Kent families starting in Bekesbourne in 1757.

Finally we have a case of history repeating itself. Mike Sole contacted us having seen the “Memoirs of an Octogenarian” of Lionel Sole (see Vol 3, Nos 1-4) to say that he and his wife had recently purchased property in Kent in what was formerly known as Primrose Alley where Lionel had lived in the 1920s. Lionel has since confirmed that it is the same property, although when he revisited the area a few years ago he noticed that major changes had been made to the structure of the building. A further coincidence is that Mike and Lionel both belong to the same family but are separated by two generations.

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