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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report August 2008

(Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire)

By Bob Sheldon

As I mentioned in my last report Beverly Carr, who is one of our Canadian members, came with her cousins, who are mainly from Florida, to tour southern England visiting places which appear on their family tree. They are descended from Annie SOLE and her husband Alexander FOSSEY; who were married in Margate, Kent in 1903 prior to their emigration to Florida in 1907.


I was able to meet up with the party during their visit in the village of St Peters, near Broadstairs in which Annie’s grandfather John married Ann JORDAN in 1835. One of the party, seemingly with eagle eyes, found a gravestone [see photo] to William SOAL who was buried there (aged 53) in 1783, but unfortunately he was not one of her ancestors. (See page 49)


Photo: Visitors from North America. REAR (L to R) Rene Fossey and Lindsey Robinson; FRONT (L to R) Beverly Carr, Margaret and Josephine Anne Fossey.

My mention last time of the memorial plaques in Stodmarsh church to Ernest Albert SOLE and Alfred Edgar SOLE prompted member Ann Christie to get in touch. Ann says that on an earlier visit to Stodmarsh she saw the plaques containing the reference to Sawkinge Farm. She also popped in to the Red Lion where the landlord was most insistent that she should knock on the door of the farmhouse. The farm is now owned by another family but Ann was made very welcome and was shown a photograph of Ernest Albert SOLE who died in 1900 during the Boer War. The photo is still kept on show in the front room.


Another member Chris Sole sent in a reference to John SOLE who was born in Stanford, Shropshire in 1365 according to information on the web at Geneanet, a French site. This date is well before parish registers were introduced and there was no indication as to the origin of the reference. I have passed the information to Maureen Storey but, intriguing as it is, it is unlikely that we shall be able to connect John to any of our families.


Regular readers will recall my mention from time to time of the Kent family who emigrated to New Zealand in 1841. New member Ken Bailey is a descendant of John SOLE who was the one member of that family who did not emigrate. We had discovered that John had married Emma LAWRENCE at Fordwich, near Canterbury, in 1846; they had three children before John died at the young age of 32 and Emma subsequently remarried. Ken is descended from Frances Susannah who was the youngest of John’s children. She married David STROUD at Canterbury in 1876. When I told Ken that he had many ‘distant’ cousins in New Zealand he replied “that’s terrible news! I have enough trouble sending Christmas cards to my first cousins here in the UK!”


Another new member is Sue Betteley who said she was trying to find any information on Mary SOLE of Nonington in Kent who married John BURNAPP in 1866. We were able to tell Sue that Mary was one of five children of Edward and Elizabeth (nee PALMER) SOLE and we had been able to trace Mary’s line back to her grandparents John and Elizabeth (nee COOK) SOLE who married at Nackington near Canterbury in 1750. We know very little about these early generations but we have identified over 460 descendants of which Sue is one.


A third new member is Evelyn Blay but having joined she has been very quiet. So Evelyn please let us know how you might be connected to one of our families and we will be happy to give you what details we have or try to give you guidance to where you should be looking.


In addition to our new members we have had a number of enquiries from persons who have hit upon our website or have sent messages via our web forum or e-mail. One such message was from a lady who was a descendant of a sister of Lucy GLASSPOOL who married Thomas SOAL, a miller, at Buriton, Hampshire in 1850. Thomas and Lucy had a family of nine children, three of whom died in infancy; then in 1874 they and their six children emigrated to New Zealand.


Our enquirer has only an extended link with the SOAL/SOLE name but she has been researching on behalf of the New Zealand descendants of this family and was particularly interested in Sarah SOAL the first born of Thomas and Lucy. There is some doubt as to where Sarah (aged 4) was buried in 1854 and regrettably we were unable to help as we have only the GRO index reference. I suggested that the death certificate may give some indication of the family’s address but it was unlikely to confirm the burial ground for Sarah. However, with the agreement of the descendants, we have been promised information and photos of the family’s early life in New Zealand which may form the basis of a future article.


Another enquiry with a New Zealand interest came by e-mail from a lady saying that she was connected via the wife of James SOLE, born 1819 who married there after emigrating from UK in 1841. Apparently James was our enquirer’s 3rd Great Uncle. She said “I just wanted to pop in to say Hi.” I thanked her for her interest and congratulated her on the level of research she had been able to cover to find James.


We have heard again from a contact in USA about his connection with a Kent family headed by Edward and Ann (nee ALLISON) SOLE who were married about 1820 but we do not know exactly where nor when. They had six known children, two of which died in infancy. The remaining family emigrated to USA in 1849 and settled in Missouri. One of our members, Ellyn Sutton, is descended from this family and I have asked our enquirer if he would like her to make contact with him.


The latest message is from a man in Sydney, Australia who found us via our web page. He is a descendant of Edward and Elizabeth (nee BROWN) SOAL who were married in Oving, Sussex in 1792. We were not aware of any branch of this family in Australia so this is to be followed up with great interest.


Return to The Sole Society Home Page