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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report - November 1998

By Maureen Storey

Since the Society began we have accumulated a great deal of information about the SOLE families that initially was recorded on A2 paper charts. Much of our recent effort has been directed at transferring these charts on to computer, thus making storage less of a problem, greatly speeding up access to a particular individual's records and making it far easier to supply information to members. We are glad finally to be able to report that this transfer is now complete.

The charts contain information gathered from a great variety of sources and besides the charts themselves we have several other SOLE and variant indexes which members can consult via their research co-ordinator. These include extracts from:

Lizzie Love is also keeping us up to date on her progress in sorting through and verifying the data that her mother Violet Innes collected. Collating this information has proved to be a major task and will no doubt keep her busy for some time to come but she has provided us with valuable information on a variety of families, filling in details and enlarging family groups.

Our records now include 15 families of over 100 individuals, the largest being:

This still leaves us, however, with a large number of smaller families many of which, particularly those in Gloucestershire, should eventually prove either to link together or to be off shoots of one of the larger trees. This is where we need the major research effort now. Some of the links we are looking for will probably come from the censuses; initially we have been concentrating on acquiring information from the 1851 census indexes published by the various family history societies. Unfortunately, unlike the 1881 index these are neither freely nor easily accessible, hence our appeal to members for information from any indexes they may hold (even a zero return allows us to disregard an area). The 1851 census should provide the evidence that will enable us to link many of young parents in the 1881 entries to their own parents and siblings.

Where the split in the families occurs before the censuses, however, finding the evidence to link them back together again is a much harder task, with an element of luck involved concerning whether the relevant documents have survived. The evidence we need can come from a wide variety of sources, for example:

Hopefully, with some diligent searching we should be able to find more such links. Piecing together the various families is reasonably straightforward when we have censuses and/or parish registers to work from but becomes increasingly difficult after 1891 when really all we have to go on is the GRO indexes. In a bid to try to learn something about these later generations (and perhaps gain us some new members) Bob Sheldon has recently written to some of the I20 SOLEs in the south eastern telephone directories; if this proves an effective approach, we may consider extending it to other areas.

Bob has renewed our contact with the Soule Kindred in America. This is a family group rather than a name society. To be a member, you have to prove your descent from the George Soule who went to America on the Mayflower. They have a large amount of material on George's descendants and their 'holy grail' is to find George's origins in England. There have been several theories about this over the years but so far none has been proved to be correct. We hope to start a journal exchange with them and whilst it would appear unlikely that any of the Kindred themselves will join us, we hope that they will pass our name on to their rejects, those who fail to prove descent from George to the Kindred's satisfaction. Since the Society became active on the Internet, it has been only too apparent that as yet we know very little about many of the American SOLE families. As a result, we are very seldom able to help them with their queries. Since many of these families are likely to prove to have English origins, this is another area that we should now begin to explore further.

We would like finally to ask again that members keep us up to date with the progress of their research, both backwards and sideways. Whilst most members give us a full outline of their known family when they join the Society, it is very seldom that they think to update this. Potentially, this is a loss to both the Society and the member. We hold quite a lot of information on two or three generation families that we have been as yet unable to tack on to one of the larger trees, so it is possible that we have information about your 'add-ons' but unless you tell us about the new connections you have found, we will not be able to pass the information on, simply because we will not know that it is of interest to you. So if you find that you have lost great-great-uncle Tom because he moved to Sunderland after he became married, please let us know and we might be able to tell you about his descendants.


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