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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report - December 2000

(Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire)

By Bob Sheldon

Where do we come from?

I have been doing some statistical analysis of our database for the south east. The following table shows the results.

COUNTY Births Marriages
Kent (including South London)



Surrey (including South London)









Elsewhere UK









TOTAL 2932 1860

As a word of explanation for births and marriages taking place outside of the four counties; these include those persons who are descendants of south eastern ancestors. It is not a scientific study as we do not know what percentage of actual events we yet have in our records, however it confirms Kent is in the lead in giving a home to our ancestors.


Two of our new members, Diana Jones and Georgina Mountford, are descendants of one of our Kent lines although like many of us they do not live there now. Their line is our fourth longest covering 8 generations from Edward and Rose Hannah (DRAYSON) SOLE of Woodnesborough although we believe that Edward was born in Herne a few miles away. They now join our other members in this family, Jennifer Ball, Jo Hobbs and Charles Phesse.

I mentioned in the Journal for March 2000 that Sheila MacInnes and her husband David had uncovered a professional chart, dated 1986 by a Major Pearce, of her Sussex descendants which had been commissioned by Frederick Cecil SOLE of Connecticut, USA. I also noted that Sheila was hoping to trace Frederick and I am pleased to report her progress.

Unfortunately she discovered that Frederick had died over a year ago but with the help of her brother in law who lives in Maine she did locate Frederick's older brother William (Bill) L SOLE who had a copy of the Pearce chart. Bill has a son, Tom, who lives in Paris working for the American equivalent of the British War Graves Commission. On a recent visit to London Sheila and Tom were able to meet and in due course Tom hopes to bring his family over to visit his ancestors' counties of Sussex and Cornwall.

Graham Buckell, who found us through the Guild of One Name Studies, had traced his ancestry back to Sarah SOLE, who married Isaac MOCKETT on 14 July 1787 in St.Peters, Thanet, Kent. He had got stuck because there were two Sarah's in this village who were baptised in 1761 and 1763 either of whom could have been his. I sent him what we had on each Sarah and he was able to confirm through his Mockett evidence that we had linked them correctly. Graham has now given us details of Sarah's line down to his current generation.

William (Bill) Sole is a farmer and descends from ancestors who have lived and farmed in and around the village of Stodmarsh, near Canterbury since the early 1800s. He was kind enough to respond to my letter, telling him about the Society, with a hand drawn tree of his family. This helped me to enlarge our chart of 7 generations with previously unlinked names which I was able to send to him and which in turn has jogged his memory of cousins who had become quite distant but who he will now try to contact again.

Jackie Marshall sent an email asking if we knew anything about a Rose Hannah SOLE who was married to James STAMP in 1863 in the Isle of Wight. The marriage certificate disclosed she was "of full age" and her father was Edward, a labourer. Regrettably we do not know her origins. At that time all births were required to be registered but this was not enforced by law until the 1870s which may be the reason why we do not have a record of her birth.

Another email contact, Julie Charman, had traced her husband's family back to Florence SOLE who was married in 1897 to Frederick HOLTON in Margate, Kent. I was able to extend the line back a further 3 generations and to tell her of her cousins who are members of the Society, Sarah Knight, Jo Poole, Bob Saffery, Bob Sheldon, Derek Sole and Sue Sutton. In fact Bob Saffery is doubly related to her; his mother Dolly was the niece of Florence and his uncle Horace SAFFERY was the son in law of Florence.

We were taken a little to task in this email message " I went on your web site and saw no mention of my family in Watford. I am 16 and my name is Daniel SOLE. email me back if you get any news. - Dan". I replied regretting that he had been disappointed not to find a specific reference to his ancestors but explaining that we have records of thousands of SOLE ancestors and one day we may be able to transfer these to the Web, but meanwhile we were happy to help anyone who contacts us to identify their origins. I sent him the names in our records of his father and grandfather and asked him to confirm these so that I could let him have the full chart which shows he is descended from a Kentish SOLE but young Daniel has obviously moved on to other interests.

World War 1

Members with parents or grandparents who were soldiers in the 1914-18 war will like me have been waiting eagerly for the release of their records at the Public Record Office. There are many thousands of documents and most of them suffered bomb damage in the 1940 blitz on London, in fact the vast majority were completely destroyed. Those that were saved (estimated at around only 20-25%) are gradually being microfilmed and the letter 'S' names were released in August. I have made a start on including these records in our database.

A New Addition to the Tree

Finally I must mention the happy event for Sarah Knight and her husband Chris who now have another little 'Sole' for the family tree. Matthew was born in May and is a new brother for James and Sophie. He is a very contented baby according to mum who is another Kentish descendant. Sarah has been our Journal packer and poster for a few years but with the new baby she understandably feels that she can no longer continue to assist in this vital task. So we would like to thank her for all her help in the past and wish her and her family all best wishes for the future.

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