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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report December 2002

By Maureen Storey  

In this journal we welcome two new members who are researching Sole families from my area: Olive Lavoie and Melissa Sole.

Olive is the great granddaughter of Henry Thomas Sole and Maria (née Wells) who with their children emigrated to Canada in the early 1870s. Henry was the grandson of William Sole and Dinah Woodland who married in Hackney in 1787 (thus Olive is a cousin of mine). We’ve been able to give Olive information about the descendants of William and Dinah and our reasons for believing that he is part of the Therfield family, in return she has given us data on Henry’s Canadian descendants.

Melissa found our website by chance and was amazed to see her husband’s grandfather in one of the pictures in The Photo Gallery. Her family have been traced back to the marriage of William Sole and Hannah Staff in Tivetshall St Mary, Norfolk, in 1775. At the time of his marriage William was said to be from the neighbouring parish of Dickleburgh but his baptism hasn’t yet been found.

Sarah-Jane Millington e-mailed to ask if we had any information on the family of her mother Patricia Anne Sole, who was born in the Wirral in 1948. Sarah-Jane told us how her grandfather Samuel Lawrence Sole was too young to join up during WWII but instead had been a part-time fire-fighter, whilst his father, another Samuel Lawrence, had been wounded on the Somme in WWI. We’ve been able to tell Sarah-Jane a great deal about her family’s origins and that the earliest record we have of them was the marriage of William Sole and Agnes Clare in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, in 1624.

While searching through the Irish GRO for records of his own family Phil Lynch came across the marriage of Frederick George Sole and Elizabeth McEvoy in 1900. This is one of the few Irish records that don’t concern Phil’s family so he sent a copy of the certificate to Bob Sheldon to see if we could place Frederick.

The most likely candidate is the Frederick George Sole, son of Moses James and Lucy Sole, whose birth was registered in Chipping Norton in 1876. Frederick and Elizabeth had two daughters in Ireland, Christina (1901) and Lucy (1903), and then moved to England, settling in the Chipping Norton area where several more of their children were born. The problem with the identification is that on his marriage certificate Frederick gave his father’s name as just James, not Moses James. If as seems likely Frederick did give the wrong name for his father when he married, he seems to be following a family tradition: when his presumed grandmother registered Moses’ birth she gave his father’s name as James when all the evidence we have from censuses etc. indicates that it was Samuel!

Three major new sources of information have become available in the last few weeks. The 1901 census is finally available on line and we’ve begun abstracting the Sole variant entries. Although we are gaining a lot of information it’s apparent even at this early stage that the standard of transcription is poor. Many families that we know should be there don’t appear in the index as Sole (or any of its variants), and I’ve already come across a couple of families that have been indexed as Sole but weren’t (one was Cole and the other looks like Tate!).

The second new source is the second edition of the LDS church’s British Vital Records Index. This edition contains more than twice as many records as the first edition and there is a significant increase in the number of Sole entries. Some of these have already helped to fill gaps in our database.

Lastly the Canadian 1881 census is now available on CD in the same format as the UK 1881 census. This should prove an invaluable tool for researching the Canadian families, though like the US censuses when the place of birth is outside Canada it only gives the country of birth (no town or county), making it harder to be certain that any identification is correct without some corroborating evidence.

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