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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report December 2008

(Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire)

By Bob Sheldon

I mentioned last time the contact we had had with someone who had performed research in the UK for her New Zealand cousin who is descended from Thomas and Lucy (nee GLASSPOOL) SOAL. 


They had emigrated from Hampshire in 1874.  We have now been in touch with her cousin Bev Trotter in NZ who has written a detailed history of her family from those early days after the family arrived in Ashburton in the South Island.  I have abridged her history but hopefully I have maintained successfully the family stories and anecdotes of the original. Her article can be read in this edition of Soul Search.  I am pleased to welcome Bev as a new member of the Society.


There have been no other new SOLE members since my last report but our existing members, that is those who have made contact, have been keeping busy.  We are always pleased to hear about your researches, or any other developments on the family history front, so please keep in touch.


At our Annual Gathering in October we had a good show of members connected with families originating in the southeast of England. 


Sue Betteley brought all her records and we tried to sort out her connection with Mary SOLE who was born in 1782 at Nonington in Kent.  A lot hangs on a marriage of Mary to John BURNAP in 1816 at Nonington.  All subsequent information on this family, e.g. Census entries and ten baptisms of their children between 1816 and 1838, suggest that Mary was born around 1797, some fifteen years later than the known birth in 1782.  We cannot discount the possibility that the first Mary died and John remarried another Mary because clearly the former Mary SOLE would have been past childbearing age for the six younger children to have been hers.  Sue intends as soon as possible to examine the marriage entry in the parish register to look for clues which may confirm things one way or the other. 


Michael Smith was at the gathering and introduced himself as the family historian for his relations as he was acting on behalf of his brother in law Derrick Sole who we discovered is connected to one of our Kent familiesI was able to give Michael a copy of Derrick’s line back to Edward SOLE who was born in 1758 in Herne.  Michael will be checking his research against ours for discrepancies or confirmation and I hope for any additional information.   


Linda Brand again turned up with more photos and additional data for her Kentish family.  Linda had obtained an obituary for Frances DOWN, nee SOLE, who died in 1928 in the Isle of Wight “in her 94th year.  She was one of the oldest residents of Ryde and greatly esteemed by a numerous circle of friends.”  Frances had been born into a family of twelve at Woodnesborough and she married John DOWN in IOW in 1856.  Unfortunately we do not know what took her so far away from her mainly farm labouring family in east Kent, but with John eventually to become one of the Principals of the firm of Wallis, Riddett and Down in IOW, it proved to be a good move.


Colin Sole continues to be active in his researches and he brought along more data on his Sussex family which has caused us to revise our records regarding two of the many “Philips” in his tree.  After Philip SOLE (born 1819 in Rustington) married Sarah Ann KING in 1844 at Littlehampton, the family moved to Portsmouth where they brought up their family of seven.  In the 1881 census Philip gave Portsea instead of Rustington as his place of birth which we can now see was probably a convenient, if incorrect, answer to complete the census return, which included four of his known children even though the two daughters gave their married names.


Beverly Carr has now written her article (which also appears in this edition) on the UK visit by the group of USA cousins in July 2008.  Perhaps those of us who live in the UK and can visit ancestral locations with relative ease, may not fully appreciate the thrill of those descendants of past emigrants who make a once in a lifetime visit.


Finally we had an interesting approach from a descendant in Argentina of Mary Ann SOLE and Adam Collard LAMBERT whose son William emigrated to Argentina in 1874.  This is the first time I have learnt of a connection with Argentina and I am anxious to further our knowledge.  Apparently my contact has copies of William’s journals and letters which would be of great interest.   


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