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

SOLE Co-ordinator's Report December 2011

By Bob Sheldon


We welcome Jenny Kennett to membership.  She is the sister of Eric Kennett who has been a member since 2005 and between them they have added to our knowledge of their Kentish ancestry and Jenny thought it was time to become a member in her own right.  She was hoping to join Eric at our 20th Anniversary lunch in October but an accident at home prevented her from coming.  We hope she is now recuperating well.

Eric was at our special gathering and he regularly attends these annual events where he meets up with his cousins, Bernard Jones and Georgina Mountford who also often attend and compare notes on family happenings.  They all stem directly or by marriage from Edward SOLE and his wife Rose Hannah DRAYSON who married in Woodnesborough, Kent in 1823.  We are fortunate in having three other members who are connected with this family; Colin Aris, Jennifer Ball and Linda Brand and I think I am right in stating that these five members, now six with Jenny, make up the largest group of cousins in our current membership.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

A second new member this year is Maurice Williams who lives in New Zealand and is descended from our other large Kentish family which originated with William SOAL and his wife Ann TANNER.  They married in Canterbury in 1733 although they lived a few miles away on the coast in Reculver.  Maurice is descended from David SOLE, one of the five brothers who emigrated from Kent to New Zealand in 1841 with their mother Susannah GORE (nee SOLE) and her new husband, Richard FOREMAN.  We are especially pleased to welcome Maurice because he has introduced us to a line of descendants that we did not previously know about.  David’s daughter Elizabeth SOLE married Peter EVA in 1875 and as so often happens we lost track of her after her marriage.  Maurice has traced his connection back through his mother, Irene and grandmother Minnie to his great grandparents Elizabeth and Peter.

Maurice also sent in a newspaper cutting referring to a cousin George SOLE who was born in 1920 and joined the Royal NZ Air Force after the outbreak of war in 1939.  “George was a fighter pilot with 607 Squadron when his Spitfire went missing while in action over Burma on 20th January 1944.  The 24 year-old’s name was etched into a memorial column at the Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore.”     

We received a request for information from Paul regarding his GG-Grandmother Charlotte SOLE who married George NASH in 1839 at Canterbury.  Charlotte was connected with the same Kent family as Maurice but again we ‘lost’ her after her marriage to George.  Paul did not wish to join the Society but I told him what we knew of Charlotte and her forebears.  In turn Paul told us that Charlotte and George had 15 children between 1849 and 1861 which was a large family even by Victorian standards.  Six of the children did not reach the age of ten and Paul is descended from the ninth  child William (1851-1917).  So this family has grown by 25 persons from this information.

On a note of sadness we have to record the death at the age of 93 on 18th May 2011 of Donald Bell Sole at his home in South Africa.  Don, who was the South African Ambassador to the USA in the 1980's, was one of our founder members in 1991.  He continued his membership until 1998 when, with failing eyesight, he and his wife Elizabeth moved into a retirement home which caused him to dispense with much of his family history records.  He did however pass on essential papers to his brother Michael who was kind enough later to send us a copy of his further researches.  We offer our condolences to his wife and daughter. 


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