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


ANNOUNCEMENTS - December 2009


This article was originally published in the December 2009 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society


From Lois Thompson Rekowski, descendant on Lois Solley Thompson:


Interesting things afoot with the Pennsylvania Solleys in US. The two branches are NOT related according to our DNA tests...


Both branches date to 1800's, and in the same areas, so this is a big disappointment.


We desperately would like a Solley male descendant from the county of Kent in the UK to take a DNA test to see if you match either of our results.


Family Tree DNA has a sale on until December 31. If anyone would be interested on your end, please contact me. We will pick up the costs here, and the kit will come to you. It requires only 3 mouth swabs over a 6 hour time period, during which you cannot eat (otherwise the DNA from your roast beef at lunch may mess up the results).


Please forward this request to the Solly/Solleys/etc. who might be interested in participating. Thank you in advance for all assistance that you can give us. We much appreciate it.



Solly Book Recommendation from Lynne Burlingham:


Henry Solly: These Eighty Years, 2 volumes (Vol 1 1893; Vol 2 1898). I have had a copy of this book on loan from Bristol University Library, but would like to have my own copy. I think I have only ever come across it for sale once before and then it was at vast price. Checking yet again on the other day I see it is now available as a 'print on demand' book. It seems to be available from various booksellers at differing prices. When I looked the cheapest seemed to be about 15 for volume 1 and 18 for volume 2, plus postage of course.



For Sale Thomas Sewell


Kenneth Jacob has for sale a small archive of Thomas Sewell, a cabinet maker of Alnwick, Northumberland. It dates from the 18th and early 19th centuries. There are some 30 manuscripts relating to his decease and property he owned in Alnwick. There is also some correspondence with beneficiaries of his will, one who moved to New York and possible then to Canada. He is asking 80. If you are interested please contact him on



Soule Name Origins


We have received the following message from a non-member Armando Framarini:


Looking at the name Soule and the clues that come from the name.  First clue: French style spelling and the sound of the name. Do we look to France, maybe or another country using the French language?


Looking for a second clue in the name Soule itself:


1) Possibly it means the fish Sole. In English the fish is Sole like it sounds. In Dutch it is Tong. Also a flounder fish name Schol. However the French speaking sound is the same as English.


2) But many names also reference a place, so we should look for places that sound like "Soule" or in the native tongue of that country. In looking towards the Netherlands, it appears that there is a Tongeren, in Zeeland and a Tongerlo in Belgium. But wait, we should look back 400 plus years to see if any other places use Soule or sound "Sole" When we do this we find 3 place in a Belgium Book or royal places and nobility. Here are these 3 places: There is the old land of the hamlet of Solt, possibly a small Fiefdom ( Heerlijkheid) in the 13th and 14th century, was later distributed over Maaseyk, Gruitrode and (a small part ) over Opitter. Till the end 19th century there were quarrels over its borders with the nearby villages, Most of the land was quite infertile moorland, exception the borders of the small river the "Itterbeek". Maaseyk-Solt (Neersolt) measured only 145 hectares and had in 1650 only 15 houses, in Opsolt (Gruitrode) 25 houses. In 1958 the number of houses in Neersolt had increased to 38 houses with 224 inhabitants.


What is special about Gruitrode? Before we answer this let us look at name Soule once again. What does the root of Soule mean? Sol is the root with several meanings one being the sun, it also means salt, but also one meaning to grind very finely or to Mill. It can also be a tax or toll for usage of a road. Gruitrode has WATERwheel house on the river! So we have a (1) a MILL, (2) waterways that possibly contain Sole and Schol. (3) the (van)/(de) Soldt/Solt families. (4)I think old roman highways are being discovered recently near here (5) And if we look at ancient maps the area was called TSOLT.


To add to this I found a seal for Jan Van Solle Van Tsolle of the 1400's


Tsolle must be another form of TSOLT and in Belgium most places carry 2 names for each city depending on the language you were speaking.


If the Soldt/Solt family are not a match a family very near here would be my best guess to resolve this mystery. Heraldry may help answer this problem giving several clues as well but I will address that at another time.  


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