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



from Jackie Marsh


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



I first started researching my familiesí history late in 2006 thinking that I would not find anything really exciting, how wrong could I be!


My mother asked me to look first at her motherís maiden name Saul.  After floundering around for a while, I discovered the Sole Society and duly sent off my membership fee, and what a good job I did.


I made contact with John, the Saul co-ordinator who pointed me in the right direction on a number of issues.  But the real breakthrough was when I read a back issue of the Sole Society magazine and read an article written by John concerning another member, Chris Leather from New Zealand.  Parts of the story around Chrisís family rang bells with me as a number of things were very similar to my family history.


My mother and her sisters all agreed that their great grandfather had deserted his wife and three young sons and run away.  Family folklore said that he had gone to America, but no matter where I searched, I could find no trace of the missing Philip Saul.  And this is where Johnís article on Chrisís family linked with mine as her great grandfather, Philip Saul arrived in New Zealand around the same time as my great great grandfather also called Philip Saul had disappeared.


I tried to contact Chris from the contact details that John had but unfortunately, these were out of date.  I had kept John advised of  my research and he wrote another article and this time it was read by Chris who had returned to New Zealand from her job abroad.  She contacted John who linked me to her and I sent her lots of information about our family, detailing my great grandfather Philipís, mother and fathers names and fathers occupation.  Chris then undertook a great deal of research as it was apparent that on his arrival Philip was quite happy to tell a few untruths about himself.


He claimed to be a bachelor and that he was only 27 years old, when Chris completed her research, we agreed that it was 99.9% certain that her great grandfather Philip was also my great great grandfather!!  Following his arrival in New Zealand, he had courted and married a young Irish woman Elizabeth Doherty and they went on to have 11 children.


Chris sent me photos of our mutual ancestor and when you see him alongside a photo of his son also Philip, my great grandfather, the similarities are obvious.


Whilst we have no plans to keep in touch or meet, it is nice to know that somewhere the other side of the world we have family, and without the help of the Sole Society and John, I would never have discovered what happened to my great great grandfather Philip Saul.  Since finding out about him, I have had a family reunion with my motherís cousins who had also tried to find out more about Philips life after he left our great great Grandmother.


Saul Family about 1898


Philip Saul at Hastings  Philip George Saul in New Zealand

Philip Saul at Hastings                                           Philip George Saul in New Zealand


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