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

Researching SOLLY in New Zealand

from Michael Hobbs

This article was published in the March 2000 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society. 

Many of us restrict ourselves to just our immediate family lines to keep our research manageable, so when Mike Hobbs mentioned that he had 44,400 names in his database we just had to ask whether this was correct. This is his reply:

"Yes, there are 44,400 names in my database! A very large number of them are not related to me - they are merely ancestors of those families that have married into the side of mine.

Nelson, New Zealand, was founded in 1842 using a lot of financially assisted immigrants. In the early days of Nelson, there was not a lot of travelling around due, in part, to lack of money & food, periodic depressions, various epidemics (influenza, rubella and others), the demise of The New Zealand Company and other influences.

Consequently the early communities were fairly small and there was a lot of inter-marriage between the early settler families. For example, there were many cases of two or more brothers of one family marrying sisters in another family. Also, with the trips out to New Zealand taking around 3 months by ship, there were a lot of romantic liaisons formed amongst the passengers. As a result, if you go back far enough in the family tree of someone whose family originated in Nelson, you can be sure of eventually finding someone who is related to you, and you will find many cases of connections between one side of a family and the other.

In my own family there are a number of people who are distantly related to each other - and even a few who are very closely related. What I have done (on my database, as opposed to my family tree) is to record as many family trees as I can where they show a connection to my own family in some way. In this way I have been able to clarify some details of who is related to who, which people are members of the same family, and show many connections in my own family tree that I would otherwise not have been aware of.

I know it might seem a bit of a strange thing to do, but I have found it very pleasing when I am able to give a lot of information to people who have contacted me about their own family trees that they did not previously have. It has turned into one of those personal projects that does not appear to ever have an end in sight - not that that worries me as it keeps me out of mischief during the lulls in my own research (and keeps me from some of my household chores)."

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