By George Solly
This article was published in the April 2022 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society
Ed: We do know of George Soule who was a passenger on the Mayflower to America in 1620 and there are several articles on this on our website. It looks like Myles Standish, who was also on board, was George Solly’s 4th cousin nine times removed. George has discovered this after having his DNA tested by Ancestry, so although this relative isn’t a Solly, I wanted to include a piece on it to show the power of DNA analysis.
Several years ago I had a DNA test done by My Heritage which showed the expected Kent / Essex / North German ancestry. With advancing technology I thought it was time to redo the test, especially following Sole Society talks and interest, this time with Ancestry.co.uk.
The results were similar but with more detail: 69% England and NW Europe, 16% Germanic Europe, 5% Ireland and smaller percentages for Norway, Wales, Poland, Czechia, Sweden and Denmark.
I had already traced one particular Solly line through the Murtons, and Batchelors to 1667. Ancestry sent me a number of charts showing how I was related to various famous people. As my lines have been heavily researched by me for over 50 years perhaps my results have been more fruitful than others.
The results they give tally with the work I have done in so much that they go back maybe 500 years to an ancestor I know about. The famous people they reference are the descendants of sons and daughters and their lines from that common ancestor I knew about but hadn’t followed up as they are cousins several times removed.
The results suggested that I was related to Alexander Standish (1452-1507) married to Sibyl Bold, (1450-1507) (15th generation from me). So now I know two more of the 32,768 forebears in this 15th generation! What is of greater interest through the power of DNA was that the great, great great grandson Myles Standish (1584-1656), my 4th cousin nine times removed, was a Mayflower passenger who made a name for himself in the new American colonies. His family owned considerable estates in Lancashire. Myles Standish was an English military officer, hired as military adviser for Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts, by the Pilgrims.
Those few hundred original colonists in the first sailings became firmly established and the antecedents of several well-known names, familiar to us today. The Standish family’s various branches descended from Myles’s forebears who also settled in New England produced an unlikely number of notables, being in the right place at the right time to flourish and marry well. Consequently, I ascertained that Abraham Lincoln was my 12th cousin (no times removed) descended from our common ancestor Robert Standish (1500-1556). Other related presidents include James Madison (10th cousin, twice removed – same forebears), Zachary Taylor (11th cousin, once removed) and Rutherford B. Hayes (10th cousin, twice removed). Through another line, this time Solly / Murton / Creed / Dadd and Robert Taylor (1566-1614) we arrive at my 10th cousin Herbert Hoover, and most unfortunately, Richard Nixon (10th cousin, once removed)!
All this is backed up by DNA evidence and more conventional genealogies from the records. Naturally the shared DNA between these famous ancestors and myself will be very small, especially as the common ancestors lived half a millennium ago. So if you haven’t done a DNA test yourself, do so and you might find some interesting connections!