By Rosemary Bailey
This article was published in the April 2017 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society
In the April 2015 edition of Sole Search I wrote about two brothers on my tree, Samuel and James Saul, who had been killed in a mining accident in Oldbury, Staffordshire in 1857. I was unable to find the death certificates for either of the brothers, however someone suggested that the Samuel Sale registered in the same quarter might be one of them. We all know that for fairly uneducated folk at the time the spelling of their surnames could be fairly arbitrary so I thought it was worth the £9.25 to find out.
I was disappointed that when the certificate arrived it was for a Samuel Sale, aged 1 who had sadly died of measles. However he did live in Oldbury, the same town as my family.
Sale is an associate surname for the society and many of the early Sauls I have on my tree used Saul and Sale interchangeably, so I thought it was worth just having a quick look at them.
Samuel Sale was the son of Joseph Sale and his wife Sarah. In the 1841 census Joseph lived with his wife and four children in either Dunkirk Road or Dunkirk Place in West Bromwich.
By the 1851 census Joseph’s family had grown to 7 children aged 0-17 and they lived in Sheep Wash, Tipton. Interestingly the youngest two children had the relationship box left blank so are perhaps the illegitimate sons of the 17 year old daughter, although by 1861 the surviving boy was listed as Joseph’s son. Joseph was a coal miner and they have a James Jones, his wife Sarah and their three children lodging with them.
By 1861, the family fortunes have clearly risen as they are living in the Crown Inn, Green Street, Oldbury and Joseph is described as a victualler and coal miner. His two son-in-laws are living with him along with two grandchildren.
By the time baby Samuel died, the family were living in Stone Street, Oldbury and Joseph was just a coal miner.
Looking at Google Maps, the move from Dunkirk Road to Sheep Wash between 1841 and 1851 seems to have been only a few hundred yards. Between 1851 and 1861 the family made the longer move of 3-4 miles to Green Street, Oldbury which was within a mile of my Sauls and they had moved just a few hundred yards to Stone Street by the time Samuel died. I wonder if the two families knew each other? Probably not, it was a densely populated area and even though there were coal miners in my family most of the pits in the area were small, employing few men so the chances of any of them working in the same pit were small.
When I mentioned all this to Maureen Storey the Sole Research
Co-ordinator in an email she wrote: back ‘…there’s a family In Wednesbury (very nearby) in the Sole database whose name is clearly written as Sole in the 1881 census but who I think are probably Sales, though it’s also possible they are Loles (both names appear in the area).