By Maureen Storey
This winter has produced no new members and very few enquiries, which has enabled me to make some progress in working through the information that is now online at the findmypast and Ancestry websites. The parish registers for many of the southeastern counties are now available on one or other of theses sites and although we have already recorded many of these data, trawling through the online indexes has produced enough ‘new’ data to make the exercise well worthwhile. It is, however, a slow process and there is still a long way to go.
One of these new online sets of data, the India Office records on findmypast, has supplied clues that have pointed to a possible answer to a longstanding question. When I started helping Don Steel to chart the Sole families the first area he gave me to work on was Yorkshire and among the records I found were the army papers for Sergeant Robert Soule. Robert was discharged from the 34th Regiment of Foot on 27 August 1823 with a pension after more than 18 years of service, which included being wounded at the Battle of the Pyrenees during the Peninsular War and 6 years in the ‘East Indies’. According to his attestation papers Robert was born in Hull, YKS and was 18 when he enlisted in 1805. For many years that was all the information we had on Robert but eventually I found his baptism at North Cave, near Hull – he proved to be the son of Robert Soule and Elizabeth Featherstone and a member of our biggest Yorkshire family. However, we still had nothing to indicate what had happened to him after his retirement from the Army. The India Office records show that he married Alice Forrester in Madras in 1818 and that the couple had three children during their time in India (all of whom sadly died in infancy). It seems likely (though it’s yet to be proven) that Robert returned to the Hull area after his discharge because there are a couple of baptisms of children of Robert and Alice that would fit with this scenario.
Peter Lichfield is researching the family of Annie Sole who married Arthur John Thorne in Wimborne in 1904. Peter has only recently begun researching his family and he contacted us hoping that we could put him in touch with Neil Paddock who is also a descendant of this marriage. Although Peter hasn’t joined the Society he has given us some information on his branch of the family and in return we gave him enough information to point his research in the right direction.
Tom Malyn wrote to ask if we had any information on the family of his 3×great grandmother Mary Soles, who married John Malyn in parish church of St Pancras, MDX, in 1794. Mary was one of the seven children of Thomas Soules and Mary Jones who were baptised in Lambeth between 1760 and 1778. Although we had these baptisms in our database we didn’t have their parents’ marriage, nor had we made the connection between Mary Soles from Lambeth and the Mary who married in St Pancras. Tom has given us a lot of data about the descendants of Thomas and Mary Soules, including some information from wills that we wouldn’t otherwise have found. However, there are still some major questions to be answered, especially concerning the fate of their sons Thomas and John. From the wills we know that either John or Thomas had a son Thomas but we’ve not been able to definitely identify a marriage, family or death for either of them.