SOLE Co-ordinator’s Report April 2016

Maureen Storey By Maureen Storey

It has been a very quiet couple of months with no new members and no enquiries. On the plus side this has meant that there has been time to tidy up the database and to look around for new record sources.
One set of records that has appeared on Ancestry recently comprise the parish registers of Northamptonshire. Although Sole is not a common name in Northamptonshire going through Ancestry’s index proved worthwhile as it gave us further information on two of our families. The earliest record we have of the Sole family who settled in Banbury, Oxford, in the early 1800s is the baptism of Samuel Sole, illegitimate son of Mary Sole in Aston le Walls, Northamptonshire, in 1780. The Aston le Walls registers also record the burial of 91-year-old Mary Sole in 1816. As yet, it hasn’t been determined whether she also fits into the Banbury family but she is the right age to be Samuel’s grandmother. Later generations of this family were Roman Catholics, so perhaps that is where we need to look for earlier records.
The Northamptonshire records have also provided the clues that have allowed James and Mary Soles who surfaced in Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, in 1813 to be identified as James Soles and Mary Southwell. James Soles married Elizabeth Chamberlain in Buckden, Huntingdonshire, in 1803. Elizabeth died later the same year and James then married Mary Southwell on 19 Aug 1805. Their first child Thomas Southwell Soles was baptised in Buckden on 2 Feb 1806. For many years this was where we lost track of James and Mary, but the Northamptonshire records show that Thomas Southwell Soles was buried in Stamford Baron on 30 December 1806. James and Mary stayed in Stamford Baron until at least 1809 when their third son James was baptised there, before moving to Colsterworth in Lincolnshire, where they had six more children. James died in Colsterworth in 1848 and Mary in 1859. Unfortunately because James died before the 1851 census we have no clues as to where he was born – the 1841 census states that he was born in Lincolnshire but that census is notoriously unreliable when it comes to places of birth. At his children’s baptisms James’ occupation is given as ‘post-boy’, which might explain why the family moved from Buckden to Stamford Baron to Colsterworth, all major coaching stops on the Great North Road.
I’m not sure whether the occupation of ‘post-boy’ is one of those that passes from father to son but we know of another post-boy in Lincolnshire, William Sole, whose five children were born in Grantham (again on the Great North Road) between 1833 and 1841. It is tempting to believe that this William is James and Mary’s son William, who was born in 1807 in Stamford Baron, but he died before the censuses could give us his place or even date of birth.
Another major source of information became available to the Society in February when findmypast added the 1939 Register to the records freely available to its subscribers. Previously it cost £6.95 to access a household which effectively meant a blanket search for the Sole variants was uneconomic. Whether or not the records for a particular individual can in fact be accessed seems a bit hit or miss. The website says that you can access the records for anyone born more than 100 years ago, whether they are still alive or not. For those born less than 100 years ago, findmypast seems to be struggling a bit. It says the records for anyone still alive have been redacted as have those for people who died after 1991, but those for people born after 1916 but who died before 1991 should be available. This seems to have proved too difficult for them to impose consistently – for example the record for my Dad who was born in 1923 and died in 1975 has been redacted, but that for my Mum who was born in 1926 and died in 1993 is available.

St Mary’s Church, Buckden, where James Soles married Mary Southwell in 1805