By Maureen Storey
When the Society was founded, one of the reasons for including the four names Sole, Saul, Solly and Sewell was that with names that can sound so similar it was felt that there would be occasions when moving from one part of the country to another, where the local accent was different, would result in a family name change, at least in the official records.
In fact, we’ve found very few examples of this happening, though John Slaughter came across one recently. His Saul records included the marriage in Halifax of George Saul, son of Edward, to Jane Foster, a widow whose maiden name was Swales, and births of three Saul children whose mother’s maiden name was Swales. However, he’d been unable to find out any more about the family until he found them in the 1891 census. This gave Edward’s place of birth as Hampshire and included another daughter, Violet, who was born in Northumberland. On looking for Violet’s birth in the GRO, John found that she had been registered as Soal. At this point he asked if I recognised the family. The details that John provided enabled me to fill some gaping holes in a family from Buriton, Hampshire. I knew from the 1881 and 1901 censuses and GRO births that George Soal had married a Jane Swales, but had been unable to find their marriage and had missed the three children registered as ‘Saul’ completely.
Jack Sole wrote to ask if we had any data that would help him overcome his ‘brick wall’. He had traced his family back to the marriage of his great grandfather Charles Henry Sole and Alice Legg in 1908 in the Cricklade Registration District. According to the marriage certificate and the 1911 census, Charles was born in 1888 in Chipping Norton and was the son of Charles Sole, and Jack knew from his family that Charles Henry had died in Swindon in the 1950s. However, Jack could not find either a birth or death record for Charles Henry and had come to the conclusion that perhaps Charles Henry Sole wasn’t his real name. From the evidence Jack has it looks very much as if his great grandfather was in fact Frederick Charles Thomas Sole, the son of Charles Henry and Emily (nee Harris) and who was born in Chipping Norton in 1886. There is some evidence that Frederick was known as Charles within the family (his brother’s army attestation papers give ‘brother Charles Sole’ as the next of kin) and Frederick C T Sole died in Swindon in 1954. I’ve advised Jack to buy the death certificate in the hope that he will recognise either the informant or the address.
Richard Hall is researching the family of his grandmother Delilah Soles. The line has been traced back to John and Elizabeth Sole, whose son Peter was born in Wetzel, Pennsylvania in about 1800. Looking on the Internet Richard has found two different versions of John Sole’s lineage and wondered if we knew which was correct. One gives his dates as 1772-1823 and traces the family back to George Soule of the Mayflower, while the other gives his dates as 1775-1830 and says he was the son of Peter Soles (or Sohl), who was born in 1746 in Kassel, Germany. From the evidence given online, the link back to Germany seems more likely to be the correct one but without access to the local records it’s impossible to be certain.
Up to now most of our records for the descendants of George Soule of the Mayflower have been taken from the Mayflower Society’s book that covers just the first five generations. Now, however, with so many primary records online it has become possible to start to bring those families forward towards the present day. This is a large undertaking and will no doubt keep me occupied for years, but one of the bonuses of researching via the Internet is that other researchers have often added photos from their family collections and we are now beginning to build up quite a collection of these. We’re also finding photos in slightly more unusual places as with the photo reproduced here, which comes from the website of the Wichita County Historical Commission. George Alonzo Soule, the subject of this photo, was born in Illinois on 16 Oct 1840 and was the third of seven children born to Gilbert Randall Soule and his wife Esther Fidelia. He married Lilla Clapp, with whom he had four children. The family moved to Wichita in 1883, where George remained until his death on 4 Oct 1914.