By Maureen Storey
Although there are no new members to report in this journal, we are very pleased to welcome back Barbara Swinburne, one of our founder members and for a time the Society’s chairman. Barbara is a descendant of Gregory Sole, whose children were born in the Henlow/Clifton area of Bedfordshire in the early 1800s. It was while looking for Gregory’s baptism that Don Steel, another of his descendants, first came across Fred Sole and the two started a collaboration that ultimately lead to the formation of the Sole Society. We’ve still not found that elusive baptism, but we now know from the 1851 census that Gregory was born in Eyeworth, Bedfordshire in about 1773. It therefore looks likely that he is a descendant of William Sole and Agnes Clare, who married in Stotfold, Bedford in 1624. [Ed I have a fond memory of Don Steel in the very early days of the society saying when he met Barbara she said to him that she had been looking for Gregory for several years, and Don told her he had been looking since 1953!].
Chris Ayling wrote to say that his ancestor Thomas Ayling was referred to in both the early seventeenth century parish records for Stedham, Sussex, and the Protestation Returns of 1642 as being ‘of Sole’ (or Soale). Chris said that the only occurrence that he’d been able to find of Sole being a place name was Sole Street in Kent, but that seemed too far way to be the Sole in his reference. He wondered if we could shed any light on where his ancestor might have lived. I haven’t come across a place called Sole and so I asked Geoff Knott who has done a great deal of research in this area if he had. Geoff said that he only knew of a Soal Farm in Steep, Hampshire, in the early 1700s, but that he had come across very early references to ‘atte Sole’ such as fourteenth century references to ‘Robert atte Sole, reeve at Petworth, and Richard atte Sole, reeve at Heyshott’. So if anyone has come across a place called Sole could they please let me know.
Most of my time recently has been spent going through the Gloucestershire parish records, images of which have recently been added to Ancestry, and updating our Gloucestershire families. Since the indexes to these registers have been compiled digitally, it is not surprising that they contain quite a number of mistakes, but I’ve found enough new information to make the exercise well worthwhile.
We have also received another batch of results from a Guild of One Name Studies Marriage Challenge. These challenges are based on the fact that when marriages are recorded at the GRO they are added in each registration district in the alphabetical order of the churches where the marriage was performed. So, if you know the page number in the GRO reference, it is possible to narrow down which church the couple married in and then consult the relevant register to find the marriage record. The people who undertake these challenges choose a registration district and a date range and then other GOONS members submit the marriages that are of interest to them in that area at that time. The success rate is fairly high –a challenge only covers Church of England Churches, so if the marriage was, for example, in a register office it won’t be found. The latest batch of marriages we received were from Peter Copsey from a challenge that covered the Romford Registration District 1912-1939 and were mostly of Sewells with a few Sauls and Soles. We are very grateful to all the GOONS members who have supplied us with marriage data, of whom Peter, whose challenge areas are generally to the east of London, is the most prolific.