SOLE DNA Project

By Linda Butler and Maureen Storey

This article was published in the April 2022 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

There are about 30 families in our Sole records that we have only been able to trace back to the late seventeenth or early eighteenth centuries. The common factor with these families is that the person that is currently at the head of the tree died before the 1851 census and so we don’t know where they were born. A typical example is Robert Soal, who married Ann Scotney in Crowland, Lincoln, and whose descendants can be found in Hull, Yorkshire by the 1880s. There are no other So(a)(u)l(e)(s) families in or around Crowland at that time and to date we’ve found no clue as to where Robert was born. The hope is that one of Robert’s descendants will show up as a DNA match for someone on another of our Sole trees and that this match will lead us to Robert’s birth family.
We’re focussing on Ancestry simply because they have the largest database of people who have tested and the way they present the results makes it simple to look for unexpected Sole matches.
While Maureen has been focussing on identifying suitable families for DNA projects, Linda has been working to identify Sole family members who have tested on Ancestry.
The more people we can identify, the greater the chance we have of making connections between family groups, as we did with the Cambridge and Bradford, Yorkshire, Soles (see the article on p14 of the December 2021 edition of Soul Search). In this we are indebted to the members who helped by providing us with lists of all their DNA matches who had a Sole somewhere in their family tree, whether the member had a common Sole ancestor, or whether their connection was on some other branch.
The members who helped, in addition to Mel and Linda Butler and Maureen and Tony Storey, were Brent Soal, Curtis Letch, Michael Sole, Vicki Soul, and Tim Soles. In addition, a number of Sole descendants we have reached out to through Ancestry have been happy to help us to build up our list of DNA testers – Don Smith, Steven Turner, David Smith and Lesley Carpenter. We have approached other researchers who we are confident will get back to us with still more “Sole Ancestry DNA testers”.
So far we have identified 251 Sole testers. Of these, we have been able to place 181 of them into 33 different Sole trees. Most of the remaining testers come from a very large group of American researchers who claim descent from the Pilgrim, George Sole. The most prolific testers are from the HDN (our code) family of Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire with 32, followed by 22 from the CAL (our code)Kelshall family and GBG (our code) Gloucestershire family.
If anyone else who has taken a DNA test would like to get involved in the project, please contact Linda or Maureen Storey.