The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

SAUL Co-ordinator's Report March 1996

by John Slaughter

The 1881 census index produced by The Mormons in collaboration with the Federation of Family History Socie­ties is gradually being issued on a county, by county basis. This index will be an invaluable aid in our research as eventually, there will be nationwide coverage and in theory, we should be able to establish the birthplace of all persons of our names alive on census night in 1881.

I have started extracting the SAULs from various county indexes and already, some interesting information is coming to light. The census for Lincolnshire shows that the head of three SAUL households were not born in the county. At Spalding, there was a Simeon Saul aged 60 Years whose birthplace is given as Woolaston, Northants. Another household in Spalding is headed by Stephen Saul whose birthplace is given as Harboro (presumably Harborough), Warwickshire. We know from the IGI and other records that there had been SAULs at Spalding and the surrounding area for hundreds of years, so in the absence of this information we could have assumed a local origin for Simeon and Stephen and plotted them on Lincs charts. The third household is at Great Grimsby where the head is G. (probably George) Saul whose birthplace was at Norton, Yorkshire.

Nearly all the other SAULs in the Lincs 1881 census can be found on the family tree of member Mary Boulton. So if the 1881 snapshot is anything to go by, we find that by 1881 virtually the only native Lincs SAULs to have stayed local are those from Sibsey. This seems somewhat surprising given the large number of Lincs SAULs to be found in the IGI and the geographical spread of these throughout the county.

This evidence of mobility is again demon­strated by the 1881 census for Buckingham­shire. This is not what I would call a tradi­tional SAUL county so it could be expected that the heads of households here may have a “foreign” origin. In the county, are five SAUL(L) households with a male head. There is a William born Devon (place not stated), Charles born St Pancras, Middx, Joseph born Banbury, Oxon, John born Bristol and Reuben born Soulburv, Bucks. They are all in different places so on the face of it, they are unrelated.

Talking of mobility, can anyone beat this? In the 1881 Devon census, we find at West Teignmouth a Martha Saul (widow) born Batavia, Java and her daughter Ellen M born Shanghai, China.

I am in the process of preparing charts of the SAULs of Preston, Lancs. The charts are based on data from the IGI and some census returns provided by member Elizabeth Parkinson. There were a lot of SAULs in Preston in the 19th century and there are likely to be more than a dozen charts in all. They fit fairly well at present into family groups and it looks as though there were at least five or six separate SAUL families. There are virtually no SAUL entries in the parish registers before 1800, and then an explosion of them appears from about 1820 onwards. An analysis of the GRO birth indexes for the period 1843 ‑1850 shows that in the registration district of Preston there were 19 recorded births.

The only, registration district to beat this was Kendal, Westmoreland with 20 births. This rapid rise does no more than mirror the rapid growth of Preston at that time as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Official statistics show the population of Preston as 12,000 in 1801, 33,000 in 1831, and 69,000 in 1851. This rapid growth in population caused a need for the building of new churches and Parliament granted £1.5 million towards the cost. In Lancashire, the number of new churches built was 19 before 1830 and 62 between 1800 and 1856. Preston was no exception to this.


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