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

SAUL Co-ordinator's Report April 2009

by John Slaughter  



The last few months have been relatively quiet both in terms of new members and new enquiries, so this report will be somewhat shorter than normal.


Firstly, I welcome new members Ann Lowry and Claire Garner.


I gave details of Ann Lowry’s enquiry in my report in the December 2008 journal which stated that she was a descendant of a Thomas Charles Saull, whose father Thomas was a brother to the celebrated William Devonshire Saull, the brothers being in business together as wine merchants at Aldersgate Street, London in the middle of the 19th century. Ann has now kindly provided further details about Thomas Charles and his descendants. Thomas Charles Saull married Emily Elizabeth Maria Habgood and they had four children born between 1875 and 1880, two of which were twins. However there was a family scandal as Thomas Charles was said to be the father of a child born to his wife’s sister, Ellen, in 1877 and named John Smith. This child was resident with Thomas and Emily on the 1891 census, by which time they had moved to Widnes, Lancashire and where John Smith is described as a visitor, aged 14 years. Thomas Charles and his wife Emily are buried in Widnes cemetery. John Smith’s grave is close by.


Claire Garner is descended from the Sauls at Holme, Cumberland, where the family was of the Quaker faith. Claire’s five x great grandmother was Abigail Saul who was born in 1735 to Joseph Saul and Ann Drape. It is believed that Joseph was born in 1711 and was one of seven children born to John Saul and his wife Elizabeth Benson. The genealogical detail that is recorded in Quaker records is superior to that included in parish registers, giving a higher degree of certainty in constructing family trees. Despite this we can not be sure about John’s origins as there are at least two reasonable candidates for his birth.


A recent enquiry posted on the Forum was seeking present day descendants of a George Medhurst Saul who had migrated to the Philippines, where he had married a Spanish lady and established a business. The family were said to have originated in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Back in 1995 the Society was provided with research notes concerning the Sauls at Downpatrick and some of their descendants and which included a George Medhurst Saul. From the GRO birth indexes I was able to establish that George Medhurst Saul had been born in Liverpool in 1851. It is not clear precisely when the research was undertaken but it seems to have been many years prior to 1995 as some of the children of George Medhurst Saul were stated as still living. Some of the information given about them though appears to conflict with that given in the Forum message so its accuracy is open to question. Hopefully further information will be forthcoming to correct and supplement what we already have.   


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