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

SAUL Co-ordinator's Report April 2013

by John Slaughter



For the second report running I have, unfortunately, no new members to welcome. Over the last twelve months in particular, there has been a falling away of the number of enquiries I have received and a lack of new members as a consequence. The interest in family history now seems to be well past its peak and a lot of people, who nowadays take up the interest, seem to believe that you can do it all on the internet. One big danger of the latter attitude is to latch onto a family tree found online and assume that it is a well researched and proven pedigree, and as a result not only acquire a false pedigree but also help to perpetuate the error.

An example of this occurred when Stephen Page sent a message to say that he had Saul ancestors that go back to the middle of the 16th century in Lancashire and Westmorland. On further enquiry I was able to establish that he is a descendant of the Sauls of Oldbury, near Birmingham, his earliest Saul ancestor being his great great grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Saul who had married William James Haynes. Sarah Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter Saul and his wife Jane Page and on our chart we have Sarah recorded as being the eldest of 11 children all born at Oldbury between 1850 and 1869. This particular chart has been well researched, in particular, by Rosemary Bailey. Our chart does not extend back beyond the middle of the 18th century and even then there are issues along the way. I summarised this in my reply to Stephen as follows.

I would first of all mention that we had not previously picked up on the marriage of Sarah Elizabeth Saul to William James Haynes, so thanks for that. We too have recorded that Sarah Elizabeth's parents were Peter Saul and Jane Page and grandparents James Saul and Sarah Barnsley. According to the census returns James Saul was born circa 1801 at Oldbury but no baptism entry has been located for him so listing him as a son of Peter Pratt Saul and his wife Hannah Hanton is an educated assumption. The issue of missing baptisms of children of Peter and Hannah was highlighted by an article written by Rosemary Bailey (who is also an assumed descendant of Peter and Hannah) and which appeared in the Society's journal in the July 2000 edition. You will find this article on our website, follow the journal tag. The burial entry for Peter Saul in the register of the Oldbury Weslyan Methodist church records the date of 4 November 1832 and age of 85 years and born Banbury. There is no baptism for a Peter Saul at Banbury that fits but there is a baptism entry for a Peter Pratt Saul at Horley, Oxon on 5 April 1752. We are not particularly concerned about the 5 year age discrepancy as the person who recorded the burial entry probably gave an approximation of age and it appears that Peter went to Oldbury from Banbury so he may also have made an assumption that was Peterís place of birth.

We believe that Peter Saul married three times. Firstly to Elizabeth Saul in 1777 (she died in 1779), secondly to Elizabeth Sallis in 1781 (she died in 1787) and thirdly to Hannah Hanton in 1787.

The baptism entry for Peter Pratt Saul records his parents as James and Mary. We have not found a marriage entry for James and Mary but they had other children baptised at Horley, the first being William in 1743. It is assumed that James is the James Saul buried at Horley on 21 February 1785 and his wife the Mary Saul (widow) buried on 22 April 1790. On neither entry is an age stated.

Recording Jamesí year of birth as 1718 is an approximation based on an assumed year of marriage around 1743 and an assumed age of around 25. No baptism entry is recorded at Horley that could in any way correspond.

Our chart for this Saul family shows James as the patriarch. It is an extensive family tree and currently includes around 470 individuals.

A link between this family and the Sauls in Lancashire/Westmorland seems highly unlikely. It would mean that a Saul (or perhaps several migrated several hundred miles) and just happened to settle in a small village where the records show that Sauls had lived as far back as the start of the parish registers in 1547Ē.

I received an interesting email from Michael Tutt who had in his possession a WW1 Commemorative Scroll relating to a Private Joseph Stanley Saul of the London Regiment. Michael believes that he acquired the scroll whilst helping with a house clearance, and is not a relative. I directed Michael to member John Saul who is a distant relation of the soldier and who wrote an article for the journal after visiting the grave at Longeval, France. Joseph Saul was born in Twickenham in 1892, the son of Arthur Thomas Saul, an Ostler and Horsekeeper, and Harriett Gutheridge.  He was a Baker in 1911.  He enlisted as a Private in the 20th County of London Battalion, London Regiment and was killed in action on 16 Sep 1916. 

John and Michael have been in contact. Michael would like to pass the scroll onto a close family descendant and whilst John has provided what genealogical information he has on Joseph's siblings we do not know of the whereabouts of any present day descendants. In fact a quick search of the registers suggests he did not marry.


WW1 commemorative scroll awarded to Joseph Stanley Saul

WW1 commemorative scroll awarded to Joseph Stanley Saul


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