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

SAUL Co-ordinator's Report - December 2000

By John Slaughter

I continue to be kept busy dealing with a steady steam of new enquiries and new information. Since I wrote my report for the July journal I have been pleased to welcome three new members. I mentioned in the July report the enquiry I had received from Christine Muschamp. Christine has now joined the Society and I was pleased to meet her and her husband Michael at our Conference in October. Within the last few days I have received further information from Christine suggesting a connection with Devon. I am checking this out; so no doubt, further details will be available in my next report.

It doesn’t happen often in family history but occasionally you have one of those days when you feel the gods are with you. One such day was the 30 August when I paid a visit to the Public Record Office at Kew. This was in the week that the World War One Soldiers records for surnames beginning with S were released. Having heard that there was only a 20% survival rate for the records I had not expected to find any records for my grandfather Thomas Slaughter, so was more than delighted to find that my pessimism was misplaced and located his records. This gave me a wealth of further information that can be followed up on. Returning home in a happy mood I then had a telephone call from Frank Saul. From the information Frank was able to give I was quickly able to establish that he was connected to the Sauls at Leamington Spa. Some of the information we have on later generations is a bit sketchy and Frank will be able to fill in some gaps. One piece of information that was of much interest to me was that there is a connection to Frank Saul, the footballer who played for Tottenham and Southampton in the 1960s. As a devoted Spurs fan I remember jumping for joy when Frank scored in the 1967 F A Cup Final against Chelsea (that was in the days when we could beat Chelsea). I have often wondered where Frank Saul would fit onto our charts. Hopefully with the aid of namesake Frank I will soon discover. What a memorable day, finding my grandfathers WW1 records and a connection to one of my Spurs heroes.

The latest new recruit is Jennifer Daniel. Jenny’s mother’s maiden name was SAULL and her father was John Clare Saull. This was a name that I had heard of before so knew that it would be connected with others. I had only a couple of months previous had an enquiry from Elizabeth Fletcher whose great grandfather was John Clare Saull. Their common ancestor was born at Winslow, Bucks on 14 March 1872 and we know that the trail goes back to Gayton, Northants and earlier (we believe) Byfield and Horley. Elizabeth and Jenny had earlier been in touch and Jenny found out that John Clare Saull had had five sons and four daughters. This was a surprise to Jenny as Jenny’s mother had lead her to believe that she had only two brothers, one of whom was a black sheep and went to the Colonies and the other Ronald had been killed in 1945 whilst doing bomb disposal and received the George Medal posthumously. Jenny was delighted to find that she had many more relations that she knew about. Both Elizabeth and Jenny will be related to member Vincent Saull who is a descendant of Arthur Saull a brother of John Clare Saull.

In August I spent a few days in Preston undertaking further research on the Preston and Lancashire Sauls’. As I have mentioned before one of the big problems in researching the early Preston Sauls in the early 1800s is that nearly all of them were called Robert. Latest research suggests that we have at least six separate people called Robert Saul involved. I am now reasonably happy that I have been able to identify the origins of at least four of these Roberts’. I believe that two of them came from the same place, Arnside in Lancashire. The village of Arnside comes under the parish of Beetham, where the parish records show baptisms on 23 January 1774 of a Robert son of John and Mary Saul of Arnside and on the same date Robert son of Richard and Jane Saul of Arnside. Usually in these circumstances distinguishing one Robert from another would be a nightmare but fortunately monumental inscriptions at Preston come to our aid. On a previous trip to Preston I had found in the Lancashire Record Office a transcription of the gravestones at the Holy Trinity Church, a site that was demolished in 1955 and is now an NCP Car Park. There were two separate gravestones recording amongst others the demise of the Roberts. One gave the date of death as 9 April 1830 in his 57th year and the other 24 January 1838 aged 64 years. The crucial information was that also included on the latter gravestone was the death on 12 April 1824 of a Jane Saul aged 81 years. From the details given it was clear that Jane was Robert’s mother.

I also spent some time on that trip confirming the research that Norman Saul had undertaken on his ancestors. We are now confident that we have established connections back to Gressingham, Lancs and the marriage there on 3 February 1713 of a Miles Saul and Margaret WILDMAN. Miles was said to be of Lancashire at the time of marriage. Earlier connections are being sought.

As Norman lives in Stockport I paid a visit on my way home and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours mulling over charts etc. Towards the end of my visit Norman mentioned that some years back he had been sent a detailed family tree of some Lancashire Sauls. There was no obvious connection to Norman’s line and the author could not be recalled but it provided a mass of information on the Sauls of Arnside and Beetham. Though I had notes of the Saul entries from the parish records of Beetham and nearby Warton I had not got around to charting them, but clearly here was a person who had. There were numerous notes on the charts making references to wills and other documents so the impression is that the history has been well researched. On the chart I found the two Roberts baptised in 1774 mentioned above. The only additional information this gave on the Roberts is that the Robert son of John and Mary JACKSON had married, had a son and daughter and grandchildren Jane Saul and Mary Ann LOFTHOUSE. It sounds that this information came from a will though it is not clear whose.

Another useful aspect of my trips to Preston and the PRO was further information I found on the Quaker families in Cumberland. I have also had some very interesting exchanges of correspondence with a Peter Ostle whose ancestors had very close relationships with the Sauls. I now have enough material to put together a separate article on the Saul Quaker families; so will see what I can do for the next journal.

Time and space does not permit me to detail here all the enquiries I have received over recent months. Where these have shown connections to others I have put people in touch. If these connections flourish, they will be mentioned in later updates/articles.

Finally, but by no means least, I now have all the Saul entries from the GRO indexes for births, marriages and deaths from 1837 to 1900. This is already proving to be a most valuable asset and many thanks have to be expressed to Tony Storey and his willing band of helpers for undertaking this sizeable task. Tony tells me that the database totals about 8,500 entries. As the entries have to be not only extracted but also independently checked you will appreciate the amount of work involved. The task now is to extract later entries and I was pleased that Christine Muschamp offered her services at the Conference. This database will be of great help to us all and if anyone else is able to assist, Tony will be delighted to hear from you.

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