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




By Rosemary Bailey

 This article was originally published in the April 2011 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society


Although if you can go back far enough most of our members’ ancestors originated from the United Kingdom or Ireland I came across a family of Jewish Sauls on the internet who came from Jonava, Lithuania some of whose descendants are now in America.  The family’s original name was Solski, but many used the surname Saul. Some of them tragically died in the holocaust.  According to Wikipedia at the beginning of the World War Two 80% of the city’s population were Jewish however it also says only 552 Jews were killed by the Nazis so the information may be a bit suspect. 

Solomon Isaac Solski or Saul was born in 1811 and died on 21st December 1894 in Jonava, Lithuania which is about 70 miles north-west of Vilnus. He was also known as Shliomo Girsh Solsky and is listed on an 1887 list of residents of the town.  He married Ryvka Gitel and they had six children. Ryvka was born in 1808, probably the daughter of Yehuda Leb, and died on 12th March 1889 in Jonava.  Her American decendants referred to her as Rebecca Gertrude.

According to ‘A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire’ the surname Solski means ‘from the town Soly’ in Oshmyany district which as far as I can tell is 70 miles north west of Minsk, on the Lithuania border.  Not of relevance to our Sauls, but perhaps of general interest is that Oshmyany appears to have been part of Russia until the First World War after which it became part of Poland.  At the start of World War Two the Russians occupied the area followed the Germans in June 1941 after their invasion of Russia. The Jews of the area were moved into a ghetto and then in 1943 sent to death camps, labour camps or the Vilna ghetto. 

Solomon and Ryvka’s had six children two of whom emigrated to the US and one to Israel.  More is known of these children than those who remained in Lithuania.   

Jacob Leb Solski who was born in 1834 and emigrated in 1907 to Israel where he was buried in a cemetery on the Mount of Olives. In 1856 his occupation is given as ‘seller of foodstuffs’ but in 1863 it is given as ‘house owner’.  He had three wives. 

Joseph Solski who was born in 1837 and died of consumption on 2nd April 1879 in Jonava. He was a small shop keeper and had six children.

David Saul was born in 1840 in Jonava and died on 29th June 1911 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA where he is buried.  He emigrated to New York with his sons in about 1881 and was listed as a peddler in the city directory of 1886 living on the Lower East Side. About 1890 he moved to Washington DC where he went into the dry goods business.  In either 1892 or 1893 David changed his surname to Saul and around 1900 his wife Gittl joined him in America.   The couple are listed in the 1910 census in Atlanta by which time David had retired.  They had five children all of whom emigrated to America. 

Sussman Saul was born in 1841 in Lithuania and emigrated with his wife to the USA in 1908 where he died in Brooklyn, New York in 1933.  He owned a mill in Jonava and worked as an egg man in Hunter, New York.  The couple had eight children who lived to adulthood, several of whom emigrated to the USA. 

Israel Sulsky was born in 1846 in Lithuania and was a small shop keeper. He had six children, one of his daughters died in Dachau, another emigrated to the USA. 

Mordecai Solski was born in 1850 in Lithuania and died in 1917. He had six children, two emigrated to USA and two died in Stutthof concentration camp. 

User Sulsky was born on 5th September 1855 in Lithuania.  He had seven children.  One of his sons was a Rabbi in Krekenava, Lithuania during World War Two.   The website suggests that he was one of the 200 men, women and children from the town, who were murdered in the months of July and August 1941, are buried in a mass grave a kilometre from the town.

 Solomon Isaac Solski or Saul

Solomon Isaac Solski or Saul

Sussman Saul

Sussman Saul