By George Solly
I was contacted by Glenys Bain via the website who wanted help with William Solly who was a plasterer in Ramsgate, Kent. She wrote:
He was married to an Eliza, who I can find no information on. My mother said my great-great-grandmother was Jewish and Portuguese. She left Portugal due to persecution. This may be why finding information is a challenge. Sir Montefiore helped Jewish families in Ramsgate. Can you help with information on William and his family? William Solly 1809 – 1894? I have census for 1871 and 1881 where he is in the Thanet work house; detailed as sick but no mention of his wife. Emily his daughter is my great grandmother. My mother said she ‘ran off’ with a gentile who was a Welsh train driver. She did marry a Richard Jones who is on later census named as engine driver. So some information seems true. I think I must have many relations in the Thanet area who I have never met as Emily went to live in Camberwell with her train driver ! If possible can you help. Thank you.
I have found out some information for you regarding William Solly baptism 26.03.1809, St Laurence and his forebears.
Solly is a common name in Kent but I can be confident about him and his parents etc.
The 1851 census shows him as a lodger at the pub at Seven Stars Street, Dover with his son Edward, 21, unmarried, also a plasterer.
William married Elizabeth Huffam 29.10.1828 at Ramsgate St George… [William’s family tree is shown opposite] …
Elizabeth’s Huffam line is:
Parents: Daniel Jacob 1753 -1841 and Mary Richardson 1759-
Grandparents: Thomas Jacob – 1761 and Elizabeth.
Jacob(s) could certainly be Jewish, adding credence to family folklore.
I hope the above is useful and will aid you researching more information. With best wishes, George Solly, Solly co-ordinator
George added: I have no information about the supposed Portuguese connection. Eliza’s maiden name was Huffam which is a good Kentish name going back several centuries and from whom I too have forebears many generations ago. It’s possible that Eliza was married before, I suppose which would perhaps give us an original Portuguese maiden name… but again that is only a guess.
[Ed: I found William on the 1841 census, again in St Lawrence, Kent with his wife Eliza and children Edward (11), William (9) and Ellen (4). He was living in Castle Cottages and usually when I find an address of someone in the journal I look it up on the internet to see if it is still there. Castle Cottages comes up on Google Maps as being in Upper Dumpton Street, Ramsgate, and look to be of the right date (although it must have been very new at the time). I can’t reproduce a photo for copyright reasons, but if any of our members live close by and could take a photo I’d be pleased to reproduce it.]