By Bob Solly
As the amount of information available and people’s access to it increases, the amount of enquiries directly to us has been reduced to a trickle. The records for the Solley group have not therefore been enhanced except for information provided by the correspondents. There are many records that could still be transcribed (such as the family group information from the Census records that were downloaded).
One of our members Christine Gilmore has raised a question about the early Solley trees, she writes:
“I’ll begin with James Solley who was baptised in 1787 at Ash son of John Solley and Sarah Lawrence and like most of his brothers was a labourer. His father John Solley is believed to be the son of Richard Solley and Margaret Masters by both the Sole Society and the Cambridge Group Project; and for a time I believed to be so myself. However, of late I have begun to question this relationship. I have spent a lot of time recently going through available records to see if I can find some concrete evidence to prove this to be the right line. Which is why I was looking for some factual evidence supporting the death date of 1800.
There were three John Solleys born in Ash in the space of three years but only one has been followed through. I have also looked at other Johns born in the same time frame in other parishes just to be sure there is no overlap and they seem pretty sound. . Previously to all of this I had been researching back from Richard Solly born 1696.
My head is starting to spin with it all so some thoughts, ideas, suggestions etc. would be most gratefully appreciated. You will notice I have not been consistent in the spelling of the surname. I have tried to use the spelling as given in the documents I have used but I sometime add or remove the ‘e’ in error. I suppose I’m carrying on with tradition; the records for my family give both spellings at least to the early 1900s.
[Ed: Below are the tree options for the births of John Solly]
Richard Solley and Margaret Masters m. Ash
John Solley bap 1752
John a widower, married: Sarah Lawrence 1780 at Ash
Their children: Thomas, John, Elizabeth, Giles, James, Richard, Henry, Sarah and Michael
John died: 1800 (after)
Richard Solley and Elizabeth Smith m. Elmstone
John Solley bap 1753
John married Mary Doorne 1785 at Ash
Children: Jenny 1786
(In fact this information is incorrect “John Solly minor son of Stephen Solly dec. and Jane married Mary Doorne minor daughter of Henry by licence.”) – (Bob Solly: I will change our records)
Michael Solley and Jane Minter m. Ash
John Solley bap 1754
This family moved to the parish of St Lawrence Thanet.
John buried: 1828 at Ash Aged 74 years, Approx. year of birth 1754”
I have considered the above information. After I began my research, the Solley name led back to Ash in the 1600’s and there was a wealth of information available, including a comprehensive grouping of families by Elizabeth Hudson who belonged to the local history society in Ash. She had made up family groups using an index system which she had transcribed from the parish records. We also copied all the information in the Bishop’s transcripts of Ash parish records (in Canterbury Cathedral archives
The ancestry of John Solley was here recorded as a descendant of Richard Solley. The name John in the 1700’s has always caused us difficulties because of the lack of definitive records, It just shows how difficult it is to give 100% proof.
One potential key is that John Solly was a widower and married Sarah Lawrence on 16 December 1780. If he was christened in 1752, the earliest marriage date would have been say 1768; there are no records in Ash of such a marriage. The only female Solly’s recorded as burials between 1768 and 1780 were in 1766 (Elizabeth aged 37) and a Susannah who was 62 years old! So the mystery continues, as we have no definitive proof as yet either way. Please let me know if you can help solve this mystery.