George Soule “Silver Book” Project
Beginning in the 1970s, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants sponsored the publication of a series of books originally called the “Five Generation Project,” which sought to document all of the descendants of the passengers with known descendants for the first five generations. The aim of the project was to bridge the research gap between the Plymouth Colony’s beginnings and Revolutionary times. Most of the Mayflower Families have been published as a single volume for each individual passenger; those covering Pilgrims with a large number of descendants have been published as multi-part sets. They soon became known as the “Silver Books” (because of the color of the cover), and are an invaluable tool because of the meticulous research and documentation they contain. The more recent books have expanded to contain six generations, naming the seventh, and thus frequently reach into the early nineteenth century.
One of the earliest volumes to appear (vol. 3 ) was the descendants of George Soule, and was the work of John E. Soule and Milton E. Terry. While it was a painstaking operation, it suffered from the change in genealogical standards that was occurring at just about that time; it very quickly became clear that this book was not adequate to substantiate the identities and families of George Soule’s descendants. Starting in the 1990s, Louise Throop began documenting the lines with substantial further research, and published several soft cover volumes officially called Mayflower Families in Progress (MFIP), but more colloquially known as “Pink Books” because their covers are the hue of the “may flower.” The complete list of these books is at the conclusion of this article. Other family organisations have produced these interim books, as well, and then combined and revised them for publication in the final, definitive silver book: the most recent volume to go from pink to silver is William Brewster, and a series of (green) books have been published on the descendants of Phillip Delano, a passenger on the Fortune (1621), but whose children married into many Pilgrim families (including the Soules).
Soule Kindred in America proposed sponsoring a revision and completion of Louise W. Throop’s pink books with the ultimate goal of producing a final silver book, and thus fulfilling the project begun by John Soule and Milton Terry half a century ago. At the board meeting on 13 April 2019, a committee was formed to pursue this project, composed of Russell Francis, Judy Hughes, Andy Turner, with Becket Soule as editor and chairman.
The two main goals for 2019 are:
1. To recruit volunteers to assist with research and obtaining documentation. We are hoping to get at least two people for each of the seven children of George Soule who have descendants (neither Zachariah Soule, the eldest son, nor Benjamin Soule, the youngest son, had any children that we know of). If you are interested in helping, please get in touch with Becket (at the e-mail address below) -- we will certainly not limit it to two, and in some cases it will be important to get more. The goal is to locate documentation, particularly family bibles and other sources that may not be readily available or digitized online, so that these can be recorded.
2. To raise funds to support this research and publication. John Soule gave the royalties from the original book, now long out of print, to Soule Kindred for scholarships, and bequeathed funds in his estate for research and publications, but this may not be enough to complete research and publication of a new silver book. The Soule Kindred Board has authorized this project as a recipient of donations in the 2019 drive, along with scholarships, research, general operations and the Children’s Discovery Center (George Soule House) at Plimoth Plantation. While all of those working on this project are volunteers, there are necessary expenses that need to be met, and having these funds will be a major support for the project. The George Soule Silver Book project welcomes your contributions, which can be made either online (https://soulekindred.org/Donate) or to our treasurer, Russell Francis, at 1804 NW 7th Court, Battle Ground WA 98604: please indicate that this is for the “George Soule Silver Book Project.”
We welcome any questions, and particularly any assistance you can provide: remember that these are, after all, your ancestors!
W. Becket Soule
MFIP Four Generations, Gens 5 & 6 parts 1-5 George Soule:
Photo credits: Plimoth Plantation; Amazon.com; Mary Harrell-Sesniak..