A Sohier family history

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According to that magnificent and rare monography La Véritable origine de la très ancienne et très-illuftre maifon de Sohier it appears that Peter de Vermandois was descended directly from Charlemagne through his great-grandson Pepin, the first count of that name. Peter de Vermandois was descended from this Pepin, in the sixth degree, and was surnamed Sohier, which signifies the victorious, and from his grand-nephew derived a family of the same name, settled in the Netherlands, which was represented in 1661 by Constantine Sohier, Baron of the Holy Empire, and Seigneur of Warmenhuysen, Crabbendam and Out-Poelgeest.

It appears from the remarks of the learned author of the above-quoted monograph that Sohier, variously written Siger, Zegher, Seicher, Sicher and Seger, is derived from the old Germkan Zeger, which signified the victorious, or according to Grammaye, modestus honor.

The middle of the 16th century was a period rife with religious and political persecution, which seems often to have scattered the house of Sohier. "Hugues Sohier," says the Leyden genealogist, "né en l’an 1550, ne pouvant porter une confcience forcée, comme il vit que le Duc l’Alve voulait introduire, par force, la Religion Romaine, trouva bon d’abandonner fa propre patrie.” (Hughes Sohier, born in 1550, being unable to maintain a strong conscience because he saw that the Duc of Alva wanted to introduce by force the Roman religion, found it best to abandon his country.)

Arrival in Jersey

It would seem that political rather than ecclesiastical trouble brought the Sohier family to Jersey, as its earliest settlers were of the Romanist faith. The first member, of whom local record is found, is John Sohier, whose name appears in a roll of the Royal Court dated 1525. Sire John Sohier, Presbyter, is mentioned in a deed of 1547 as guardian to the children of his brother, Martyn Sohier. And in another document dated the same year, the names of Nicholas, John and Thomas Sohier occur, related undoubtedly to the family which has for centuries been settled in the parish of St Martin.

In the 18th century the eldest branch of the Jersey family settled in America, which is now represented by William Davies Sohier of Boston, USA.

In Jersey the head of the family is George Sohier of St Martin. A junior branch is represented by the Rev John Sohier, of Nantes, and another by Philip Edward Sohier of St Helier.

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