Sunday, January 08, 2012

Blanche Parry and Queen Elizabeth I

I don't normal specifically advertise Parry related products, but I hope you'll forgive me for this one, since it is in aid of a good cause.

Ruth Richardson, who wrote the book "Mistress Blanche: Queen Elizabeth I’s Confidante" has been involved in the production of a limited edition, souvenir calendar, the proceeds of which are all to go to Bacton Church, in Herefordshire.  She writes,
  These lovely pictures+detailed descriptions (making a short book) are in a calendar-format to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, 2012. Through the generosity of the Queen (who waived charges) it includes the gorgeous portrait of Princess Elizabeth, c.1546, in her red and gold dress. The Marquess of Salisbury has generously allowed the Rainbow portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, the portrait of Lord Burghley (Blanche's cousin) and a photograph of Hatfield Old Palace to be used without charges. The other pictures show: Blanche Parry's St. Margaret's Church (Westminster) tomb, Blanche's Bacton monument, Queen Elizabeth I's Presence Chamber, the frontispiece of the 1588 Welsh Bible, Llangorse Lake + 1584 map, the site of Newcourt + drawing of the house, Bacton Church and Dore Abbey. We are most grateful to all the picture owners. Details can be seen on
All proceeds from this calendar will benefit Bacton Church where Blanche worshipped as a girl and where her family are buried. Apart from printing, all work on this project has been voluntary. It is a strictly limited edition, with superb pictures, and cannot be repeated. This calendar really is recommended to keep as a collectable. Recently described as 'magnificent', 'gorgeous' and 'unique', it has already sold throughout the UK and Europe, and from Alaska to Australia.... 
Further copies can be obtained from or directly from Ruth E. Richardson. Thank you.
So, if you're still in need of a calendar for 2012, or just want to gain a collectable, please see Ruth’s website, at , for more information.


I saw on the news recently that an avalanche in the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt has left many British holidaymakers stranded. This reminded me of some correspondence last year regarding Edward Parry, Suffragan Bishop of Dover, whose tombstone is shown on my page at .  It turned out that, in 1871, Edward travelled to Switzerland in order to consecrate several Anglican Churches, one of which was The English Church (St Peter’s) in Zermatt.  The Times Online for Aug 05, 1871 reported that "The Right Rev. Edward Parry, D.D. Suffragan Bishop of Dover, will consecrate the Zermatt Church on Sunday next."  Diane, my correspondent, very kindly arranged for a copy of the Church’s history, “A Church in the Alps”, which contains some details of Bishop Parry’s involvement in the dedication of the Church, to be sent to me.

It is interesting how, even with a large study, one family can come to dominate so many of the references collected.  I happened to be considering writing a blog posting about a sequence of Parrys – Joshua Parry, Caleb Hillier Parry and Charles Henry Parry, three generations from one family, when I heard the news item.  The post was prompted because of my purchase of a book entitled "The Spirit of Enquiry, Caleb Hillier Parry, MD, FRS" by Sholem Glaser, just before Christmas.  This is one of several books I’ve come across in the past and thought “I really must get a copy”. Written by a retired surgeon, the book covers Caleb’s contributions to medicine but it also contains information about his ancestry and family relationships, so my hope is that it will both confirm the information I already have, and also give me some new leads on the family.   

Charles Henry’s brother, and the youngest son of Caleb Hillier Parry, was Sir William Edward Parry, the arctic explorer - and his son was the Edward, Suffragan Bishop of Dover, subject of the Swiss churches query.  Later descendants of the family include another Bishop, another Admiral and a couple of knights – so that’s why this one family seems to dominate the record collection. 

And since this family made use of the same coat of arms as the Herefordshire “Golden Valley” family, it is one that I am particularly interested in putting together the pedigree for.  I usually try to avoid collecting too much general biographical information on individuals – anyone interested in that much detail on these individuals can easily find it elsewhere anyway (although there are some errors – as on the Wiki page for the Suffragan Bishop, which has his father incorrectly listed as his grandfather).  But another book relating to this family, “A Memoir of the Rev. Joshua Parry, Nonconformist Minister of Cirencester; With Some Original Essays and Correspondence”, has also been on my “wants” list for a while.  This is the biography of Joshua written by his grandson, Charles Henry and published in 1872 so, again, it’s a book likely to contain information about family connections.   I discovered that it has joined the many old books being digitised and republished – unfortunately, only as a “snippet view” online, but at least printed versions are now easily available so that’s where some of my “Christmas money” will be going! 

I wrote in my last post about identifying the probable author of the pedigree sheets in Hereford library.  As I was looking up the book about Joshua a few days ago, I noticed that the front cover for the original version shown on the Google books page (at ) is the drawing of the coat of arms from the tomb of Joan Parry, formerly Morgan, the wife of James Parry of Poston, which I show on my “quartered coats of arms” page at  .  I obtained this drawing at the same time as the pedigree sheets so, since I don’t think Charles Henry was the author of them, it appears he was probably in touch with the author (or my identification is wrong!)  It will be an interesting task to try to identify who was communicating with who, out of the various, separate, Parry families, during the 1800s.

I haven’t made a great deal of effort to contact living Parrys – I am quite happy just to be in touch with the steady stream of researchers who contact me, since the ParryONS is a fairly large study.  It will be extremely time consuming collecting the records up to date, yet alone do all the communication that would be necessary.  But it occurred to me that perhaps, for queries about certain families, I should be seeking out living descendants.  I knew that the great, great granddaughter of Sir William Edward Parry published several books – indeed, I have her biography of Sir William Edward Parry on my bookshelf.  Unfortunately, having found an address for her through some online research papers, I then found what I suspect will be a notice for her death at .

So, now I am pondering - should I proceed to look for other descendants of this family?  In fact, should I change my own intentions regarding the study as a whole, and make more effort to contact living Parrys?  (Certainly, if the DNA project is ever to succeed, that will probably be necessary.)  At times like this, I am reminded of how different One-Name Studies can be.  Back in 2008, Andrew Millard made a post to the Forum comparing the way in which the Pomeroy Family Association (PFA) and my Parry Study were tackling research (  ).   I remember thinking at the time that perhaps the way in which the PFA had a very specific aim (“The aim of the project is to reconstruct the family trees of everyone who calls themselves by any of the surnames we associate, either historically or in the present-day, as a variant of, or related to, Pomeroy.”) was something I should consider for the Parry ONS, rather than just “carrying out” a one-name study.  It is slightly depressing to look at the post on my blog that Andrew refers to and to read how many things I listed then, which are still “ongoing projects” – would a more specific goal would have helped these get finished?   

Actually, probably not – the rest of life would still have got in the way and, to be honest, part of the fun and excitement of the study, for me, are the unexpected avenues I end up going down.  But what the reminder has done is helped to provide some focus for getting things back on track, after so many months of other activities taking priority.  I think this is going to be a good year for the study!

Monday, January 02, 2012

How has your study grown this year?

That was the question posed on the Forum at the end of last year. I don’t currently keep statistics on the Parry study (mental note to do so in the future!). However, I do keep a list of all communication, so I can tell from that, that I had 20 new Parry related contacts over the course of 2011. That’s down on previous years (26 in 2010, 31 in 2009 and over 50 in each the two years before that). Although that might be a sign of less people researching, I suspect much of the reason for the reduction is my own lack of activity.

It is good to take stock occasionally of how the study has progressed – even when it serves as a reminder of things that haven’t yet been achieved (after all, I’m even less likely to do something if I don't remember it!) And, although I may not have managed to write about these events at the time, during 2011 the probable author of the pedigree sheets from Hereford library was identified, I learnt that there is evidence the Allington Parry family used the “fess and three lozenges” coat of arms and therefore linked themselves to the Herefordshire “Golden Valley” family, and Parry entries were collected from numerous sources (sometimes unexpectedly, as when the archaeology group visited a local museum to look at the roman collection, but browsed the social history exhibits as well, turning up three Parrys for me).

2012 has made a promising start, with both a new Herefordshire Parry contacting me and someone joining the Parry DNA project (not actually a Parry but, with the low numbers involved in the project so far, I welcome any interest.) So, instead of just causing me to look back, the main result of asking the question has been a positive thought – the opportunities are there for 2012, so how am I going to make the best use of them, in order to progress the study?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

The above shows a recent ebay purchase - a sample Christmas card produced by E. W. Parry of 100 Regent St, probably dating from 1885 (based on the handwritten note on the back.)

This year much of my time has been taken up with family matters, but the ONS still continues, albeit slowly, and I'd like to wish all my readers a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2012.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A plethora of places

I'm always interested in places named Parry - wondering what their history is and how they got the name. Today I found quite a collection, all in the same area.

It started from a comment on one of the blogs I follow, which referred to "Parry Primary". The blog, Good Morning Yesterday, is about life in Singapore in the 1950s & 60s, so I promptly searched Google for "Parry Primary, Singapore".

The map image says it all really:

It must be a headache for postal deliveries - especially if people fail to address letters correctly!

I'd love to know how this naming came about.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Remembering Geoff Riggs

I heard today that Geoff Riggs has passed away. I first met Geoff at a family history fair at Stoneleigh in 2002. At the time he was one of two people manning the Gwent FHS stand but we somehow got talking about One-Name Studies – I was thinking of joining the Guild, having seen all the good advice being provided on the forum about searching the 1901 census, which had recently been re-released. As I continued chatting to the other Gwent member, I became aware that Geoff had left – only to re-appear shortly later with the Guild treasurer, who was ready to take my membership fee!

It’s always stuck in my mind as an example of how Geoff made the most of opportunities to promote the Guild and, whilst I didn’t know him as well as many others did, his enthusiasm for genealogy was always apparent.

The photograph shows the roller banner produced for the Welsh area, which Geoff brought along to the Guild Conference in 2009 – I was thrilled to see the Parry surname being advertised so prominently.

Geoff’s own web site at shows the impressive work he’s done and an obituary by Roy Stockdill can be found at .

No doubt there will be many more tributes in the coming days.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pondering some issues from the Guild Conference

Before I left the Conference, I was given some other Parry information – six certificates from St George’s, in Birmingham, transcribed by Guild members as part of a Marriage Challenge. Certificates are always a welcome addition to my collection, since they help to confirm the links between people. However, over this last year, I stopped submitting entries to the Challenges, since I didn’t have the time to check for mis-transcriptions in the index details, or look for the marriages on the IGI etc., before submission. I almost re-started this week, when there was a message on the forum about the forthcoming Lymington challenge – until I realised that it was actually a repeat and I already have the two marriages from there. Good job I am not quite as disorganised as I sometimes think, and my BMD files were marked up to show those entries as already found.

It’s over a week now since the Guild Conference and organisation and technology are probably the two main issues that have been on my mind since then. John Hanson’s talk, Researching and Recording a large ONS, was based on his work with the Halsted Trust (The Halsted ONS, I have just discovered, has two Parry entries in it :) ) Despite having heard Jeanne Bunting some years ago describe the difficulties caused by the multiple copies of pedigrees and research papers found when the Halsted study was taken over, I still don’t add a date to all my own printed information so that it is clear which is the latest version. This can easily be done by adding a footer to documents, with automatic text fields for either last saved, or last printed etc., so it is one of my goals to do this from now on and also to gradually work through my past files adding them.

Keeping a research log is another suggestion I have often heard but have never yet managed to maintain for long (a book on my desk only works if I am at my desk, a log on the computer only works when the computer is on etc.) I do have a spreadsheet for keeping track of correspondence but what alternative methods do people find successful as a research log? Is there a good piece of software (or a way of better managing the software I already have), I wonder?

Regarding useful websites – such sites often get mentioned on the Forum at a time when I am too busy to extract all the Parry details and, although I have tried to keep a spreadsheet of such sites, so that I can return to them later, I often find myself printing the web page as a reminder instead. But John mentioned taking screenshots or printing to pdf - since I invariable visit the website initially just to check if there are actually any Parrys, that’s a much more efficient system than having to remember the spreadsheet, then find/open it and copy the url across. (It might help avoid the mounting paper piles, as well!)

Another tip, having all the ONS data on an external hard-drive (and backing it up to a pc/laptop), seems a reversal of the normal way of doing things but actually could be more sensible. Having been developing the Parry study over a period of time, which has involved several computers (and other things stored on the computers), I’ve run into problems with filing systems and synchronisation between a pc and a laptop. So having the study data as a totally separate entity on an external drive could be a better solution for the future. I was planning to re-organise the data anyway, with a view to it being more understandable if someone needed to take it over, so this could be a good opportunity to pull things together into a totally new format.

Dick Eastman gave me more things to consider, in his talk on the Family History World in 10 years time:
What about archiving emails? Few of us write letters in the way that people did in the past, so how else will our descendants experience that thrill of reading something personal from us?
That issue is relatively easy to solve (both my online and computer based mail systems seem to have the facility to archive messages) but this next topic is more of a challenge:
As society moves towards being “online, everywhere, all the time”, working practices are changing and shared data is being transferred so that it is no longer stored on our computers, but is held on servers “out there”, in the “cloud”.

How will this impact on my methods for carrying out the study?

Many of us who began our family history during the last ten years or so would probably struggle to deal with a totally paper based ONS – and I won’t finish the Parry study in my lifetime, so the methods used need to remain relevant to the upcoming styles of newer researchers. At the moment, my website is static and not updated often enough. Shared information, available to all, has the potential to allow for much more collaborative working – something I’d obviously like to see happening with the Parry ONS, so that could be a very exciting development (if I can learn the technology!)


Whilst working practices might change, how much will character and attitudes – if people pick the easy options now, isn’t that still likely to happen? We already see people happily linking into information and pedigrees, on sites such as Ancestry, with scant regard for accuracy. And contacts often pass on to me “facts” which I find to be incorrect. Sometimes it may only be a minor issue, such as reversed names etc - but that still takes time to investigate and clarify.

So how can any form of quality control be maintained when many people are all contributing to the same work in progress?

Dick did mention one possible solution, in the form of an “unalterable Wiki” – where information cannot be deleted so, rather than “correcting” what someone else has written, people would be able to add information and justify it, whilst still leaving the original in place so that future readers could judge all the evidence for themselves. This option does sound interesting - earlier this year someone on the Forum raised the question about using a Wiki for a one-name study site and there are Guild members already doing so. So perhaps some combination of a Wiki, linked to pedigrees built using a program such as The Next Generation or Second Site, which are designed for web sharing, is worth considering. I imagine it would be easier to update than my current web site, and more effective in engaging others to contribute.

But then, as well as the quality control issue, am I back to pedigrees spreading out over large areas so as to become unclear, or one person per page views that make it difficult to follow the various cousin level relationships, - the very reasons I deliberately decided to draw out my pedigrees in the first place!

As you can see, the conference has certainly left me pondering how to rise to the challenge of making the most of the technological advances, whilst still retaining the accuracy and clarity which (hopefully) are hallmarks of the Parry ONS.

(And that was just from two of the talks!)

Anzac Day

Recently, on one of the mailing lists, the War Grave Photographic project (at was mentioned. This database contains 788 Parrys, including 23 Australians and 9 from New Zealand. A search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site returns a total of 821 Parrys, with 34 from Australia, and 10 New Zealanders.

The photographic project includes graves up to the present day, and both sites include other surnames, such as Parryman, in the results, so more work is needed to clarify the overall totals, but the following is the list of those from Australia and New Zealand included on either or both sites:

Name, Rank, Date of Death, Age
A Parry, Sergeant, 20/02/1950, 30
Allan John Parry, Corporal, 23/12/1943, 27
Athol Wynne Parry, Gunner, 11/05/1915, 19
Benjamin David Parry, Private, 22/07/1942, 35
Bert Allison Parry, Lance Corporal, 02/03/1917, Age n/k
Charles David Parry-Okeden , Flight Lieutenant, 23/03/1945, 32
Charles Edward Parry, Corporal, 05/10/1943, 26
Charles Francis Parry, Private, 21/11/1942, 22
Claude Herbert Parry, Lance Corporal, 04/10/1917, 20
Cyril Strahan Parry, Lieutenant Colonel, 21/11/1947, 55
Edgar George Jarvis Parry, Staff Sergeant, 18/06/1941, 36
Ernest Parry, Private, 25/04/1918, Age n/k
Ernest Arthur Parry, Flight Sergeant, 29/11/1944, 19
Ernest Charles Parry, Captain, 06/10/1917, 31
Errol Vernon Parry, Private, 25/07/1942, 32
Francis Parry, Private, 04/04/1918, Age n/k
Frank Parry, Sapper, 11/08/1942, 38
Frederick Parry, Private, 19/07/1916, 20
Frederick Quiney Parry, Private, 19/11/1917, Age n/k
George Edwin Parry, Private, 30/05/1918, 28
George Edwin Parry, Private, 20/01/1945, 36
Griffith Martial Parry, Corporal, 15/04/1917, 24
Harold Leslie Parry, Leading Aircraftman, 11/01/1941, 25
Harry Leslie Parry, Second Lieutenant, 28/06/1915, Age n/k
Henry Parry, Private, 25/07/1916, 23
Henry Parry, Private, 17/06/1943, 38
Herbert Henry Parry, Private, 18/07/1915, Age n/k
Hubert Parry, Private, 23/08/1917, 19
Jack Alan Parry, Sergeant, 31/10/1942, 28
James Stephen Parry, Private, 09/06/1917, 21
John Parry, Private, 12/10/1916, 25
John Henry Parry, Private, 17/05/1941, 40
John Henry Parry, Private, 21/06/1941, 37
Joseph Stewart Parry, Sergeant, 29/09/1941, 26
Leslie Parry, Private, 01/09/1942, 33
Leslie Albert Parry, Private, 27/08/1943, 23
Morgan James Parry, Flight Sergeant, 16/03/1945, 22
Peleg Lloyd Parry, Lance Corporal, 15/11/1916, 28
Richard Walter Parry, Corporal, 26/04/1919, 34
Robert Duncan Parry, Private, 19/07/1916, 19
Robert Groves Parry, Private, 05/10/1943, 26
Ronald Wilfred Parry, Flight Sergeant, 13/01/1945, 20
W Parry, Chief Stoker, 22/04/1918, Age n/k
Walter Richard Parry, Able Seaman, 01/03/1942, 20
William Norman Glyn Parry, Trooper, 09/08/1916, 36

Friday, April 15, 2011

The generosity of Guild members

Back in June 2009, I wrote about discovering references to the burial, in Winchester Cathedral in 1634, of Roger Parry, rector of Hinton Ampner. After arriving at the conference today, I was given a photocopy of the register showing the burial entry, which had been obtained for me by a guild member. This was soon followed by a transcribed marriage certificate, produced as part of the St Albans marriage challenge, confirming that an entry indexed as both Parry and Tarry was actually a Tarry. Then another guild member stopped me in the corridor and handed me a piece from the Surrey Advertiser in January, featuring an Elizabeth Parry, whose memoir, “Thirty Men and a Girl: A Singer's Memoirs of War, Mountains, Travel, and Always Music” had recently been published.

It never ceases to amaze me how generous Guild members are, in giving their time to help each other. Each year I seem to come home from the conference not just with lessons learnt from the talks, but with additional information on the Parrys specifically.

Getting active again

Things have been picking up again recently. Several new Parry researchers have contacted me and a couple of others, who hadn’t been in touch for a while, have also written to send me information. Whilst life is still busy in other areas, it has reminded me just how much I enjoy working on the One-Name Study.

It's the Guild’s AGM and Conference this weekend. The first talk is by John Hanson and entitled, “Researching and Recording a Large One-Name Study”. Yes, I know that’s what I am already doing – but it sounds like a good opportunity to review where things are at and to get a kick-start back into activity.