Sunday, December 17, 2006

A quick summary

Just a quick summary of the last few days, so that I don’t get too far behind over Christmas.

There have been several sites posted on the Guild forum concerning patents, following an initial message mentioning Google’s new beta Patent Search. These all still need following up, since there are 916 Parry references on the Google site alone.

I received a query from Adam, another Guild member, concerning marriages between people of his registered name (Hargest) and people of mine. Since one of the marriages was in 1914, I didn’t have any information on that couple but, by taking a guess as to the likely birth date for a first child, I did manage to find a birth registration in the right area for a child with the mother’s maiden name as Hargest, so that was a start. His other query related to a marriage in the 1700s in Llandyfalle, Breconshire – again, apart from having the entry from the marriage bond index, I couldn’t identify the Harry Parry further. But he was from the parish of Gwenddwr, Breconshire, where there is quite a sizeable Parry family being researched by others so I shall look into that further in the New Year, as well as try to do more on the births from the 1900s.

The subject of "cross marriages" between Guild Members has been on my mind after an email from Mary, who organises the Guild Marriage Index. There are currently 79 entries in the Index for Parry marriages, all of which have been submitted by other members. I could possibly find out the full details for each of those entries by contacting the other members – so that’s another thing to add to my "to do" list. (Fortunately several members have submitted more than one Parry marriage so at least that’s only 35 emails to write, not 79).

After posting a message about the NLW probate indexes onto the Powys list, I received a request for information abut a marriage between a Mary Parry to a William Thomas, around 1852/3. I have found one possibility in the GRO indexes for 1854 but also realised that the enquirer had already bought at least one certificate which appeared relevant to them – just one of the problems associated with such high frequency names.

But these recent queries have made me think about adjusting my priorities – although I really do want to get the details for the census entries for my three main counties transcribed and online asap, I am beginning to think that finishing the listing of the GRO will be of more use – it would save me having to spend time looking for possible entries when I receive such queries. It would also mean I would have the items listed so that, as I go through the censuses, I should be able to identify the relevant BMDs for the people I am transcribing.

Following on from my last entry, I received another Genes Reunited "New Names Alert" and decided to look at the entries for the last 14 days – supposedly there were 635 entries, but this total became 636 when I went to the page and, once I tried extracting the details, the final total shown was only 607. Definitely strange!

I have received the photocopies of the four probate entries that I had ordered from the NLW. Two of them are actually just administrations, but they have inventories and bonds with them so that still gives me the next of kin details. It is interesting to see how the earliest (1680) has a value of almost £490 pounds (probably a lot of money in those days) whereas two of the others were £19 (1694) and £92 (1746). I don’t know yet whether these do all relate to the same family but, if they do (as I suspect, since it is not a common surname in that particular area), one wonders at the changing fortunes. It will probably be after Christmas before I can transcribe them all properly, and I know there are some others to obtain for these Parrys in Llanvalteg but, hopefully, they should enable me to put together at least some form of a pedigree for the family. Then it will be a matter of trying to find other records, eg parish register entries, to confirm the details.

But I haven’t seen anything yet to indicate the use of a coat of arms, which was where this line of investigation started.

And, finally, another Guild member has written to me to see if I have any hints on where to start with carrying out a large study. (I shall resist the temptation to say “don’t” – I enjoy what I am doing too much myself – but sometimes I do think we’re a strange bunch!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

New Year’s resolution!

I mentioned recently to a friend that I’ve already made my New Year’s resolution – and that it is "To be more organised." The fact that, yet again, it is over two weeks since I posted anything probably demonstrates why – there’s certainly been things happening on the study, they just haven’t made it into the blog.

It’s amazing how much time gets wasted through not being organised – papers not filed when printed, resulting in it taking longer to find them when they’re needed, emails not written when first thought of, so it effectively takes twice as long to write them because they need "re-thinking". And I have lost count of the number of half-finished web pages in the "working" folder. How much more convenient it would be if those were finished – then I could just give people a link to them instead of having to virtually rewrite the same information in an email to answer a query, as I did yesterday. Another researcher had asked whether Ap Harry (which led to the surname Parry) was also the same surname as Harry. Now that page on the origins and derivation of the surname would have been so useful – if only it was online!

The question arose because I’d posted on a couple of mailing lists about a new discovery – the pre-1858 probate indexes for Wales have finally been made available online, but through the A2A site, rather than the NLW. That will be a great help to researchers – there are well over 2000 entries just for Parry and, since the records go back to the 1500s, it’s important for me to include the "ap Harrys" as well as other variations on those two names. I have collected all of the references that show up just from the initial search, but I still need to go through each catalogue individually in order to pick up the parish information. With 68 separate catalogues and all those individual entries, I think I could be busy for some time. But what a great resource for anyone researching family in Wales. And it could also be useful for the wider study of surnames – looking at the frequencies of particular names in particular areas and at how the Welsh surnames developed over time.

That I discovered the indexes were on A2A was thanks to one of the two researchers who have been helping me with regard to the Parrys in Carmarthenshire – he’d sent me a second listing of Wills for the parish of Llanfallteg and I’d recognised the format as that of A2A so checked out the site. Such contact with people who are local to the area of research is a great help and often a good reason for joining and supporting the local family history societies. Of course, I had already written to the NLW with regard to the four Wills for the Parrys of Llanfallteg that had previously been mentioned to me, and it now looks as if there will be a few more that are relevant, but such is life. I shall probably wait until I have been through all of the early Will entries, adding parishes and any other details, before I decide which others are important enough to obtain copies of. I now know, from the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, that one of the family was born in Llangan, an adjoining parish to Llanfallteg, so I shall obviously have to widen the net from just that parish.

I have been working hard over the last week to try to get all my emails up to date, after some non-genealogy activities had taken up my time. I think I have done reasonably well – even managing to answer some emails on the day I received them, since more come in while I’m clearing the backlog. But there are still a few long outstanding ones (that I need to find the paperwork for!).

An interesting point arose with regard to one of the new correspondants – the use of Parry as a first name. I am now in touch with three people whose first name is Parry – but two are male, and one is female. It’s interesting how "non-gender specific" the use of a surname as a first name can be.

There have been some interesting discussions on the Guild Forum recently. One, about the differences between Access and Excel and how people use them for recording their genealogical research, has set me thinking about organisation (again!). Another was about the Genes Reunited site, and about how to follow up the "Genes New Names Alert" messages. When I was a member (I joined for a year to solve a family mystery) I rarely received these notifications but now, having let my membership lapse, they are arriving every two weeks.

From the 3rd Nov – 15th Nov, there were 812 new Parrys added and from the 17th Nov – 1st Dec there were 787. In total, there are currently 34982 Parrys listed on the site – that’s more than there were in the UK in any one census. You’d think, with that number of entries, there must be a lot of researchers who should connect to each other – I wonder if people actually look for, and follow up, possible matches?

Perhaps I should just be glad they aren’t all writing to me - not even my New Year's resolution would help in dealing with that number of queries!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Forgotten Blog?

Anyone who reads this blog frequently (is there such a person?) could be forgiven for thinking that I had forgotten it.

Back on the 6th November, I started to plan an entry which was going to be entitled “A Justified sidetrack”. It was to follow on from my previous one, where I had mentioned getting sidetracked such that I wasn’t working on the things I should have been doing. I really did intend to get on with writing the web page about the coats of arms – but then Ancestry made their databases available for free for three days. Since I only have a UK subscription, I could hardly resist such an opportunity to explore the entries relating to the other countries, could I?

So that was the “justified” sidetrack.

But I had just finished investigating those entries when Ancestry added a further batch of immigration records – and then made them available for free until the end of November.

Of course, I have only extracted the index information for most of these records – with the number of Parry entries on the site, it would be impossible to follow them all up in the time available (even with another “three days free” offer, which they have just sent me.). But at least the details I have collected should enable me to look at the sorts of records which are available and to get them into some form of basic organisation. Then, when I do get the time and resources to follow up further, I should have some idea of what I am looking at.

I did check a couple of the John Parrys, who appeared in the passenger lists around 1890, in case one of them might have been my great grandfather. He is reputed to have gone abroad at about that time, but there is insufficient information on the lists to identify most of them. I wonder whether there are any other records which might be of use? [If anyone does come across a John Parry, born in 1865 in Glynfach, Breconshire, (but just as likely to state his birthplace as Monmouthshire or Herefordshire since the family moved around when he was young) possibly working as a cattleman somewhere in Canada or America around 1890, but who has then “disappeared” by 1901, I’d love to hear from them. He was back in the UK by 1901.]

I had a nice surprise last week, when one of the Guild members sent me the details for four Parry related marriages – the results of the Guild Marriage Challenge that he had been carrying out. Two of them I’d asked for and they will help another researcher. The other two were previously unknown to me and, since one of them relates to someone with Parry as his middle name - which he never used in full on any census – I now have the added puzzle of working out where the usage came from.

I still have the backlog of sites which had been mentioned on the Guild forum to check out for Parry entries, so no news of any great discoveries amongst them. There have been three new contacts so far this month and I still have some census details to look at for two of the researchers who made contact during October. I’ve also been taking a look at the National Archives, where I discovered that some of their special collections are available online for free – so, at long last, I have a copy of the records relating to the “grievances and horrible extortions and destructions done to Jordan, abbot of Dore and his abbey“ as a result of the attacks by Griffith and John ap Henry [SC 8/213/10624 if anyone else want to look at it].

And, finally (only six days after starting to plan the above), I have discovered that Llanfallteg, the parish in Carmarthenshire where the Pendery farm mentioned in the previous entry is, has a Village History Society. I have been exchanging emails with two researchers from there who have been very helpful in supplying me with maps and information on the area. I have downloaded a Will from the PRO for a Richard Parry who died in London in 1641, and who I suspect could be the Richard from Llanfallteg, mentioned on the Genuki page at That should be interesting to transcribe. And I’ve also put in a request to the NLW with a view to obtaining copies of four other Parry Wills from Llanfallteg so it’s a case of “watch this space” – I shall track down these “fess and three lozenge” families eventually!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Coincidences and sidetracks

This week, I have been working on a web page relating to the “fess and three lozenges” heraldry puzzle – where several, apparently unconnected, families all use the same (or very similar) coats of arms. One of the families has been described as being descended from the “Parrys of Pendery”, a farm reported to be in the parish of Llanfallteg, near the border of Carmarthenshire with Pembrokeshire. I had looked for Pendery in various sources but had found no other reference to it.

Last night I noticed an email which had been dumped in the bulk mail (ie spam) folder by msn, which just had the subject “lloyd”. Lloyd’s not a family name I recognise, so I almost deleted it but something made me stop and check the properties. At which point, I recognised the sender as someone I’d previously helped with regard to her Parry family. She was wondering if I could get her started on her Lloyd line. Now, I don’t normally get too involved with research into other surnames – there just aren’t enough hours in the day – but this time I did, because of where they were living.

Only the exact farm I had wanted to identify with regard to the Parry family!

It looks as if the Parrys had long since left, by the time her family were at the farm but, what a coincidence. At least I now know where the farm was.

On one of the days earlier this week, I started out with the intention of writing the heraldry page, but got sidetracked immediately when I checked my mail beforehand. There was a message from ebay with regard to an item I was watching – a book about a railway tunnel, which had been written by a Keith Parry. In trying to find out more about it, I ended up extracting the details of all of the books which had been written by Parrys and which were held at a particular library. It was a fairly manageable number, only thirty two such authors there. But I wonder how many there would be if I tried the British Library catalogue? It’s things like this which make me stop and think about the goals of a one-name study, and how feasible it is to collect *everything* on the name.

The two new contacts I mentioned on the 23th have both responded with further information, which is great. Sometimes people don’t even acknowledge my response to their first enquiry, which can be a bit disheartening. One of the families is from North Wales so, as usual, there is probably not a great deal that I can add to his research but sometimes just sharing the information enables people to spot gaps and further opportunities for research. The other family originates from the area around West Dean in Gloucestershire but they are living in Monmouthshire for some of the later censuses, so that makes them one which I will be including on my web site.

If only I didn’t keep sidetracking and actually got on with writing the pages!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Quieter weeks

The past couple of weeks have been fairly quiet from the correspondence point of view, which has been useful since I have had other things to do. But that doesn’t mean work on the Parry collection took a break.

I recently helped on the Guild stall at a local history fair and discovered that the Herefordshire Family History Society, (who were conveniently on the adjoining table), have now produced their marriage index on cdrom. Given the concentration of Parrys in Herefordshire, as well as my own family links there, this was one cd I just had to buy! Some of the entries will be on the IGI, of course, but there are others that aren’t. (Even for those that are, having such a second transcription will be useful for confirming the details of the entries, since it will be some time before I could check all of the parish registers myself). Another advantage of such indexes on cdrom, as opposed to searching an index such as the IGI online, is that the whole index can be viewed. This makes it easier to spot entries with variant spellings such as Pary, Parey, Parrie, Parrye, (and “ap Harry” with the “ap” as part of the first name). There are 891 marriages with just the “Parry” spelling so plenty to keep me busy there (and three of them are Parry-Parry marriages, which will add to the fun of identifying their family links!).

A weekend away in Kent gave me the opportunity to visit Banstead parish churchyard, which I had read contained a Parry tomb. Email correspondence with a member of the local History group, who kindly went and checked the churchyard for me, confirmed beforehand that the monument did exist and was accessible. Although there are no personal names on the actual tomb, it does have coats of arms on it, photographs of which I will put up on my web site soon. And I know who is likely to be buried in it from the details in the book, which are confirmed by the entries in the National Burial Index.

Coats of arms can be very useful for identifying links between families – as long as one can be sure that they are genuine and have not been assumed. Whilst in Kent, we visited Canterbury Cathedral and I had a bit a a surprise when I found a Parry tomb there – that of Edward Parry, Suffragan Bishop of Dover, who was also an Archdeacon of Canterbury. The tomb shows the same coat of arms as that on the tomb at Banstead – which also matches to the arms found in several other places around the country. But most of these families have no known connection between them - so I think it is definitely time for a ”puzzle page” on the web site.

The Guild Forum has again been the source of several possible sites for collecting information but, since I haven’t yet had time to follow any of them up, comments will have to wait for another blog entry.

And the lull in correspondence has obviously passed, since I received emails from two new contacts yesterday.

Monday, October 09, 2006


It seems to have been a week of “bits and bobs”, with nothing actually getting completed sufficiently to justify writing about it. However, in keeping with the blog’s “reason to be”, here’s a few notes:

I finally got time to look up a web site of obituaries, relating to Saginaw, Michigan, which had been mentioned on the Forum. Although searching for Parry as a surname produced just four results, using the “full record” option resulted in twelve. Three of these additional entries were for people born in Parry Sound, another three related to a Campbell family, where the husband’s first name was Parry but, of the other two, one was the married daughter of a Parry couple and the other was an entry where the spouse’s maiden name was Parry. Certainly a good example of how a wider text search can be more fruitful than just a surname search.

Another site mentioned was for the Jamaican phone book – netted fourteen Parry entries (although, being current, these go in the “file for later” category).

As well as updating the Parry profile on the Guild site, so that the census figures are more up-to-date and there is now a link to this blog, I have been working on my web page for the Parrys in Herefordshire in 1901. I have finished the extraction of the full details and am adding a map of the distribution within the county – but there are always some issues to sort out when trying to plot maps, so that still needs further work.

It’s funny how one thing can lead to another - the correspondence with regard to the Aston Somerville Parrys reminded me of a reference I came across a few years ago, for a Parry family in Lillington, Dorset, who appear to bear the same arms. There is a Will for a George Parry of Lillington mentioned in the Parry Abstracts book and he appears on some pedigree sheets I have from Hereford library. But, whilst searching for further information on the Parrys from Lillington, I happened to come across a list of marriages at Winfrith Newburgh (no. I’d never heard of it, either!) which included the marriage of an Alexander Parry of Owermoigne to Joane Mildeton on 20 Jun 1603. I suspect this is Alexander, son of Leonard Parry, the Rector of Owermoigne – who just happens to appear on the same pedigree as George, only without any details for his marriage, so that’s a useful find.

Another item found through the Lillington/Parry search was an “index to Dorsetshire” which, on further investigation, turned out to be an ongoing series of publications concerning monumental brasses. A google site search produced several references to Parrys there, so that’s clearly something to explore further.

Whilst I was thinking about the discrepancies in some of the Parry pedigrees, I had another look at the online Calendars of Patent Rolls, since I know several people on the pedigrees appear in them. This site seems to have improved its layout so it's easier to follow up the references (mainly to Ap Harrys/Ap Henrys in those days, not Parrys) But I need to understand more about these sorts of records, and the history of the time, before I can make sense of some of the entries.

There’s been a sudden flurry of activity on the mailing list – mainly due to one researcher who has “found” the message board. At least it has enabled me to see that the gateway between the board and the list is finally working properly, as are the mailing list digests.

I received copies of two certificates from another researcher, which will be a help when I come to deal with the civil registration entries. There have also been two further new contacts this week – one already back to 1780, and the other in America, so perhaps not a great deal I can help them with, but I shall try.

And finally, a notification from the Powys mailing list that the Genuki pages now contain a list of photographers in Wales – not surprisingly, a few of them are Parrys!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Historical Records

Two new contacts over the last few days, as well as continued correspondence with three others. One of the new contacts has family in Monmouthshire which is already traced back to an Edward Parry born around 1806, so I am not sure how much help I will be able to be at the moment, although I have been able to find some relevant census details.

But it is always good to account for a few more Parrys from one of my three main counties.

The other new contact is even further back in their research, having traced the family back to the mid 1600s. This is a family I recognise – the Aston Somerville Parrys – who, from the coat of arms on the monument in the church there, could possibly connect to the Henry Parry who was Bishop of Worcester in the early 1600s, and also to the Parrys of the Golden Valley, Herefordshire.

Which reminds me that I still have some photographs relating to Henry, and to the Aston Somerville memorials, which I haven’t yet sorted out to put on the web site.

I’d love to be able to find the links between all of the families who used this coat of arms – but will I ever know enough to do so?

It’s not just the simple “data processing” task, of gathering more information in order to connect up all of the, currently unconnected, individuals or partial pedigrees (and to correct the discrepancies in some of the accounts already published). It’s also about having the skill to understand what some of the information gathered actually means - I needed a lesson on the background and language of marriage settlements recently, having misunderstood which of the parties actually had the “use” of the property.

Sometimes the thought of amateurs such as myself tackling historical records is quite frightening!

Perhaps that’s just one of the difficulties of carrying out a One-Name Study – we collect everything, from any place and any time. So, whereas a “normal” genealogist would be tackling things gradually, working back a step at a time, we might suddenly find ourselves delving into medieval records (or even earlier) without having had the opportunity to build up the background knowledge necessary for their correct interpretation.

A cue for a reminder to myself – to constantly ask, “Am I understanding this correctly?” and to be prepared for alternative explanations, rather than assuming things really are as they first appear.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Matching references

Thanks to a comment by another Guild member, John Dods, I spent some time yesterday extracting references to Parrys from the National Archives of South Africa. There were 828 occurrences of the name so I have a lot of work to do in identifying exactly what is there but, whilst looking through them, I just happened to notice some references to “Leon Parry and Hayhoe Ltd”. It stuck out to me because Leon is not a name I have come across for a Parry.

Later, I happened to be looking at the new British Phone Books database on Ancestry – and what should I find but entries for “Parry Leon & Hayhoe, Travel Agnts (South Africa) Ltd, 219 Regent st W.1”

I then checked that address in a 1934 Trade Directory, but they weren’t there. However, they were listed under the Commercial section - “PARRY, LEON & HAYHOE (SOUTH AFRICA) LIMITED (Representing Parry, Leon & Hayhoe Ltd. The South African steamship, shipping, forwarding & insurance agents, bonded warehousemen &c.; marine surveyors & adjustors; agents for brokers at Lloyds), 19 & 20 Northumberland avenue WC2- Telegrams, “Parlehay, London”; Phone, Whitehall 3387 & 3388.

I wasn’t sure where to find them within the Trade section but a look under Shipping revealed that “Agents-Shipping” was the most likely grouping and, yes, there they were, as well as under the Northumberland Avenue address in the street directory.

Repeating the process with a 1938 directory, I found from the Commercial listing that the company was now at 2 Conduit St. And again, they appeared under that address in the Street Index and also under the Agents-Shipping group in the trade directory.

Of course, “Leon” wasn’t the first name of a Parry, it was the surname of someone else in the company, as indicated by a message now found on one of the mailing lists.

But, if I had realised that at the time, I might not have remembered the name later so would not have spotting the matching references!

Friday, September 22, 2006

An afternoon's search

Well, I was right – another two weeks before I posted an entry. But I can’t blame the mailing list transfer. Everything went smoothly with that and the Parry list has now migrated to the new mailing list software being used by Rootsweb.

No, it has just turned out to be a busy couple of weeks. Again, correspondance has taken up a fair amount of my time – fourteen Parry related emails received, leading to eleven replies being sent. A couple of the responses involved following families through all of the censuses, which can be quite time consuming but is also fascinating – seeing how fortunes change and a child in the workhouse can become someone famous, or how some families "die out", because branches all end with daughters, so there are no sons to carry on the family name.

Amongst the information sent to me recently was another obituary. As I’ve mentioned before, these can be very useful sources of information, as they often list the relatives attending the funeral. But one thing I noticed about this one was the separation of men and women – the men attending the funeral and the women being at the house. Was this a particular social practice of the time (or the area), I wonder?

There’s more to family history than just the story of a family – it prompts enquiry into many areas of social history that I, for one, might never have considered.

Other interesting reading I received were two articles relating to a Parry family from Machynlleth, where a researcher has traced the family, largely through property deeds and probate entries, back into the 1600s. At this time, the patronymic system was still in operation and the family is a good illustration of how the "Harry/Parry" name can re-occur through several generations, whilst not actually being their "surname".

It is an interesting thought that, for many Parry families, by the time the line has been traced back about six generations from someone alive in 1901, they might no longer have the surname. Unfortunately many of the surviving parish registers in Wales don’t start until the 1700s but, where they do begin earlier, or where the surname settled slightly later, there would seem to be great potential for researchers to be able to establish exactly when their family became Parrys.

If only there weren’t so many of them that it is often impossible to get back beyond 1800!

The Guild forum has again been a useful source of information. Amongst the sites posted have been some relating to modern references, such as UK company directors, or US "people look up" sites, such as the My Family people finder which found 26,466 Parrys! Clearly such sites produce a large number of results for the surname, sometimes with too many occurrences of even just one first name, to allow the data to be fully searched. Not that I’m in a position to do a great deal with such current data even if I could collect it all, since I still have the 20th century BMDs for UK to extract.

A recent addition to the Ancestry databases shows more promise, although again will tend to produce a large number of results. Their "British Phone Books 1880-1984 Release 1" contains 5120 Parry entries – somehow I think it will be a long time before I can do much with those but certainly the ones for the early 20th century will be useful.

Another "Guild" reference was a site for the town of Burton Latimer, in Northamptonshire. I wasn’t expecting much, since it’s not really a "Parry" area but I did find one family in the 1901 transcriptions. The household was headed by an unmarried Catherine M Parry, with "Head" crossed out and "sister" entered instead. With her were six children described as daughters and sons, but I guessed they were probably not her’s. In the course of trying to identify them in the earlier censuses, I found a couple of errors on Ancestry - someone transcribed as aged 2 when they should be 23, and as Parry when they were actually a married daughter and should have been Webb. Then there was another person transcribed as a son called Catherine Parry but who was actually a servant called Catherine Griffith.

I was going to say, after all that, that I never did find the original family that I was looking for – but I did (eventually). The 1891 searches were proving unsuccessful so I tried earlier and found a possible entry for the Catherine Parry in 1881, in Llanasa, Flintshire, with parents, Alexander and Margaret, and siblings Joseph aged 18, and Emma aged 12. At 15, the Catherine was recorded as a pupil teacher, so she seemed a good candidate for someone who is later a described as Governess.

Next I found the oldest children, in the 1891 census, with Frances as Francis, Margaret as Margaretc and the birthplace of Canonbury as Cannonbury. Obvious really. Good job Mary F was just Mary F!

This time the children were with their mother Louisa Flora Parry, visiting their grandmother, Emma M Draper. A quick look on Ancestry’s listing from FreeBMD, and there’s Louisa Flora Draper getting married in Kensington, June qtr of 1886 to a John Parry. Quick look forward to 1901, Louisa Flora (transcribed as "Floy") Parry is with her husband at the Vicarage in Bromley. John, her husband, is a Church of England clergyman. Staying with them is his brother Joshua Powell Parry, an undergraduate from Jesus College Cambridge. No children there – they’re obviously all with their aunt, Catherine, in Burton Latimer.

Back to 1891, where’s John? No sign of him at the moment so let’s look for Joshua. He also seems to have absented himself, so I’ll try the 1881. There’s Joshua P Parry, aged 9, staying with his brother William 22, another brother Edward G, also 22, and a sister Josephine aged 20. They’re in Liverpool and it looks as if John is also nearby - a 24 year old lodger, Clerk in Holy orders, Curate of St Chrysostom, with a B.A from Cambridge.

Looking further back, in 1871, there’s Alexander Parry again, with his wife, Margaret, this time with children John 14, William and Edward G., both 12 and described as twins, Josephine 10, Joseph 8, Catherine M 5, and Emma 2. Joshua would not yet have been born.

So I was right with my identification of Catherine in 1881.

Nice when things match up like that. And of course, that isn’t the end of the story. With a name such as Alexander, which is not a common Parry first name, and his birth place in both 1871 and 1881 consistently being Ysceifiog, it isn’t that difficult to find the family in the 1861 census, with the four oldest children, and then to find him in both the 1851 and 1841 censuses. In those, he was living with his mother, another Margaret, and his brothers, William, Thomas, Edward, and Joseph. The boys all seem to be in the building trade so Alexander must have changed direction, becoming (according to the census entries) a farmer and then later, a brewer, and earned sufficient to give his children the opportunity to gain an education and, for three of them, the chance to go to Cambridge University.

Those three sons, John, Joseph and Joshua, all appear in the Cambridge University Alumni. Interestingly, the entry for Joshua describes his father as the Rev. A. But I’ll leave that for a descendant to investigate!

So, from a site reference where I wasn’t expecting much, I have had a pleasant afternoon putting together a four generation family tree, matching up several disparate census entries in the process and been able to identify some of the Cambridge Alumni!

Not bad for an afternoon's search.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Update to the web pages – Probate index

I seem to have been composing this entry for a week. One day I shall learn how to write the blog so that it actually achieves what I intended – to keep people informed of all the ”daily” happenings, which rarely get attention on the web site. But I’m sure there must be one of those “laws” in operation for genealogical research – you know the sort, about how the time taken to carry out a particular task is inversely related to the time you expect it to take, combined with some obscure relationship to the complexity of the task!

Anyway, a brief summary of the events since I last posted:
Received nine Parry related emails (including two from new contacts), and an updated tree by post. Sent twelve Parry related emails, plus posted some census information in response to the tree.

Several useful sites have been mentioned on the Guild forum. Some haven’t actually contained any Parry entries (but I’m sure they were useful for someone). However, I did find a Henry Parry listed as a Navy coastguard on the Isle of Wight in 1841 through Ann's page. He was 50 and was not born in the county whereas his wife, Jane aged 45, was. No sign of them in 1851 at the moment though.

Exploring the rather gruesome subject of judicial executions, I discovered that two Parry ladies had been the victims of murders. No Parrys listed amongst those executed for murder (on that site - found one later) but the subsequent postings of related web sites did show up the case of Albert Parry, a private in the West Yorks Regiment, who was amongst those soldiers executed by their own side during WW1. (One of indexes at

Some of the sites have many individual pages, which can make them time-consuming to search. So sometimes one has to decide whether the likelihood of results justifies the time taken to search. One useful feature of Google is their “site search” facility, which does speed things up. It also helps in finding people or information which might not otherwise be found, e.g. a Dr Edward Parry who attended one of the victims on the Judicial Executions site, or the fact that another victim’s maiden name would have been Parry, since her father was named in the article.

Unfortunately the "site search" doesn’t seem to work on some sites, such as lycos/tripod. It also doesn’t help when a site exceeds its data limit (too many of the Guild accessing one of the execution sites, no doubt!)

Another site mentioned was the 1901 Canadian census, which currently contains 242 Parry entries. But I shall leave extracting those until I’m ready to tackle Canada more systematically.

Carole, a new subscriber on the Parry list, wrote a good message to the list to introduce herself. I thought I’d look up her family on the censuses but, in common with the way things seem to be going at the moment, the task extended. First, I came across a family who were mistranscribred as Parry when they should have been Evans (that lost me 6 Parrys). Then, after finding a possible partial family for Carole in the 1851 census, when I looked for them in the 1841, the only likely family all appear to have been mistranscribed as Perry (so that gains me 10 Parrys). I guess I gained overall, but notifying Ancestry of all the errors will take time.

(And whether it is the “right” family still remains to be seen, since some of the children differ from the list Carole gave.)

The problem when things all take longer than expected is that they end up only getting half done before something else crops up. [Mental note to self – still need to tell Ancestry about the Perrys. And still need to remove/add all the mistranscribed entries in my own census files].

And other things that crop up don’t always get dealt with. Anne posted a message on the Forum asking for views concerning the issue I'd commented on in my very first posting here – mentioning living people in blogs. Almost two weeks later and my views are still sitting in my drafts folder!

Found a “classic” on Family search – “2d. Gt. Gd. Father Perry”, born about 1727 in Stafford, England, who died about 1780. I wonder if that was really his name!

And, finally, I managed to upload some of my transcriptions of the National Probate Index entries onto my web site. They aren’t fully transcribed but the list has been “hanging around” for so long (one of those “half done” jobs) that I thought I ought to put them where they might help other researchers.

Not that anyone on the Parry list commented when I told them. With five of the 3877 entries relating to my own direct line (most of whom didn’t have much to leave anyone) I would have hoped that others might also find a few. Perhaps there just isn’t sufficient detail there yet for people to recognise their own family.

Or perhaps the list is keeping quiet prior to its migration onto the new Rootsweb mail system tomorrow. Will it be another two weeks before I post anything?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Filling in the details

When I first started genealogy, I thought of it in terms of working back from generation to generation – that, almost circular, process of finding a birth record, in order to obtain the parents’ names, from which one could find their marriage, and from there, their births, in order to then repeat the activity for the earlier generation. Perhaps this was a consequence of my interest starting after listening to my Dad talking about his research over the previous 15 years, since his main concern was in tracing his direct lines back.

But it wasn’t long after I started researching Parrys, and was working through Clodock parish registers and censuses, that I realised some of the advantages of checking original records and of taking a wider view, collecting the details of others with the same name. The discovery that my widowed 3x great grandmother, Hannah Parry, had a widowed brother-in-law, Henry Jones, staying with her in the 1861 census enabled me to make the link between her late husband, Thomas Parry, and the brother-in-law’s late wife, a Phoebe Parry, who I had listed from the PRs, thus establishing the parentage of my 3x great grandfather.

Similarly, it was following up the burial of an “unrecognised” baby, Lewis Parry, who I’d found listed in the Llanwenarth registers with an address of Pwll-du, which enabled me to discover that my 2xgreat grandparents had a fourth child. Born just four days before his 26-year-old mother died of meningitis, he died of bronchitis eight months later, a brief life that barely left a mark (except, I imagine, in the hearts of his family).

In his case he didn’t even appear in a census. But the censuses often reveal such additional information about a family. I was recently contacted afresh by a researcher who had sent me his pedigree four years ago, which traced his line back into the 1700s. Since I now have access to all of the censuses I thought I’d quickly check the details of his family from that source – and almost immediately found three further children who were not on his pedigree. A new tree is now in the post to me – clearly the researcher has been able to add much more detail to his original tree, as the census information has become available.

There are always new things to learn about our ancestors’ lives and filling in such details can often help with the more important aspects of research. I have received the railway record that I had requested from Cheshire Record Office for an Alfred Parry who had worked at Brecon Station. As well as including the date he started working for the company, all the different posts he held, at which stations, the salary that he was being paid, and when he received a bonus, it also gave the man's date of birth and death. If he was actually my ancestor, I would immediately be able to find those vital records for him, which would help to further the research back another generation.

I once heard a talk about “burying your dead”. Although UK death certificates are not as informative as those from some other countries, it’s still important to investigate deaths, searching out other sources of information as well. There might be more relatives buried in the same grave, or a newspaper report of the burial might give important clues (when I first started research, on a Minett family, it was a newspaper’s listing of a son of Henry Minett as “Mr Sorel-Cameron”, which first alerted me to a name change). Another Parry researcher recently investigated the reference to a dying ancestor having just given birth, something which has led to the possible marriage of the lady’s sister - a useful piece of information given the wife’s maiden name was Jones. And, if I hadn’t already known about Lewis from investigating the parish registers, I would have discovered him when I checked the memorial inscriptions, where he is the only one of the children mentioned on the gravestone of my 2xgreat grandparents. As it was, already knowing about him from the parish register information made it easier for me to recognise the memorial inscription as “mine”.

Of course, sometimes it is hard to find these additional details. When I finally find the death of my 3xgreat grandmother, I shall be very glad to “bury” her!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Holidays, Places and Names

Well, my holiday has come and gone, so now I am getting back into the study. Fortunately not too much happened while I was away – only seven new contacts to reply to (okay, two of them are people I have been in touch with before, but it was some years ago and they either don’t remember or didn’t recognise my contact details). Also received some information and useful links from a couple of my other contacts.

Some time ago, one of my family was looking for accommodation and found the chosen place was situated on “Parry’s Lane”. That set me thinking about places being named after Parrys, so I did a quick search on the Streetmap site and found that they list 51 assorted Avenues, Closes, Drives, Roads and Streets, involving the Parry name, as well as two actual places (a Castle and a Barn). For some reason, the Multimap site only finds fifteen results and some of those are duplications, where they have two versions of what appears to be the same address. Further investigation and comparisons obviously required!

But where else do Parry places occur?

One of the links sent to me was for the Geoscience Australia site, which indicates there are 36 places in Australia referring to Parry (although four of them are actually for Parryvale/Parryville so perhaps don’t count!). The site lists different types of features so again, further investigation is necessary to check on entries which may turn out to relate to the same place.

Another Australian site I’ve found is the Street Directory. You have to search by State but I found 82 street references, with some in every state except the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

So now I am on the hunt – looking for places to do with the Parry surname.

Another question soon follows though - who are they all named after?

I know from one of my Australian contacts that several of the places there are named after Sir William Edward Parry, the arctic explorer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few others also commemorate him. But some, such as the streets in Bristol, are more likely to be named after his father, Dr Caleb Hillier Parry, Physician to Bath General Hospital, whose library forms the “Parry Collection” in Bristol University’s Medical Library.

So, once I have set up some web pages to collect and list all of these places, perhaps there should be an ongoing competition amongst the more “famous” Parrys – to see which of them has the most places named after them.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another week's news

Another week passed without posting – was it a quiet week for the study?

Actually, no. I received 18 Parry related e-mails, sent 13 such e-mails (a couple were combined responses since several of those received were from the same person, passing on useful snippets)(And I still have three to reply to).

On Tuesday I noticed Ancestry had added the ability to search by parents or spouse name to the 1871 England census. By the end of the day it was on most of the UK census databases, as well as showing in the search results. This will certainly make identifying people from the index much easier, but is it enough to justify re-extracting? No, although sooner or later I am going to want to code such relationships into my files. (And, having continued to add the full details to the Herefordshire censuses yesterday, and been reminded of what a slow process it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ancestry have the full details transcribed before I do!)

I e-mailed Cheshire Record Office on Thursday to ask about a marriage bond. They do have the relevant bond but also have a minimum charge for copying, so I had a look at what else they hold, in case it was worth obtaining copies of other documents at the same time. That led to me extracting the Parrys from:
Railway staff records (243 Parrys)
Overleigh Cemetery (304 Parrys)
Freemen of Chester (82 Parrys)

A website for "Unassisted passengers to Victoria, Australia" was also posted on the Guild forum. I think I have looked at this before, but did not appear to have extracted the details so I did that. Currently there are 500 Parry entries but, according to other Guild members, they found more results this time than when they previously visited the site, so it is probably a site to return to.

In dealing with one of the e-mail queries, I came across the Australian Dictionary of Biography, which contains 40 references to Parrys, although only nine are actual biographies. The rest are references to Parrys mentioned in other people’s biographies. Still useful though.

Another query received was an interesting one relating to a Parry-Parry marriage in 1903 – which demonstrated how useful the Ancestry indexes are these days, since I was able to trace one of the branches all the way back to 1841. Of course, having names such as Violet Faith Parry and Victor Townley Parry did make it easier. Having the brother of the father staying with the family in 1871 also helped – although his name was just William, the fact that he was a partially sighted engine driver and retained both the disability and his occupation throughout the two earlier censuses made identifying the father, a plain John, much easier.

Oh, and I still haven’t mentioned what I found in 1837online! It was a Kelly’s Handbook for 1901. One of the entries in it related to Thomas Croose Parry, who is from a “known” family in Herefordshire. The entry mentioned that his wife was the daughter of Charles Lane from Liverpool. Since all we had previously known about her was that she was born in Brazil, this reference has now enabled me to identify her, with her family, in the 1861 and 1871 censuses, as well as prompting me to look for their marriage, which I found on FreeBMD.

I guess the reason this was so significant (apart from helping a fellow researcher) was that it came just after the suggestion that the two Parry families, from Redmarley and from Eastnor, might be connected. Both of these families have connections with South America - one with Argentina, the other with Brazil.

So it just set me thinking, not so much about Parrys emigrating, but about Parry involvement elsewhere in the world, perhaps through occupation or trade, which might not leave such clear evidence as them actually appearing in the other countries. A whole new area to think about!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Random jottings

When I first started collecting Parry details, I intended to set a “cut off date” of 1901, partly because of the “100 years rule” operated by some genealogical organisations and partly because of the difficulty, at that time, of collecting the more recent information. But such an attitude goes against the concept of a one-name study – which is to collect everything on the name, from any time or place. Fortunately, the growth of the internet and changes in policies have now made it easier to gather these details, with the availability of the civil registration indexes through organisations such as 1837online and Ancestry, of nationwide telephone directories and electoral rolls through companies like, and other items such as trade directories being made available on CD-ROM through companies such as Archive CD Books. Even films obtained through the family history centres will sometimes contain parish registers right up to the 1970s or 1980s.

I read a comment recently that, “the history of the Victorian age will never be written......we know too much about it”. Perhaps the same could be said about some one-name studies – a definitive history of all the people with the name will never be written. But that shouldn’t stop us studying it.

At the family history Centre on Wednesday I decided to look at some of the USA and Canadian records – there were 1,153 entries for Parrys in the WW1 Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918, but only 185 in the US WW2 Draft Registration Cards 1942, along with 352 in the US WW2 Army Enlistment Records 1938-1946. Are they non-comparable databases or did less people sign up?

There’s over 5,000 immigration records listed – they should help track down some of the Parrys who just “disappear” from the UK. I wonder if my 3xgreat grandmother was amongst them? Somehow, I doubt it – at 87 in the 1891 census, I wouldn’t have thought she was going far. But I certainly haven’t managed bury her.

Having written much of the above earlier in the week, it is strange that the requirements of one-name studies are yet again being discussed on the Guild forum. Sometimes I wonder whether people read the same registration form that I did!

Mind you, I had a chuckle after one comment by Chris – he is researching the name Gray/Grey, which is more common than Parry. He said he’d registered in order to obtain publicity (in the hope of finding helpers). For me, publicity was exactly why I did not register the name when I first joined the Guild. Too much publicity = too many queries!

But one of the benefits of the Guild now is the profile (see my Parry profile) and that at least gives me the opportunity to explain that I haven’t collected everything yet, especially in areas such as North Wales where the name is very common. It doesn’t stop me getting queries though.

I’ve received messages from two new contacts in as many days. One does relate to North Wales and I’ll need to ask for more information – the family I can find in the earlier censuses, which appears to match to the details sent, does not then seem to lead to the family which matches the information in the latest censuses. Have I picked up the wrong census entries or has the researcher made the wrong connection?

The second contact has traced her family back to Gloucestershire through Monmouthshire but, having seen on my website how many Parry entries there are in that area, wondered whether she had the wrong family. In this case, I don't think so, but it is a possibility which us Parry researchers always have to keep in mind, because it is easy to get things wrong.

And it isn’t helped by errors in the resources. While looking for this second family on Ancestry I found:
- an incorrect page link where the name index leads to page 12 instead of page 9 (and with three Parry families on that page, I’m glad I eventually found it!)
- a missing page (following an entry where Henry Parry, a 25 year-old railway clerk from Brecon, was recorded as head of a household but was the last name on the page so I was missing his wife, Kuhumah, aged 25, and daughter, Rosanna, aged eight months, who appeared on the next sheet. Thanks to 1837online for getting it right.)
- and, possibly as a result of the previous error, the Lewis family at the start of the page containing Henry Parry are all incorrectly listed in the index as Parry.

I’ve only found a few name errors on Ancestry in the past - to find three major problems in one day must be a record!

Spotted a snippet in my local paper on Wednesday – the Joneses want to break the world record for the biggest get-together of people with the same name. It appears that the record is currently held by the Norbergs, after 583 of them gathered in Sweden.

I wonder if there’ll ever be a Parry gathering?

Other events in the past few days - messages from two existing contacts passing on further information that they had found. I also bought two Parry items - a pair of upholsterer’s pliers produced by Parry & Son of 329 Old Street (I think that’s in London - still need to investigate the company), and a book by J. H. Parry, entitled “The Discovery of the Sea, an illustrated history of men, ships and the sea in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries”. Nice when several interests coincide!

And I’ve realised that I still haven’t posted what I discovered with my additional credits on 1837online. Oh well, maybe next time!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Web Site contrasts

Some more useful sources from the Guild over the last few days. One was a site listing sources relating to New Zealand ( Well worth exploring for anyone with NZ ancestors, since there is such a variety of information there. However, because there are so many individual listings, it is the sort of site which is very time consuming to search through. Using Google’s site search can help but only where the pages are on the same site.

So, with Parry not being a frequently occurring name in NZ, this is one to return to once I have some specific people to track down. Otherwise the time it takes to search isn’t worth the return gained in terms of general names.

In contrast to that, was an index of burials in Manchester City Council cemeteries ( - 523 Parry entries, all available as a result of one search. There’s only the basic details given, (name, year, and cemetery) with more information available for a (rather prohibitive) fee but, in many cases, I imagine the basic information will be sufficient to identify the person in the Civil Registration indexes.

Now all I need is a listing from the civil registration indexes to match them to!

That's another task still to be tackled.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The "missing" Will

I received the “missing” Will yesterday, that of James Parry of Walterstone Common, who died in 1883. No surprises in it – everything to his wife, Phebe, and their two daughters, Mary and Jane. Nothing about the wider network of relatives, such as nieces, nephews, etc. I guess it was hoping for too much, that he might also mention other Parrys in the same area, who may or may not be more distantly related.

But at least his family are fairly easy to identify in the censuses, since they tended to remain in the same parish. Work on filling in the census details for Herefordshire Parrys, and matching them up from one census to the next is continuing on an (almost) daily basis at the moment.

No promises as to when they'll appear on the web site though!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Time contrasts

I had some spare time in town today so went browsing in the Local Studies section of the library.

Found the details for 12 Parrys who were on the Courtaulds "Register of Hands", between 1911-1919, as well as 5 Parry burials in a local cemetery, another one in a parish church, and then eight marriage entries in that same church where Parrys appeared either as a partner or as witnesses.

Once home, briefly checked out two sites mentioned on the Guild forum (Duncan & Mandy Ball's Wiltshire site and Brooklyn Genealogy). The first is one I recognise – a replacement for an earlier site, which contains information on Parrys from Easton Grey and Malmesbury. The Easton Grey Parrys will eventually appear on a page of my own site, since I have further details on them.

Doing a Google site search on the Brooklyn site indicates there are about 44 pages with Parrys in – no time to extract them at the moment, since I have 4 or 5 Parry related emails to catch up with from the weekend. So, for now, I shall just add it to my "to be followed up later" list.

Start the day with spare time, finish it without enough time!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I posted a message on the mailing list yesterday, asking for help with a family in Liverpool for an Australian researcher. Today, one of the Liverpool researchers very kindly looked up the details for me.

It appears that John Parry, described as a "cabinet maker" by his son on the son’s marriage in Australia in 1862, was described as a "portrait painter" when he himself married in 1828. So, is it the wrong marriage, or did he change his occupation?

Or were some occupations, which we might nowadays think to be totally unrelated, more closely linked in the past?

Browsing on the web, I found this site about a Welsh Mormon Parry. From his journal, it appears that three of that family, two masons and a "painter, plumber, and glazer" were also portrait painters.

As my Dad used to say, "beware of viewing the past through twentieth century eyes".

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Probate records

I received copies of the paperwork for eight probate entries today (it should have been nine but the HMCS haven’t found one of them yet).

The family information available in such documents can vary – for example there’s the eight page Will of Joseph Henry Parry, an unmarried gentleman of Harewood Park, Herefordshire, which names his cousin and several nieces, or the four page Will with two codicils of Philip Parry, which names his five children, a son-in-law, and four grandchildren, two of whom are stated to be by his daughter’s former husband. Very useful.

In contrast to those, three of today’s were just grants of Letters of administration, which contain a standard wording to the effect that such letters have been granted to a particular person and that some other person or people are the sureties.

These often result in more questions than answers.

And, of course, it is two of this latter group which relate to my own family - the administrations of the estates of Mary Parry, my 4xgreat grandmother, who died in 1874, and of Thomas Parry, my 3xgreat grandfather, who died in 1854.

So now I am wondering – was the William Parry of Clodock, one of the sureties for Mary’s administration, her son? And, if so, why was it his sister, Elizabeth Griffiths wife of John Griffiths, of Penyworlod, Clodock, who received the Grant and dealt with the estate? Was the Henry Jones of the Cwm Farm, Clodock, one of the sureties for Thomas’ administration, his brother in law? Were the other two sureties, John Price of Cwmyoy Lower, for Mary’s and Richard Watkins of the Veddw, Clodock, for Thomas', relatives or just friends?

And why did Hannah Parry, Thomas’ widow, only obtain the letters of administration in 1876 – more than twenty years after Thomas had died? It implies there was something to administer, perhaps something which passed to Thomas as a result of his mother’s estate being distributed.

I wonder if I will ever find out what.

Monday, July 03, 2006

July 1916

(Learnt one thing yesterday – you can’t play around with the template, and still make postings without the template changes showing!)

Isn’t it nice when people are helpful – I’ve received three emails today from other researchers, passing on websites to look at.

That’s also one of the advantages of being in the Guild - other members will often bring to your attention sources which you might not have come across through your own research. Recently we were informed about the US Veterans Affairs Gravesite Locator, which I found contains 233 Parry entries. From that site I also learnt of the American Battle Monuments Commission, on which are the details for 11 other American Parrys who are commemorated elsewhere (in Europe or in Asia).

Which reminded me that I still needed to extract the names of the Parrys who appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site. There are 820 of them. I watched a program about the Somme yesterday, and about the battle for Thiepval in particular. Now I know that seven Parrys died there that first day of July 1916, two more on the 3rd, – by the end of the month, the total was at seventeen and, by the end of that year, at thirty five. The Thiepval Memorial has the highest number of Parrys listed on it, out of all the memorials on the CWGC site.

Sobering thoughts, and not what I had originally intended to write about today.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Time flies when…

….. I’m working on a couple of queries. I can hardly believe it’s over two weeks since I commented on writing about queries before actually answering them.

I did finally manage to reply to those two enquiries – in the process producing about ten pedigrees of families who could be followed through all the censuses, plus many other groupings that can be identified in one or two censuses but who don’t yet appear to connect to the rest. And all that from just one parish in North Wales!

Over the same period I have sent 24 Parry related emails, made 5 Parry Board postings, and (hopefully) helped three more new contacts, as well as received a couple of gedcoms, a printed tree and some details of Parry related places. Ancestry were celebrating their completion of the US census records, which set me off on a slight sidetrack, extracting the totals of Parry families in each of the states over the 140 years. That should make an interesting page for the web site eventually.

And the offer of some extra credits tempted me to fit in some research on 1837online – more of that in another posting!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Days!

Some days something happens which makes the whole day brighter (even when it was going well to start with).

Just received an email from a new contact – who turns out to be a descendant of one of the “famous” Parry families whose pedigrees I have on my web site. There is so much I hope we can discuss!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shapes & Sizes

One-Name Studies come in many different shapes and sizes: shapes, because of the variety of ways in which researchers choose to carry out what is effectively the same task; sizes, well, that one's more obvious - because of the different frequencies of the surnames.

Parry is a fairly frequently occurring surname in the UK (I must stop calling it "common"!). It is not up in the XXL category - only Smith & Jones make that. Nor does it join the XL group, the likes of Hill, Morgan, Fisher, and Gray. But, with almost 23,000 of them in the 1881 census, it is near the top of the L category.

Not for me that process of checking every quarter in the Civil Registration indexes, in the hope of a glimpse of just one entry - mine tumble out, filling rows and rows in spreadsheets.

With more people carrying the name, it follows that there are more people interested in researching it (although probably not proportionately - I imagine a rarer name has more "interest" factor). Yesterday I received one email from a new contact, and three from "pre-existing" contacts (although two of those were "new" just weeks ago). Getting the balance right with regard to communication (speed, frequency, level of detail provided, additional research undertaken as a result etc) is a debated subject amongst One-namers.

And having a blog raises other questions - what am I doing writing this when I haven't yet replied to the people I am writing about!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


First post [Scary! What will happen when I click on that "publish" button?], so it’s a brief introduction to the purpose of this blog. You can check out the links at the side to find out about the Study itself. There is a lot more information to be made available on the main web site. However, it takes time to put together those details and, in the meantime, there are all sorts of other "happenings" – contacts being made, new resources found, links discovered, and general ongoing development, etc.

So this blog is intended to provide a record of those things. Hopefully, it will also give a flavour of what is involved in carrying out a One-Name Study.

Some One-Namers have described their blogs as an "experiment". And, indeed, there does seem to be something almost contradictory about using a blog (by its nature, a "real time", "now" medium) to write about a genealogical study (where most of the subjects are dead). Especially since one of the major caveats concerning genealogical writing is not to publish anything concerning the living, without their permission. As far as possible, genealogy also concerns facts, pieces of information for which some evidence can be found, rather than opinions, the mainstay of many blogs.

So, yes, this is a bit of an experiment. It will be interesting to see how it develops.