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!