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!

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