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.

No comments: