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!