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!

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