Friday, March 30, 2007


I thought it had been a quiet spell recently, but now that I have looked at some of my activities…..
- a link to an index of Methodist ministers and probationers who have died in the work was posted on the Forum – that contained 9 Parry entries and one Parys. All but one of them should appear in some of the censuses so identifying them in those is on the 'to do' list.
- a link was posted on the Powys list for the gravestones section on the Llanspyddid Community Website. There are three Parrys listed, so I spent some time looking for relevant census entries – found some intriguing links but establishing all of the connections is not easy so that will require some further work.
- another message reminded me of the Longtown Historical Society’s site. When I first searched for Parrys here, I found four pages of references, now there are 16. Clearly a site that needs returning to – especially since it is the parish where my own family were living in the mid 1800s. Aren’t I fortunate that my Parry ancestors lived in an area which now has some keen local historians in it!
- a couple of addresses were posted relating to the Gloucester Record Office and an online index to the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeology Society. There are over 100 Parry references in each, but I know I have looked at these sites before so need to check back first before extracting any more details.
- amongst various ongoing communications with Parry researchers, I also received emails from two who had not been in touch for several years. They’re both researching Parrys in Monmouthshire, largely in 'my' area, so that’s a promising sign for making more progress on the Parrys there during this year.
- had a look for some information on 'Parryville' after a link was sent to me by another researcher. I wonder if I’ll ever find out exactly how many places in the world are named after Sir William Edward Parry, the arctic explorer?
- Results from the first stage of the marriage challenge in Whitechapel district received (Thanks, Howard) – 11 out of 12 marriages found. To put that into perspective – if I was researching those particular families to the extent that I needed to know what was on the certificates, this challenge has saved me a minimum of £77 (or a lot of time searching through otherwise unidentified registers).
- four other marriage challenges have been announced so there’s a few other entries for me to sort out (fortunately none of the recent challenges are hot spots for Parrys)
- I went on an interesting 'sidetrack', when I was checking my one and only entry for the Epsom MC, a Robert Gee Parry. Since it is a fairly distinctive name, I decided to search through the censuses to put together the family. That was reasonably successful but, in the course of it, I began to wonder whether a lot of the 1851 for Manchester is missing. Why does something which starts off relatively easy, then become so much more complicated?
- Booked to go to the 'Who do you think you are?' show at Olympia in May which should be good. Any other Parry researchers planning to attend?
- yesterday there were problems with the search on Ancestry, which seemed a major issue for a while, since neither the nor .com seemed to allow any searching. But it was possible to browse the new databases so I did that instead and found they now have Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1956. I thought that might be a useful source and, once the search facility returned, I found I was right - 566 Parry surnamed border crossings, and 32 with Parry as a first name. But there’s 1,235 with Parry as a keyword, so there must be many entries where a Parry is a contact, or next of kin, etc.
- Received an email from NAOMI, the 'National Archive of Memorial Inscriptions.' Although it does have 11 Parrys on the site, I don’t think I shall be purchasing the details, not at £4 per inscription!

So not a quiet few weeks after all – perhaps better described as a ramble, than an amble.

And perhaps I should try posting more often!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Errors and Discoveries

Recently, I was checking the references for marriages to send to the upcoming challenges, confirming the FreeBMD transcriptions using the images on Ancestry, and also searching for the items on the IGI. Whilst doing this, I was surprised to notice a quarter which seemed to have no Parry references (March 1846). The image on Ancestry is a typed one and the surnames ran from Parrott to Parsison.

Since there were references on FreeBMD for that quarter, I had a look at their image, which turned out to be handwritten. Initially I had thought that perhaps a whole page had been missed out when the typed indexes were produced but it soon became obvious that it was just the Parry entries which were "missing" from the typed version and that they ran over several pages in the handwritten version.

The solution? The typed version shows no heading for the Parrys – so there are only five entries which should be Parrott, from an Ann to a Susannah, then the first names start again with Ann but, because the “Parry” is missing, it looks like they are all Parrotts as well

I wonder how often such a thing might happen with a less common name, where it is unlikely to be spotted? At least with Parry, I know there will always be some of them in every quarter so would be suspicious enough to investigate if I found none.

A couple more sites mentioned recently on mailing lists – the Museum of Freemasonry (which also has information on other similar societies) has a searchable catalogue which produced 16 results. Many of them related to the fact that there was a company by the name of Parry who produced some of the medals and regalia. But there were also a few books written by Parrys, which reminded me that I have still not decided on the best way of recording such things.

The London Gazette site was also mentioned. I have come across that one before but again, it should be on my “to do” list because it needs proper organisation and a systematic approach to tackle it, since a search over the whole current date range produces 14803 Gazette Editions that contain the name!

Finally, the discovery – yet another “fess and three lozenge” reference. Found in a Surtees Society publication of the Visitations of the North (Yorkshire and Northumberland) for the family of Baguley, “gold a fess between three lozenges azure” (p120, which is p136 if you use the page box in adobe). Somehow I think this one could be an error, since their normal coat of arms is just three lozenges, and the note does state that the shield is not recorded elsewhere. But it just shows how easy it might be for a single reference to mislead people.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Not directly concerning research but related to the web site and therefore relevant. I received an email last week letting me know that two of the links on the site didn’t appear to work. “Strange,” I thought, “they work for me.” But it was apparent, from the copied text in the email, that something wasn’t right. It turns out that IE automatically corrects little errors in coding – and clearly confusion on my part when I was teaching myself how to write web pages, such that I put \ instead of / on certain links, has probably resulted in some people never being able to view particular pages properly!

Which is a bit of a disappointment, given the number of years since the first pages went online.

I have now (I hope) corrected all of the links. I also realised that a couple of the pedigrees were likely to be displaying incorrectly in certain browsers (images which should align horizontally being displayed vertically instead). Fortunately, I found a solution to that elsewhere on the web so that has been corrected as well.

Ancestry are beginning to add British Army WW1 pension records to their databases. There’s only the A and B surnames at present, but a keyword search turns up three results with Parry either in the contact address or as one of the first names (although I suspect one of those might be mistranscribed as George Parry Blackwell, when it should be George Percy Blackwell).

There have been two new contacts since the end of February, so correspondence with them and some of the other more recent contacts has taken up a reasonable amount of my time. Another marriage challenge has also been announced, so sorting out the entries for those four challenges must be my priority over the next couple of days, although I have also been working on the web page for the Parrys of Penderi – one of the families using the “fess and three lozenge” arms. That’s something I would like to place online fairly soon, since I have received help from two researchers local to that area and it would be nice to show that I have actually done something with all the information they have sent me!