Monday, April 23, 2007

More sites and a Marriage Challenge sidetrack

A few interesting sites have been mentioned on mailing lists recently:
Buckinghamshire Wills, which has no Parrys (the nearest is "Parryt", but there are many Parrots or similar so it’s probably a variant spelling of that). But it reminded me that I ought to make a list of all the county related sites, such as this one, to ensure that I cover them all when I work on the probate items.
Queensland Historical BDM Indices for the period 1829-1914. I had some difficulties with this site initially (reverting to just 20 results and not going beyond page 1) but I was able overcome these by using "next" rather than the page numbers.
Online Genealogical Resources of the Westchester County, New York, Archives – found 9 entries in the marriages records and 11 under naturalization so that’s useful (although as just index entries, I don’t know how easy it would be to identify the same people in any other records, without obtaining copies of the entries to find out more information first).
Mention was made, on the Monmouthshire list, of a web site for Govilon, which led me to another site concerning the village history. We visited this parish in 2002, mainly for my own family history, since my 2xgt grandparents are buried here, along with one of their children. I discovered the existence of the local history group’s work then, but it is good to see that they now have a "web presence" and that there is also some Parry information noted under the censuses. More incentive for me to get these various families identified – this is one of those "too many people with the same name" areas!

FFHS Ezine arrived yesterday, which reminded me about the catalogue for the Lambeth Palace Archives now being available online. This had been mentioned on the Forum earlier in the month but I didn’t have time to follow it up then – and I didn’t get far today either. It’s possible to carry out several different searches so it really needs exploring properly rather than a quick search. Just using the Keyword search in the printed books catalogue find 186 references to Parry and, although there are only five Parrys in the Names Database, one of them, Edward Parry the Suffragan Bishop of Dover, does have 346 entries to his name.

The ezine also mentioned the Manchester petition concerning the abolition of slavery – I’m glad to see the only Parrys were in support of the bill, a Richard Parry, a Jacob Parry, and a James Parry. No other information on them though.

I forgot to mention in my last posting that a marriage challenge had been announced for the Reading district. I was sorting out the entries for that today (6 entries), checking on the IGI (2 found) and censuses (2 possibles found) and ended up thinking about how the availability of records these days makes it easy to research some things. One of the marriage entries was for a Richard Parry, March qtr of 1896. There’s only one other name on FreeBMD, an Ada Emily Rivers. No guarantee that they married each other, since transcription of the index is incomplete, but it seemed plausible so I looked for a "Richard and Ada" in the 1901 census (unsuccessful). There’s a lot of Richard Parrys, but the only one in Berkshire was an actor and appeared to be married to a Sybil. So then I looked for an Ada Parry – none in Reading and the only wife of a Richard elsewhere was an Ada Ellen in Wales. There were several possibilities to investigate in England without husbands – the most likely seemed an Ada E born in Oxford, living in Kent. She was the Head ("wife" crossed out) but was recorded as married. With her was a one year old daughter and a 40 year old "sister" Edith Parry. Now that’s obviously an anomaly – could it be that this Ada was a Parry who married a Parry, a Parry who wasn’t really married but said she was because she had a child, or was Edith in reality a sister-in-law? Could this be the right Ada?

Searching for Ada Rivers, with a keyword of Oxford, found one entry in 1881 – daughter of a Wm Geo. and Sarah Rivers, born about 1872 - and living in Reading. Using "Oxfordshire" found them in the 1891, still in Reading. No sign of a sister Edith, and the parents would have been too young to have a daughter of the right age anyway, but certainly the Ada looks a possible for the marriage.
So, back to the hunt for Richard Parry. Assuming he’s a year or so older than Alice, I searched for a Richard with birthdate of 1870+/-5 to allow for "census variations" (those few years that people sometimes lose at census times). Fifty entries in Wales, another one in Scotland, but it’s more sensible to start with the thirty nearer to home, in England. Some were easily discounted, because they’re Heads with wives listed. But there’s a promising looking entry in London – a married man, a civil engineer staying in a hotel in London. But he’s born in Yorkshire, so was he just down temporarily from there?

Using as a keyword the birthplace for Richard from 1901 – "Idle" – I found one 1871 census entry, 5 year old Richard, to an Albert W and Alice A Parry. Richard is actually born in Bradford, and the family are living in Eccleshill. This is the advantage of using "Idle" as a keyword not as a birthplace – Idle is actually only mentioned in the entry as the Sub-registration district, so I’d have missed him on a birthplace search.

And there’s a daughter Edith, aged 10, in the family.

Putting Bradford as the keyword to re-search found Richard in the 1891 (but not 1881). He is a surveyors clerk, in Streatham, London and has his sisters, Edith and Rosa, with him so that entry ties in with both the earlier census entry and the 1901 sister Edith.

And then trying a keyword of Yorkshire found the family in 1881 – in St Giles, Reading, Berkshire. Clearly the family had been in the South for some years.

So everything looks good, but is it? Without the marriage certificate to confirm details such as the fathers' names, it could all just be supposition based on coincidence. I just hope the challenger can find the marriage entry!

And finally, I now have a Freepages account on Rootsweb to use as support for the mailing list and board, so will be able to put there any particular trees that I can’t put on my own web pages, but which really need to be displayed somewhere for people to collaborate on. So I need to get on and write the initial pages and the Colston tree page to put up there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One thing leads to another..and another….

Recently a “renewed contact” sent me her tree to look over so I have been working on that, whilst also putting together some information on the Colston Parrys. Both families have people who emigrated to the States - which led to me deciding I really ought to do something about systematically collecting the information for there, even if only in index format. So I then extracted the 1920 and 1930 census details, as well as made a list of the items available on Ancestry for the US. I know I collected a few bits and pieces from the site when they allowed three days free searching a while ago, so it’s important I get myself organised to do that properly. But it’s definitely a job that needs doing this year.

I was a bit surprised that there had not been a reply to one of my message board postings but, when I checked the board, I discovered there were actually several messages posted which had not come through to the Parry list – so then I had to email the Rootsweb helpdesk to let them know the gateway appears to have broken. Unfortunately it looks like an intermittent fault, since some messages do get through and others don’t. An ongoing problem there.

Continuing to investigate the Colston Parrys, I had a look at the Bristol Wills Index, which had been mentioned on the Forum back in December – there I found an entry for an Edward Colston Parry who died in 1857. I’d seen that death in the BMD indexes but couldn’t account for it amongst the people I had so far found in the censuses. But now, since it clearly was an adult, not on infant death, I checked out the BVRI and found a possible christening of an Edward Colston Parry to another Edward Colston Parry, in 1803. I suspect, although it will need confirming, that the father is a sibling to the earliest entry I had previously found (a William Colston Parry who had children between 1787-1798).

The possible census entries leading from that christening matched up to some of the “stray” Colston Parrys I had found, so that accounts for several of them – and then I made contact with a researcher connected to the line through a correction they’d submitted to one of the census entries.

There’s been new contacts from several sources after the last few days – not only that one from the census correction, and two who have emailed me directly (make that three, since another email was received today & still needs answering) but also another one via this blog. I’d been thrilled to get my first comment on the blog, which had been from a Guild member who kindly looked for the death of the Lieutenant Parry – but to get the second, from a Parry researcher, is just as exciting.

I do hope they all respond to my replies – the number of new contacts who then don’t acknowledge my response is increasing. I shall obviously have to start either asking for a receipt to such emails, or sending a follow up message to confirm that they did receive my reply. That’s a shame because it all adds to my work, but perhaps it is something I can plan for, or set up to happen automatically – in which case at least it will lead to improvements in my computing skill!

Another coincidence occurred whilst looking for the Colston Parrys in the censuses. I had noticed some (unrelated) Parrys in Bristol, who were born in Buenos Ayres – and then the very next day Howard posted a link on the forum for a site with information from there. That led to me finding the details for the marriage of the parents (which gave me the father’s name) and baptisms for some of the family and, since I was now intrigued enough to look for them elsewhere, also to finding the family in another census.

Notice of an offer for some free credits on the Scotlands People site was posted on a mailing list, so I took advantage of that. Initially I extracted the census index information from Ancestry, thinking that would enable me to identify any entries which were particular priorities, so that I could then obtain copies of them. It did, in that there are several people from “my” three counties. However, it also became apparent that there are differences between the indexes on the two sites, so I then used the credits extracting the index entries from Scotlands People as well and will now need to purchase more in order to obtain the full details for those census entries, as well as to look at the other indexes. There’s definitely a need to prioritise, because of the cost, but at least I now have some idea of the totals involved, which I wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been for the free credits.

And, finally, the standard “New Names” message arrived from Genes Reunited to let me know that 719 Parrys have been added to the site since 4 April 07.

Phew, somehow I am glad to know that the message doesn’t need to lead to any action on my part (only because I’ve already collected the entries in the regular trawl that I now carry out twice a week!)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Correcting mistakes

A recent attempt by an inventor to cross the Serpentine in an inflatable balloon prompted a letter to the Daily Telegraph by a Jenny Jones, of Hampshire. It appears that her 3xgt uncle, a Sidney Parry who was a soldier in the Life Guards, once attempted to swim the Serpentine dressed in his full uniform. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to the other side. He is pictured on the British Empire site.

Of course, nothing is ever straightforward – the site indicates the event was in 1833 but the date given by Jenny is 1834. And, since that was prior to civil registration, there’s no easy way to confirm which is correct. To do so will probably entail finding his burial, (although perhaps a memorial or newspaper report may provide the answer).

I seem to have come across quite a few errors of one sort or another recently. I decided to taking a break from writing emails and do some census transcription instead. Almost immediately I found two entries mistranscribed as Crouch when they should be Parrys. Then a housekeeper as Higgins, the Head of Household’s name, instead of Parry. And then a married daughter of a Parry, whose surname was dittoed to her husband’s surname of Jones, and yet she was transcribed as Parry. So I gained some and lost others!

I also discovered that, where I had previously submitted a correction to Ancestry (again, a case of a married daughter who had been given her maiden name of Goode, instead of her married name, Parry) Ancestry have highlighted her mother and sister and added a note that they also have the alternate name of Parry. Now that’s just silly!

I imagine they use software which “thinks” that if one member of a family has had their name corrected, then all those related to them should as well, rather than having a person actually checking the submission. But the moral of the story for researchers is to beware of the little yellow triangles which highlight an alternate name, because they could be very dubious “alternatives” (and there does not seem to be a way of checking how the triangle came about – whereas actual corrections indicate the submitter – so, unless you can make sense of the other corrections in the household, you could easily get caught out on the names).

Talking of errors, hopefully I have prevented one, by suggesting to a researcher that his family probably did not come from North Wales, given that all the evidence places them in Bristol. It’s a family I call the “Colston Parrys”, since they often use the name Colston as a forename, which makes them fairly easy to spot. Only “fairly” easy - there are a few censuses that I am unable to find them in and there are also a few entries I can’t account for, so it will be interesting to see how they eventually all fit together. Pity most of the marriages are outside of the range for the current Bristol Marriage Challenge.

But I have managed to check and submit entries for the four other challenges soon to begin, so that will be a help towards identifying all the GRO marriage entries. Again though, errors can be an issue – at least two of the entries I have received details for, from earlier challenges, have then turned out to relate to Perry families when matched up against census information (despite everything in the GRO system recording the name as Parry).

I have occasionally commented to Guild members with “old” English names about how their names appear to have a lot more spelling variations than Parry does (which also then leads to more possibilities of mistranscription for them). And I’ve assumed that the difference is due to the longer time that their names have had to mutate, since Welsh surnames settled later than English ones did. But sometimes I get that nagging feeling that, perhaps, when I finally start matching up all the Parrys, I shall find just as many of them “missing”, because they are listed under some unexpected spelling variations.

And perhaps, in the end, the distinction between Parry and Perry will not be as clear as expected based on the theories concerning their origins.