Saturday, July 28, 2007

A day out

I went on a day trip today to Trellech, Monmouthshire, with CADAS, the local archaeological society. It was mainly to visit the dig (see the Lost City of Trellech) but we called at several other places in the village, including the church – where I found a Parry:

The text says, “Underneath lie the remains of Hannah Parry Wife of Willm. Parry of this town who died April the 19th 1814 in the 50th year of her age. Long nights and days I bore great pain To cry for cure was all in vain Till God who knew what time was best Did eat my pain and gave me rest”

A list of churchwardens indicated that a William Parry was a warden from 1799-1804, so perhaps that was her husband.

I didn’t spot any Parrys in the graveyard itself, but only had time to check a few of the stones so there may have been some. But I did see the name again – on several estate agent's signs belonging to Parrys

Well, one-namers are supposed to collect every reference!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Compulsory civil registration, and new databases.

There was an interesting discussion on the Forum recently concerning civil registration and whether or not registration was compulsory for births prior to 1874 – it turns out that it was, but the onus was on the registrar to collect the information, rather than the parents to report it. This perhaps helps to explain the details on one of the certificates I bought some years ago – Albert Edward Parry, son of David and Jane Parry, was born on the 2nd July 1865, at 18 Neville St. Abergavenny, and christened on the 21st July 1865 in the Abergavenny Methodist Church (according to a transcript of the church records that I obtained after buying the birth certificate). However, his birth was registered on the 23rd December 1865 by Mary Yarnold, of Neville St, Abergavenny, who was present at the birth and who gave the date of birth as the 16th July. She also reported the mother to be Jane Parry (i.e. no maiden name) and gave no father’s name.

A search of the 1881 census, the only census easily available at the time, revealed Mary Yarnold to be a lodging house keeper.

I initially had difficulty in obtaining the certificate from the local registrar – because I had given the father’s name as David Parry and the mother as being either an Esther or a Jane. This was because, at that time, all I knew was that Esther, David’s first wife, had still been alive in 1861 but that, by 1871, he was married to a Jane. I was therefore trying to narrow down the likely timescale for the death and remarriage by identifying Albert’s mother. Since the certificate gave every appearance of Jane having been an unmarried mother, the staff at the Registry Office thought the details were too different for it to be the right certificate but, with a bit of persuasion, they did send it to me. Although I was convinced it was the correct one, I often wondered why the certificate was worded as it was. Finding the baptism seemed to put paid to my theory that David and Jane had been unmarried at the time and that Jane had perhaps taken herself off to a lodging house to have the baby “quietly”. Perhaps the explanation is actually just that the parents didn’t register the birth. Then, months later, either through general conversation or specifically checking likely places, the registrar found out about it and registered Albert with Mary supplying the details as she remembered them, just to ensure that a registration took place.

Later research traced the death of Esther on the 14 June 1861. The marriage of David and Jane still needs to be confirmed, since they don’t appear to have married until 1873, by which time they were probably expecting their third child.

I occasionally buy Parry related things from ebay – the most recent item was an auction catalogue for “The Parry collection”, a collecton of largely 18th century furniture made from either Welsh oak or of English walnut, which was sold at Christie’s in London in 1997. Little genealogical value to the catalogue, of course, but it’s interesting to have something which not only relates to a Parry family but also gives an insight into the items some Parrys may have been involved in making and others may have had in their homes.

There have been two databases mentioned on the Forum recently that are on the City of London site (although not that easy to find from their home page!) - the Diocese of London Consistory Court Wills Index, which has 19 Parry entries, as well as one Perry who is “otherwise Parry”, and the London Signatures Index of both Wills from the Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex and marriage bonds from the Commissary for the Archdeaconry of Surrey, which contains 12 Parry entries and 2 for the spelling Parrey. I still need to explore the information more thoroughly but there are a few familiar names so I know some of it will match to other information already held.

There’s also been a new index added to Ancestry - the Australian Convict Transportation Registers, which includes 55 Parry entries, and one with a middle name of Parry. Several of them were convicted in one of “my” three counties, so I shall have to try to find the records of their convictions as soon as possible. At least that should be fairly easy now I have conviction dates.

The marriage challenge at Blything has been completed with a 100% success record for Parrys, all 7 having been found. As if that wasn’t good enough, six of the marriages possibly relate to three generations of the same family, and their earliest ancestor found in the 1841 census, a John born abt 1780 outside of the county, was still alive in 1851 – from which it appears he was born in Hereford (one of my three main counties). And when I tracked down the couple from the 7th marriage in one of the censuses for London, it turns out that the groom was born in Breconshire, yet another of my main counties.

I’ve a bit of a backlog of emails at the moment - two new contacts on consecutive days at the beginning of July, and another two in the past four days, combined with the continuing correspondence with several others, means I currently have about 13 outstanding queries as well as the trees I said I’d check through for people. So, apologies if you’re waiting for a reply, I will get there eventually.

But I have just discovered that Ancestry now have the full British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 online (rather than just the A and B surnames) so I think I just caught the “collecting bug” again!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Yet another summary of activities.

I try to keep an ongoing log of activities concerning the study, which I then attempt to pull into shape as a (hopefully) interesting and informative blog entry. But sometimes (ie now!) the list of unfinished comments is too extensive to do that with so I’ll just highlight a few of the most important recent happenings.

I’ve checked out and submitted the details for the six marriage challenges which had been announced by Guild members. It was interesting that, out of the 14 marriages, only one was in the June qtr, the January and September quarters had three each, and the remaining seven were all in the December qtr. Obviously only a small sample but it will be interesting to see what the distribution is for all of the marriages (once I have finally extracted them all.)

I also received three certificates for marriages found during the Halifax and Huddersfield challenges. Together with those mentioned previously from Whitechapel and Poplar, they’ll keep me busy for a while, looking for matching information in the censuses. It can be very frustrating to find the relevant couple on just one census and then have them disappear (as Samuel Parry who married Martha Kitchinman in 1850 currently do, after their appearance at RG9/2910/53/3.) But sometimes the information found can lead to more than I expected – as in the case of a widow, Rachel Parry, who married a missionary, Zechariah Wilmshurst, in Poplar in 1872. Checking on the 1871 census, I found a possible entry for the widowed Rachel and then, in 1861, Rachel as the wife of a Thomas E Parry. Despite living in London, the Thomas Parry was born in Monmouth, so that raises the interest level, since it’s one of my three main counties. A quick search on FreeBMD using her maiden name, Rawlinson, (obtained from her father’s name on the marriage certificate) and I have the first marriage as well – Rachel Rawlinson married Thomas Edward Parry in London December 1846, so that ties up with the 1861 census family.

A contact in Australia reminded me about the First Families site, especially this page which relates to a Thomas Edwin Parry, born Kingstone in Herefordshire, and his Scottish wife Elizabeth. I’d had a look for them in the 1851 census before, finding a Thomas and Elizabeth in "Kington" in Herefordshire but she wasn't born in Scotland and they just seemed too old to be the right couple. This time I checked on Family Search, found Thomas Edwin’s christening in 1830 to a Thomas and Elizabeth, and then found two possible Thomas's in the 1841 census. One of them had a mother called Ann so, although a second marriage for the father Thomas was a possibility, I decided to investigate the other one first. This Thomas was with a family surnamed Brimfield, and there was also a 13 year old Eliza Parry present. So I looked for her christening and found a possibility, also to a Thomas and an Elizabeth, in Kingstone in 1828. I then looked for marriages and found the marriage of an Elizabeth Parry, with her father as William Wathen (so probably a widowed Parry), marrying a Brimfield in 1839. I then checked the Herefordshire Family History Society's monumental inscription index which indicated that a 35 year old Thomas Parry was buried in Kingstone in 1836. So this time it does look like I might have identified Thomas Edwin’s family.

Thanks to the same contact, I realised I hadn’t extracted occurences of Parry as a first name from the Queensland bmd indexes – this is necessary not just because of those cases where Parry is a genuine first name, but also to find those where it might be the first part of a double barrelled surname, such as in "Parry Okeden" and "Parry Winton". Looking through the list, I notice a few other familiar names – Parry Woodcock (perhaps connects to the family of Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, the composer, since I know one of the early generations there had a Parry-Woodcock marriage) and Colston Parry (the family I recently constructed a pedigree for, although I don’t know where this particular person fits. Perhaps it’s a lead to another branch, although it’s possible the name is just a coincidence).

Talking of the Colston Parrys, I’ve been contacted by yet another descendant of that family, so am about to start comparing information with them.

And whilst on the subject of contacts (‘tho’ not actually directly Parrys) I received one of the Genes Reunited "Hot matches" emails recently. These often contain people who match those on my tree purely in name and birth year, (which probably has something to do with me only putting such limited information on the site!) But this time I realised one of the three entries for the name of my grandmother, "Elsie Thomas", was actually a likely match. And when I searched for other Thomas’s in that area, it confirmed that there were actually two researchers who have put my grandmother’s family on the site. So I have rejoined GR in order to contact them and finally get around to working on my own family again. Perhaps I’ll get time to follow up some of the Parrys as well while I’m a member.

And, lastly, a couple of new/updated databases – Findmypast now has the passenger lists for 1920-1929. There’s 28 pages of Parrys, 1367 records. Strangely enough, no sign of my grandfather. It’s a good job I already knew he should be there and what ship he was on. A search for the ship (Cedric) by date (1924), using Donald as a first name and Par* for the surname soon found him – transcribed as Parey. Well, I guess I should have known I’d have to look for some variants as well! (15 Parey, 12 Parrey, 6 Parrie, 18 Pary, and 15 Parie). The current total number of passengers using Parry and my own choice of variants gives me 4597 results. I won’t risk using their variants – "Parry" with variants produces 14900 records.

And secondly, Ancestry have added the Breconshire marriages 1813-1837 to their site. This database was compiled by two of the local researchers, Alan Powell and Brian Hemmings. One does need to remember to search by keyword, not just surname, in order to pick up both brides and grooms. But it’s great to have this data available online. It really does seem time to get back to working on "my" main area for a while.