Monday, December 31, 2007

Rounding off the year

As this will be my last posting of the year, a year end round up seems a more appropriate subject than just a "catch up" of December's activities, although I need to do that first.

At the beginning of December, a couple of new databases were mentioned on the mailing lists:
The Dublin 1911 census became available from the National Archives of Ireland – 38 references to Parrys, although five are a family of "Kaye-Parry" and one has Parry as a middle name. Some of the entries were in boats and it took a bit of searching to find the Parrys in these, since there were several images in each set, but I managed it in the end.
Some Seaman's Wills were launched by the National Archives (DocumentsOnline) - 10 Parry records there. Interestingly, two appear to have been made on the same day, for two Parrys who are on the same ship. I wonder whether they are related or whether it is just coincidence.
Another researcher sent me details of the Bendigo Goldfields Petition of 1853, which has three Parry entries.

A certificate arrived on the 24th from the Billericay marriage challenge. I also received one on the 28th from the Aylesbury challenge. These were both 100% successes, since there was only one Parry entry in each of the districts. The variation in the number of Parry marriages in the different registration districts around the country will be an interesting subject to investigate when I finally get all of the information collected and can start plotting the distributions of events over time. As with the census distributions, I imagine the analysis will demonstrate how Parrys have spread across the UK from Wales over the years.

So that's a quick summary of the main events since I last posted here, but how has the overall year gone?

My resolution for 2007 was "to be more organised". In some ways, it's quite depressing to look back at the tasks I was considering at the start of the year – transcribing the census entries for my three main counties and getting them online, transcribing some Wills for Llanvallteg in Carmarthenshire in order to investigate the use of a coat of arms, collecting and checking the GRO entries, etc. – and to realise that none of them have been completed.

So I'll concentrate on the positives for the year instead!

I have managed to submit entries for almost 40 marriage challenges.
I have written some web pages to support the mailing list and message board.
There have been frequent extractions from new databases, many of them discovered as a result of the suggestions made on the Guild forum, which remains one of the best resources I know.
I have received and replied to over 300 specifically Parry related queries, of which 56 have been from new contacts (two in the last few days).
And I have started a Parry DNA study.

With regard to the last point, I missed out one event that occurred in December – the arrival of the results for the first participant in the DNA study. These were originally due to arrive during January but I received a notification on 20th December that the initial markers were posted and, by the 24th, all 67 Y-DNA markers as well as the mtDNA results were available. The mtDNA haplogroup of J* seems to indicate a maternal ancestor associated with the spread of agriculture into Europe during the neolithic period - interesting, but not directly relevant to the Parry surname study.

Of more relevance are the Y-DNA results – haplogroup R1b1c, which I understand is part of the most common haplogroup in Western Europe. No exact matches above 12 markers so far in the database, and no Parrys amongst the limited marker matches. But, since the Y-DNA is also that of my own family line, receiving the results has made the end of the year feel like a new beginning.

I have already mentioned that doing more work on my own family will be a goal for next year. Publicising the DNA study further on the appropriate mailing lists and message boards has now been added to that. There's still a lot that I need to learn and understand with regard to the use of DNA for genealogy but hopefully that will come with time – time to read my new resources, "DNA & Genealogy" by Fitzpatrick and Yeiser, and Chris Pomery's new book "Family History in the Genes". I thought Pomeroy was an uncommon name (1523 in the 2002 Office of National Statistics database database, as opposed to 35614 Parrys) but Chris mentions 1400 Pomeroy researchers who have helped him build up the Pomeroy study over 7 years. Thinking of ratios, the equivalent number of possible Parry correspondents could be interesting - perhaps I won't work too hard on the publicity to start with!

Other goals for the year – improving the organisation of the study will continue to be a priority, especially with regard to correspondence. There was talk on the forum recently about managing communication and better use of technology such as google mail. I should also develop some standard letters for administrative issues, such as on the mailing list or for those people who contact me not knowing where to start with research, as well as find a more efficient way of producing responses whilst investigating queries. That might help me to avoid the situation I currently have, of about 15 researchers awaiting replies where I know what needs saying but still have to write it all in a sensible order.

The work on transcribing the censuses for my three main counties will continue – that fits in with doing more on my own family as well as helping several contacts that I have specifically said I will produce pedigrees for. Systematic data collection, especially for the vital records to ensure I make full use of opportunities such as the marriage challenges, will be ongoing. I also hope to publish more on the web site and ensure that it is updated regularly. The Heraldry pages, in particular, will be an early target. And, finally, I intend to investigate using resources such as facebook for contacting people interested in the Parry surname.

That lot should certainly keep me busy in 2008. Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Parry’s Reptilian Wonders

It can be quite frustrating to discover a Parry reference and then not be able to follow it up further. A few weeks ago, on the One Show, Neil Oliver did a feature about the Royal Menagerie. In the discussion afterwards, they happened to show a photograph of a travelling zoo, which I noticed was called “Parry’s Reptilian Wonders”. I have written to the programme to ask for details about the source of the photograph but have not received a response. Searching the 1901 census site for Parrys who were travellers or had an occupation concerning zoos, circuses, animals, or reptiles, did unearth one possible family when I used “travel*” as the search term. There’s a couple from Lancashire, visiting a house in Worcestershire - William aged 25, with his wife Margaret, aged 21, along with a 7 month old son who was born in Staffordshire. William and Margaret both have the occupation “Travelling Showman”, which could be a promising lead – although I might have expected them to spend the nights in their own wagon, rather than sleeping locally.

But, so far, there are no other clues. So, if anyone comes across “Parrys Reptilian Wonders”, I’d really love to hear about it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Another interesting book

I received another "new" book today – the fourth volume of Michael Powell Siddons’ work, "The Development of Welsh Heraldry". It has a photograph of the monument to Blanch Parry at Bacton in it, as well as a photograph of one of the two Parry windows at Atcham (which were removed from Bacton in 1811). I already have photographs of some of the arms at Atcham on my page concerning the Parry families who used the "fess and three lozenges" (here) but I am aware of differences both in the arms shown on the various memorials to Blanch and also in the interpretations of those arms so perhaps it is time I gathered the information from the various sources together.

Interestingly, Siddons also quotes from notes made in 1569, concerning some arms seen "in Mr Parri’s howsse" in Herefordshire - but they do not include the standard Parry "fess and three lozenges" and they do include the arms of Moreiddig Warwyn. Later documents seem at pains to point out that the Parrys do not descend from that Moreiddig but from "Moreiddig of the Golden Valley".

So there’s a puzzle to investigate next year.

To do more work on the Parry heraldry will go with my other New Year’s resolution – to do more on my own family. And no doubt I shall be continuing with the ongoing challenge of "organisation"!

There have been several new databases recently:
US passports applications on Ancestry – I actually remembered to use Parry as a keyword, so picked up 221 entries, as opposed to just the 145 surnamed Parry. Some of the additional references relate to addresses (born in Parry Sound, live in South Parry, Ohio or Parry City, New York, etc) but most of them are people with Parry as a first or middle name, so they’ll be interesting to follow through.

Ancestry also added the Australian electoral rolls (1901-1935) - 4965 entries there. And I noticed the Radnorshire marriages for 1813-1835 which I don’t think I have seen before, so that’s another 56 entries.

I do have quite a list of sites to check that have been mentioned on the Forum. I have also sent off requests for three marriage challenges this week, as well as recently received results from others, so there is still a lot going on (despite the absence of blog activity).

And, with the DNA study starting up, it looks like 2008 could be an even busier year.