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!

No comments: