Saturday, June 23, 2007

Limited Time

Time on the study has been a bit limited recently, because of other commitments. This situation always leads to a backlog of correspondence so, over the last couple of days, I have been trying to catch up. As usual, there has been a variety of queries.

One was a new contact whose ancestror, a Hannah Parry, was born in 1811 and married before the 1841 census, so normally not someone I would be able to find much information for. However, the researcher had found later relatives, an Andrew Dorricott and his family, listed on my site, because their nephew, a Henry Parry, was with them. That seemed like a good start but, despite being able to trace the Dorricotts through the censuses, the Parry side remains at a standstill until some certificates or parish records are examined, since the Henry was born about 1872 and does not appear with his own family in any census.

Three of the contacts were people who had been in touch some years ago but had recently come across something which prompted them to get in touch again. There was also an enquiry from someone writing a book about the bishops of Barbadoes, three of whom were Parrys. That correspondence will certainly be ongoing since there is a lot of information available but it’s a matter of gradually putting it all together. Perhaps they’ll be candidates for another page on the web site, although I shall obviously have to ensure I’m not duplicating anything the author wishes to write. There was a similar query on the Parry message board, about a Baptist minister – I must remember to reply to that, there’s no dates given so a request for more information is probably necessary before anyone can help there. I did reply to another message board query, from someone who was “completely stuck” - that’s not even been acknowledged yet. I hope they were notified of my response.

A researcher who’d been in touch last year wrote to say that she’s found some relatives, which was great news (even though they are no longer Parrys, since they’re descendants of a daughter). I realised, thanks to the Guild marriage challenges and the recording of “cardinal points”, that her earliest Parry marriage, of Thomas Bancroft Parry to Priscilla Boucher in the March qtr of 1877 probably took place in Stepney St Dunstan. If she can view that record, it should enable her to confirm a possible census entry for Thomas as a 5 year old and therefore move back another generation. Talking of marriage challenges, I received results from two of them this week – 100% success rate for Whitechapel Stage 2, with 8 out of 8 found, plus two more results received from Poplar district. Several other challenges have been announced recently so I need to organise the data to submit to those – fortunately not too many to look up since none of the areas are Parry “hot-spots”.

Going back to the correspondence, I finally managed to reply to the researcher looking for the William Parry, father of a William born in 1864. I hate to admit defeat but, at the moment, I just can’t identify him amongst all the other William Parrys. I do hope that, as I gradually complete all the census details and matching up of entries, he becomes apparent, but it’s not looking hopeful at the moment. So many of the people change their ages and birthplaces from one census to the next that anyone who doesn’t have other family with them to help confirm who they are is always going to be difficult to identify (and that’s to say nothing of those who “disappear” for a census or two. Did they go on holiday, emigrate, or just get mistranscribed?)

But at least now the only outstanding correspondence is four people whose information I have said I’ll check through to see if there is anything I can add, so they all know that will take me some time to do.

Oh, and the replies starting to be received for the messages I’ve just sent!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Too many Williams

As often the case, the lack of posts does not mean there has been nothing going on with the study – rather the opposite, having received emails from six new contacts since I last posted, as well as continuing correspondence with several other researchers.

Sometimes it seems that most of my time is taken up by communicating with people, rather than collecting information but, since many of the enquiries do involve looking up details in censuses and following families through the years, perhaps it’s really just a different aspect of "collecting". The important point is making sure I end up transferring all the details collected into the master files for the study – back to organisation again (which, based on the mounting piles of paper, is something I still need to work at!)

But the general collecting does continue. I noticed one of the Guild members had a tagline for the Geograph British Isles project so thought I’d try a search for Parry related places, with some success:
- Parrys Field Barn, near to Fisherton de la Mere, Wiltshire (SU0039)
- Parry's Castle, Carmarthenshire (SN4114)
- The New Parry aqueduct on the Montgomery Canal (SJ3529)
- Parry's Lane, near to Westbury Park, Bristol (ST5775)
-The Llyn Harri Parry section of Afon Seiont, near to Bethel, Gwynedd (SH5264)

I know, from searching on map sites, that there are a lot more Parry related places in the UK so it has acted as a reminder that I still need to write a web page to collect the information together. (One of the new contacts has also told me of a road in Gosford, New South Wales, which was named after a Henry Parry – it makes a change to find a place in Australia not named after Sir William Edward Parry. Some information on Henry’s family can be found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography)

It is also possible to search within the descriptions of the photographs on the Geograph site. Doing so finds several references to individual Parrys - Llywelyn England Sydney Parry, who built Craflwyn Hall, near to Beddgelert, Lady Love Jones Parry for whom a property called Glyn y Weddw was built, R. Williams Parry, a poet, Tim Parry, one of two children killed by a bomb in Warrington in 1993, Sergeant R. O. Parry, one of the crew killed when a Lancaster bomber crashed in 1945, and finally Arthur Croose Parry who, along with Walter James Probert, is remembered on the war memorial in Birley, Herefordshire. That’s another reminder for me - the Croose Parrys are one of my "priority" families, that I intend to write a web page for. There’s currently some pictures relating to a heraldic query for them on my site at, but there’s a lot more to be written.

I had some credits to use up on so collected the Parrys in the London Burials database (167 entries). There was a message from the Origins network to say that they had also added the London City Burials to their site – I must have visited them too soon after receiving the message, since it was showing no results for Parrys. However, I have just rechecked and it now includes 192 Parry entries. I still need to investigate how this differs from the burials on Findmypast.

There was a message on one of the mailing lists concerning Ancestry giving free access to their US military records until June 6. Since I currently have a subscription, I can view them at any time but such messages always prompt me to have a look and start extracting! (only 132 databases with Parrys in – ranging from just one entry in many of them, up to the 1,153 in the WW1 Draft Registration cards. Tho’ strangely enough, searching from the main search page only finds 88 military databases with Parrys in – it looks like some of the databases normally included in categories such as "Family and Local Histories" might also have been made available amongst the military records offer.)

A probate entry I suggested might be relevant to the researcher of the coal business family has proved to be so – Thomas Parry of Saint Mary Islington , Middlesex, whose Will was proved in the PCC 10 November 1857 mentions his sons Thomas Sparke Parry and William Valentine Parry, as well as three other sons. So that’s a success in identifying that link.

A marriage challenge for Newport Pagnell has been announced – from a quick search on FreeBMD, there are four Parry entries in the district so I shall have to get those references checked and see if it is possible to find them on the IGI, before submitting the details to the challenger.

And finally, why the title? It’s a comment on two of the queries received from the new contacts, which have both involved trying to identify people named William Parry. So how does one identify someone with a fairly common name, born in the late 1820s, who may or may not be with family in the 1861 census (and I don't know who the family were, except the father was another William Parry), who may or who may not be married (he was recorded as a widower on a marriage certificate in 1864 but there’s time for the first marriage to also have taken place after the 1861 census), who died before the 1871 census, and who is likely to have an occupation along the lines of labourer, farm labourer or Ag. Lab.? Especially when people seem to appear and disappear across the censuses, because they vary their birthplaces and ages, as well as move around, which makes it difficult to know whether a particular entry in one census really does match to a particular entry in another census (and that's not even considering the mistranscriptions which disguise people).

I guess that’s why I collect them all – but currently, there are just too many Williams!