Monday, December 08, 2008

One-Name Study Blogs

There was some talk on the Forum recently about ways of publishing research on one’s ONS and blogs have featured as an attractive alternative to producing newsletters, or other printed material. There are now 33 blogs listed as being written by Guild members. It will be interesting to read through them to pick up tips – I’m always on the look-out for new ideas, especially on how to write interesting entries.

One of the difficulties with this blog is getting the balance right between meeting the purpose of the blog (which is to keep people informed about what is happening with the study) and making it something that people will actually want to read. I try to log down in Word what I am doing as I do it but, with having a largish study, many tasks take time to complete. This means the blog can turn into a list of half completed activities, forever repeating the same things as ongoing - but the alternative is large gaps between entries, especially when other (non-genealogical) activities also get in the way and delay the finishing of things.

Several other Guild members mentioned being too busy to keep their blogs going. But with December now here, and the end of the year looming, I don’t intend to see "updating the blog" on my resolutions list so it’s back to the listing of ongoing activities.

Keeping up with correspondence has been a major issue, with two records in the last few months. On the 18th August, I received emails from three new contacts - that’s the most on any one day. Then, starting from the 23rd October, there were ten new contacts in a fortnight (looking back, it was actually nine in 9 days to start with – I’m certainly glad that pace doesn’t continue throughout the year!)

It is always exciting to hear from other researchers. As with the marriage challenges, receiving new information is an opportunity to look into a particular family and often I can trace them through at least a few censuses. So that is a form of progress on the study, even if it isn’t particularly systematic.

One researcher sent me a certificate for a marriage in Nottingham in 1922. Because of the names used, and the family’s lack of movement from the village of Llanrwst, DEN, during the census years, it was possible to follow the family line back to the 1841 census, through three generations prior to the person marrying. Obviously the details do need further confirmation but it’s a good framework to work from (and an illustration of the usefulness of middle names).

Of the three new contacts in one day, one related to Monmouthshire, and two to Herefordshire, so all three connected to my area of particular interest. One descended from a family I already knew a little of – James Pritchard was left the property of Arkstone in Kingstone, HEF, by Mrs Mary Morgan (an heiress of the Parry family), on the condition that he took the name Parry. There is a reference in the London Gazette to the name change (Gazette Issue 12920 published on the 11 September 1787. Page 2 of 8 ) and several Parrys appear with Pritchard as a middle name around that time. There had not been much cause to investigate them before, although I had collected a copy of one of their Wills, that of Elizabeth Pritchard Parry who died in 1841. Now I had a reason to transcribe it, which confirmed the initial conclusions being drawn from the IGI, census, and the researcher’s own family stories, about what happened to the family in the early 1800s. The next stage is to produce a web page of the tree (but there’s at least three other family trees that I’ve promised to write first!)

Whilst searching for information about that family, I came across a reference to a book about Kingstone, by Delphine Coleman. As an informative account of the history of the parish, it also contains details about the Parry family, including an image of the Will of a John Parry who died in 1689. Further investigation is still needed to follow up the information in the book but it is a good example of how useful local histories can be. It reminded me of another book I came across a few years ago, at one of the Family History Fairs. "Past People in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire", by June Badeni, has an account of the Parry family from Easton Grey, yet another family to be followed up when time permits. I already have photographs of many of their memorials, having visited the parish church some years ago, and there is a pedigree relating to them in the sheets I obtained from Hereford library, although its accuracy does need confirming.

Another fairly new correspondent has copies of an indenture and two property deeds relating to their family, which should help in tracing them back further. And following up what happened to the other descendant lines had one of those "you’re never going to believe this…" moments. The researcher’s discussions with more recent owners of the property indicated that there had been descendants of the family in Canada and a search through an old address book turned up a couple of possible names. I found an obituary online in which those names appeared along with some others. Could this be the family? Then onto the researcher’s doormat fell a copy of a letter and newspaper cutting that another relative had just found amongst some family papers. Yes, it confirmed that the obituary was indeed the right family – and the researcher is now in contact with their cousins in Canada, a possibility not even suspected just three months ago.

Seeing people connect up with each other is exciting. Amongst the batch of ten new correspondents were two descendants of the "Colston Parry" family (view their pedigree here). With another one of those making contact during October, that means there are now at least eight researchers of that family, and the pedigree needs amending to include all of the new information. Hopefully, being in touch with each other will encourage them to further research to become the experts on their own family, a depth of knowledge that I cannot develop for the many individual Parry families.

Of course, things aren’t always that easy – one correspondent has so little information that they are totally stuck in the 1900s and will probably remain so until the 1911 census is released early next year.

Whilst trying to keep up with the new contacts, there is also continued correspondence with others. One of these concerns much earlier records – those relating to Griffith Appenrith of Calais, who died in 1553 and whose coat of arms some claim to be a more elaborate version of the "fess between three lozenges" Parry arms. He is referred to in the Middlesex pedigrees as "Apenreth or ap Henry" so a link to the Parrys is feasible. An important article with regard to Griffith is "The Welsh at Calais" by P.T.A. Morgan. Several of the references for this article relate to records held at Longleat and, when I first read it years ago, I probably dismissed the possibility of ever viewing these, since a research student had told me about the "exhorbitant fees" often required for access to private records. However, a recent discovery has made me think again – whilst searching for information on a book about Herefordshire speech that had been mentioned on a mailing list, I came across a book cataloguing papers from Longleat, which mentioned families such as the Talbots and the Devereux. Tempted initially by the book, since these are "Parry related" families, I then thought to check A2A and found Longleat listed. It appears that at least some of the records have now been copied so maybe viewing them will not be so impossible after all. Interestingly, as well as the Calais records, there are three sets of papers with references to Parrys - one of which is an Anthony Parry in the 1500s. Could this be the Anthony from Wiltshire who appears in the probate indexes? It would be funny if, as well as finding information that establishes Griffith’s origins, the papers also contain details that help to identify exactly how the Wiltshire Parrys connect to those of Herefordshire – something long claimed by researchers but not proven. That really would be an achievement.

For a family genealogist, such stretches of the imagination would be a "no-go", since it is important to work backwards step by step to firmly establish connections. But, for a one-namer, following up all such references to the name is important. In this case, they could shed light not just on the particular individuals but also on the origins of surnames, since there are Griffith families who claim to descend from Griffith Apenreth.

Which reminds me, I still haven’t finished the web page concerning the surname’s origins, a subject that another researcher enquired about just recently.

Talking of the web pages, following on from the difficulties with the web site in August, I registered two domain names, and Since the posting problems resolved themselves, the domains are currently pointed to the existing site but they should make it easier if I do need to move it in the future.

I did actually upload the full details of the probate abstracts, although the page is not linked in to the rest of the site, since I want to rewrite the whole probate section. They can be found here. I had made a start on converting the information into a spreadsheet for submission to the Guild Probate index but that still needs finishing. The probate index is another Guild initiative which will be very beneficial as more people submit information, since it will enable members to find their surnames where they appear within the content of Wills relating to people of other surnames.

The marriage challenges continue. Since I last posted I have received results from the following:
Lincoln MC - 2 found out of the 3 submitted.
Blythswood – 1 submitted and found. This is a challenge in stages so I have also just sent 3 entries for the stage 2.
Marylebone – there have been several batches of these and it has fascinated me to see how many marriages relate to people who have moved from Wales.
Eton – 5 found out of 5 submitted. This one also led to a helpful discussion about the use of "mail merge" in the production of certificates from excel files, so I now have some linked files to play around with.
Shoreditch stage 1 – another 100% result, with 27 submitted and all found. I’ve just submitted 13 for the stage 2 as well.
Tiverton – 1 submitted and found. Now this is an interesting one from 1902 – the family of the groom appear as PARRY in the 1901 census, but are PERRY in every census prior to that, a family originating in Devon, but with the groom’s father moving to Wales by 1871. Since the marriage took place in Devon, where the bride was also from, yet the groom remained as PARRY, could this indicate a permanent name change for the family?
Cirencester – 3 submitted. Two full certificates found and the 3rd, a Register Office marriage, had the spouse identified from a local index. The two full certificates are from 1841 and 1870 and, as I looked for related census entries, I realised that the Mary Elizabeth Parry marrying in 1870 was actually the daughter of the John Parry and Mary Coole, formerly Radcliffe, who married in 1841. So that’s a neat tie up between the results.

Although I have only had a small number of marriages to submit for those challenges, there are others ongoing that I won’t be submitting to because of the number of entries involved – for the two stages of West Derby, I have a total of 1153 marriages, and Toxteth has 180. However, for a challenge at Birmingham, there are several challengers working together who are tackling it a church at a time. Even though I have over 230 entries, they have said to submit them, so I have. I might actually be able to help with some batches of that one though, since Birmingham isn’t that far away, so I don’t feel too guilty. I was across there this last week, helping to identify some of the churches in Aston, by finding a few of my Parrys. But, in the long run, it may be more practical if I carried out a more local challenge myself.

It’s not just receiving Challenge results that can lead to furthering the study. In order to obtain details of entries for the Scottish challenge at Blythswood, it was necessary to purchase units from Scotland’s People. While I had those, I extracted the rest of the Parry details from the indexes there. Perhaps not surprisingly, there seemed to be a higher proportion of variant spellings of Parry in Scotland. However, searching for variants also produces more irrelevant results, since the variants of Parrie and Parrey pick up a place, Parrie in Edinburghshire, and an occupation of a "Parrey Cox Maker".

I already had the Scottish census details from Ancestry, which was a great help. If it wasn’t for Ancestry having transcribed so much regarding parents and spouses, it would have been very difficult to sort out some of the families from the SP indexes alone, where several occur together on a page. As one might expect with transcriptions, there are differences between the information on the two sites, with people appearing on one site but not the other. It is fairly easy to resolve the situation of those found on SP but not on Ancestry, by searching using place references and just a first name, or even no name. But it is not so easy the other way round. Funnily enough, one of the latest Marylebone certificates involved someone who I then traced to the Scottish censuses, which made it worth going back and purchasing a couple of the images. This revealed that a person listed on Ancestry definitely does appear in the census, so I don’t know what Scotland’s People have them indexed under. One good point about Scotland’s People though is that, if credits have run out, buying more re-instates them, so that is good to know.

I happened to be looking at the Warwickshire County RO’s site recently, which has Parrys in their databases for Victuallers (4 as victuallers, 6 as bondsmen), Tithe apportionments (21), and Prisoners (15).

I still haven’t followed up many of the databases that have been mentioned on the forum, but there have been a few:
Manchester’s unfilmed 1851 census had 179 Parry entries.
A preliminary look at an Australian newspapers beta site gave me thousands of results so that needs closer investigation.
An Irish Mariners site turned up two Parrys.
And a Guild member let me know there are two Parrys listed amongst the yacht owners in "Lloyds Register of Yachts 1969."

I also noticed that the Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies, 1812-1834 were on Ancestry. I’m not sure how long they’ve been there. There’s 1704 Parry surname results and, using keyword, gives 2837 results because of owners with Parry as a middle name.
Another database it is worth using keyword for is the BVRI on A, which appears under "England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906" and "England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1940". This is not just because using keyword picks up Parry as a first name, but because it also picks it up in other contexts, such as maiden names of widows. (An example to explain - Hercules Richard Burleigh married Florence Peace in 1876. However, Florence’s father is shown as Samuel Billington Parry. It appears, from FreeBMD and CheshireBMD, that Florence Parry may have married Henry Peace in 1874.) These are entries that would be difficult to find on the cdrom version. The only problem is that it is necessary to visit each individual page to collect parental information, whereas that can be easily saved to a spreadsheet from the cd version, with the help of the LDS companion program.

Extracting BMD information is one of the main priorities of an ONS. I was recently sent a list of BMD details by a researcher and adding notes from those to my files indicated that I didn’t yet have all the relevant entries transcribed from the GRO. FreeBMD is becoming more up to date so that helped for some of the entries from the early 20th century. I also decided to have a look at the entries for 2005, which I hadn’t yet done. Using keyword, there are 707 marriage entries (about 350 actual marriages, since all entries are extracted at least twice when using keyword), 443 deaths, and 982 births. Not all the births are surnamed Parry, of course, since using keyword picks up those whose mother’s maiden name was Parry. However, with 558 actual Parry surnamed births, the population of Parrys does appear to be increasing – although I hardly think it’s doing so at a sufficient rate for Parrys to "take over the world", as a group on Facebook jokes.

Mind you, if they did, they could at least make it a legal requirement to record their own genealogy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another lost inscription and website issues

There’s been mixed results with regard to the Salisbury Cathedral records. Unfortunately, there is no record of Henry Parry’s burial. But although the burial register appears to go back that far, it is a later copy, so the fact that it shows no entry for him doesn’t mean there wasn’t one originally. After all, why copy a register unless it is in a state of disrepair? Perhaps some other contemporary evidence will turn up from elsewhere, otherwise it looks as if that query will never be resolved.

However, I did learn of an inscription that I didn’t know about before – it’s also “lost”, since the stone can no longer be identified, but at least I have the text for it. This was for Francis Parry, of the Close, Salisbury, who died in 1662, “a man universally esteemed, who in the maturity of life yielded to nature…aged 77.”

An abstract of his Will is in the probate abstracts book and he’ll be appearing in a sub-branch of the Golden Valley pedigree, once I put that on the web site.

I was going to say, “It’s been over two weeks now, with no progress on the web site problem” – but today’s check on whether I could upload anything succeeded! I was so surprised, I almost forgot what I wanted to upload. The DNA information is now on there, as well as a separate page for details of site updates. I haven’t added the rest of the probate abstracts yet – the whole probate area of the site could really do with some rewriting, so it’s a matter of deciding how much of that to do first. In some ways, the fact that I can now upload to the site again seems bad timing – I’d almost decided to take out a domain name and develop a new site because of the problems. Now I have to decide – shall I just “tweak” it or shall I go for a major change?

One of my contacts recently sent an article about Blanche Parry from the Birmingham Post – it’s a shame that, although the reporter had obviously seen Ruth’s book about Blanche, he’d still got her father’s name wrong (Miles was Blanche’s grandfather, not her father. Her father was Harry.) I wonder how many people were interested enough in the details to have now been misled.

I noticed the National Archives have the RN Officer's Service Records available. There’s 30 Parrys amongst them, including a few familiar names. It’s often interesting to look at how occupations run in families – I wonder how many of the Admirals and Commanders will turn out to be related to each other!

Thinking of “new”information, there have been several sites mentioned on the Forum recently, but I haven’t had time to follow those up yet. Perhaps there will be some good results to share in my next post.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lost monuments and other activities

There have been several things I’ve set out to write about over the last few weeks but time has been flying by again.

We had a holiday and, although I hadn’t planned to do any research, I try not to miss any opportunities. So it was that I found myself in Owermoigne church, looking for a memorial to Leonard Parry, who was rector there when he died in 1614. In his Will, he asks that he be buried in the chancel, specifying the words he wanted to be carved upon a plain stone. However, there was a notice in the church porch with some of the church’s history and the only stone mentioned as having been in the chancel was for the rector who followed Leonard. The loss of some artifacts as well as a number of memorials to the lords of the manor and “former rectors and their relations,” was noted though, so it appears that events over time, especially the rebuilding of the church in 1882, have taken their toll.

At least I did find his name on the list of vicars.

Leonard was rector from 1567 – 1614 and it must have been an interesting time. According to the noticeboard, although the rectory is thought to have existed since the thirteenth century, most of the present building dates from the time of Elizabeth (who reigned 1558 – 1603). The villagers were well known for their smuggling activities in the past – with the squire and parson also being involved. Beams in the rectory dining room are reputedly from a wreck of the Spanish Armada (1588) and the rectory cellar contains a bricked-up window through which the parson used to receive his share. Oh Leonard, if only you could come back and tell tales!

Later we visited Salisbury Cathedral. Here, I hoped to find a memorial to Henry Parry, who was Chancellor & Canon resident when he died about 1570 and in his Will requested to be buried under the pulpit. But a search of the recorded tombs shows no record of him. Perhaps there will be other records, such as the registers, which will confirm his burial at least. That’s something still to be investigated.

But back in June, I wrote about the lost gravestones of a mayor of Coventry and his wife, Mary Luckman, formerly Parry. I also knew that a memorial plaque in Church Knowle to another Leonard Parry, who was rector in that parish until 1623, had been lost when that church was renovated. Considering these two "new" losses, it shows the importance of recording things as they are today, as well as researching the past - perhaps I should be doing more on the current Parrys, after all.

I’m still catching up with emails from when I was away. One of them was from a researcher whose ancestor, Abigail Griffiths, was a servant of John Parry of Ewias Harold. In 1724, he left her all his houses & lands in Longtown, Clodock, with remainder to her brother David. Mindful of a talk on “hidden kin” at the Guild AGM, I am keeping an eye out for anything which might indicate she was related to him – especially since there were several David Griffiths in Longtown by 1800, owning land near to my Parrys. In fact, the son of one of them married a sister of my 3xgt grandfather so who knows, perhaps the Griffiths and Parry families intermarried in the same way the Vaughans and Parrys in that area seem to have done, keeping property "in the family".

But as usual, I couldn’t resist doing a search for any new information which might have appeared recently, and I spent some time on the site of the Ewyas Lacy Study Group. They are in the process of adding manorial surveys to the site, which will be a great help in identifying the lands held by Parry families. The area is a “hot spot” for Parrys, so I could quite happily spend hours on this site, and the similar site of the Longtown Historical Society Archive.

I saw a second hand book recently that looked interesting – “Thirty Thousand Yesterdays,” by Ann Parry. Ann was David Lloyd George's last Welsh Secretary, and the book was described as being “full of political and social events of the era before WW2”. But it is a much more “personal” book than I expected, starting with her early years in Anglesey, and listing the entries from the family bible. Those have enabled me to identify the family in three censuses – 1881 at RG11/ 5593/30/5, 1891 at RG12/4679/96/10 and 1901 at RG13/5296/95/6. I’m looking forward to reading the book through properly.

At the moment, still being fairly disorganised with the study, it’s sometimes easy to lose track of what information is referenced to where. I happened to look at the help pages for the Parry mailing list & message board just before my holiday and was dismayed to realised they were directing people to the Perry DNA project - since they had been written before the Parry DNA project commenced and, at that time, Parry was included as a variant under the Perry project. Changing those was a priority once I returned home.

I would like to say that I have also now updated my own site to include the details of both the project at Family Tree DNA and also the DNA group at Ancestry. However, having got all the pages written, I now find that my ISP has problems with the upload server, which is preventing any changes. “It should be fixed in 4-6 days,” they say. So how come people on the cable forums have been complaining of the same issue for the past two months? I might not have been updating the Parry pages frequently over that time, so hadn’t discovered the issue earlier, but I may have to consider an alternative web site if it can’t be resolved fairly promptly.

Other news – I realised that I had missed the deadline for one of the marriage challenges. Fortunately I only have two entries for that district but it was a bit frustrating. I have now submitted details to three others with deadlines looming, with just one more to do. The Parry probate abstracts would now be on my site if I could upload anything. To go with them, I decided to put up the pedigree of G S Parry, who originally produced them. His pedigree appears on one of the LDS films – I didn’t find it myself, I just happened to be sitting next to an acquaintance in the local FHC some years ago as she was flicking through the film to find the item she had ordered it for, when she suddenly exclaimed “I’ve found a Parry pedigree”! I got a copy and filed it, only later discovering the connection to the abstracts. But I am glad I decided to produce his tree because it meant I got out my file of assorted notes and pedigrees that I have been sent over the years. The very next day, I received an email from a new contact who wrote to say that a 4 year old Doris Parry shown on my 1901 census listings was his grandmother. As I followed the family back through the other censuses, I realised something was familiar, so I picked up another set of sheets from the pedigrees file, relating to research carried out between about 1930-1950 by a Roy Edgardo Parry, regarding Parrys in Gloucestershire. Again, this had been sent to me some years ago by another researcher and I had filed it until the time I got around to working on pedigrees. Roy Edgardo Parry only turns out to be the brother of this researcher’s grandmother. Instant tree back to 1700! In trying to check who it was who sent me those sheets originally, I found an email from 2004 when a non-Parry came across my site and decided to let me know about the developing site for Longhope village, a place with a graveyard full of Parrys – guess where the family is from!

With another of the recent new contacts turning out to be a descendant of the Jones-Parry family that I have a pedigree on my site for, it seems like a lot of separate pieces of information might suddenly start fitting together.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ongoing Projects

Why are some activities easier to do than others? At the start of the year, I wrote about trying to get some extractions or transcriptions done most days before dealing with any incoming mail. That tactic certainly worked with the probate abstract book, which was transcribed by March. The second stage of work on the details from the book, inserting tabs so that the information could be pasted into a table, was almost compulsive – the sort of task that is so easy to do in preference to anything else, that it’s probably a good job that, that is also now finished. The results have been pasted into excel and just need some rearranging and categorising to make them useable.

The process set me thinking about the different requirements of tasks on the study and how to achieve the most progress. There are many activities to be carried out for a one-name study. The primary task may appear to be the amassing of a large collection of data on the name. But that data then needs analysing, and conclusions developing from it, which should be published in order to advance research on the name. There will always be some overlap of these tasks, especially since one rarely finishes data collecting, as new sources become available. But for a small study, the bulk of the data collection can be carried out before the other stages and, in some cases, the study can effectively be “completed” – having traced everyone by the name back to an original source. There may be new developments to explore, such as the use of DNA for genealogy but, if you only have a few hundred names in any census, the basic work doesn’t take long.

For a large study it’s different. If you waited until all the basic data was collected, it would probably be your descendants carrying out the other stages! So it seems important to work on several stages at the same time.

Thinking about the nature of the activities, there are some which I describe as “mindless” - even if they take a long time to complete, it doesn’t matter since they can be picked up easily and paused at any time, and don’t take much effort to carry out. Other tasks require a bit of planning – perhaps they are still easy to carry out, but must be tackled in one go (eg where the data is only available for a limited time, or where any break in the extraction process would result in a different set of reference numbers and make it difficult to match up the data), or else they just require more thought in order to get them right (as when designing a web page to best explain a particular point). For most of these tasks, the final goal is known – it’s just how to get there that’s the issue. But then there are those tasks which require a great deal of thought and application, often without knowing quite what the final result will look like (as when I tried to find a way of mapping a modern Parry distribution with a program designed for 19c information).

So, for the different types of activities, it’s not just the time available that influences whether they get done or not – it’s also attitude. Do I feel like putting in that level of work, at that time? Am I up for a challenge, or do I just want something simple that will give quick results? I once read that it’s more effective to start a new project before finishing the previous one – the reasoning being that starting and finishing are the hardest parts and, if you finish a task without something else on the go, it gets harder to start something new. (Of course, it is important to ensure the original task does actually get finished!)

But, again, it's the principle of overlapping tasks, rather than tackling them consecutively.

So why this ramble about tasks? Basically, it’s the reasoning behind the structure of the ongoing projects list which follows. I’ve not really thought about the nature of the activities of the ONS in this way before – it’s just been a list of things to do, one after another. But structuring the activities, with priorities taking account of the nature of the tasks, could be a more effective way of making progress.

So, the ongoing projects:
The probate abstracts book is the main task but it has moved into a “thought required” activity, since the structure of the eventual database needs some consideration. And, although there are some simple corrections to be made to the original transcription before posting that onto the web site, page layout and linkage of related abstracts needs thought.
There are actually two new transcription tasks - census entries and BMDs. Since both of these will take a long time overall, having two provides a bit of variety. They are also both subdivided into smaller activities:
BMDs – the starting point is typing up the certificates received from the marriage challenges. As that moves into combining those with results already received in a variety of electronic forms, and submitting them to the Guild marriage index, the basic transcription task will become the civil registration indexes not yet transcribed.
Census – all of the index information is already extracted so this is the continued transcription of the additional details, starting with “my” three counties. Again, as this task moves into a “thought required” activity once a county is completed and the process of matching individuals across census years begins, the transcription will move on to adjoining counties.
The other current activities that require some thought are updating the web site with information on the DNA research, and with the “Fess families” details derived from the display in April.
And, while I’m doing that, the “serious thought” subject – how to connect up information on the web site so that people can easily find out what is available for any individual.

And now the projects are "in print", look out for their progress.

Three weeks ago, I said that, by the end of the week, I intended to have caught up with all the outstanding tasks. Clearly I didn’t achieve the goal, since I have only just posted the current projects list, but I also “failed” with regard to correspondence – probably the major difficulty of every large ONS and the reason that some people choose not to register their studies. Producing an initial response to people isn’t (usually) too difficult but, having had 25 new contacts since the start of the year, it is the later exchanging of information that can take up the time. And I still have several queries that had to be put aside about six months ago.

But setting the goal helped so my next one has to be catching up with that outstanding correspondence, whilst still keeping up with any day-to-day occurrences. And, while on the subject of those, here’s the news from the last couple of weeks:

I spotted a couple of Sir Edward Abbott Parry’s books on ebay. In looking for more information about those, I found an interesting article by Susan Watkin, detailing his work.
I received details of three more marriages from the Marylebone marriage challenge during June. There are 5 challenges to sort out items for, but none of them are places Parrys are common in so it shouldn’t take long.
I had a nice surprise when a Guild member took the trouble to send me a death notice from a newspaper – and then followed that with 13 17c marriages she’d found on a visit to the Westminster archives.
The Queensland Convict Transportation Registers were mentioned on the Forum – 58 Parrys and 1 Parrey transported. Details from the assizes will be a good subject to research at some time but that will have to go on a “future projects” list.

Finally, a couple of comments from correspondence:
Octavious is a fairly uncommon name – but I’ve had two queries recently involving it. The searches I’d carried out for the first query helped me identify information on the second promptly, despite the spelling varying between “ious” and “ius”. It’s helpful when things coincide like that.
I’ve also received emails from both new and renewed contacts regarding the Golden Valley family, which have resulted in me browsing the Patent Rolls for early information, as well as rechecking some of the coat of arms details. There are some contradictions in the reference works with regard to which families certain Parry quarterings have been ascribed to, so sorting that out will be part of the “fess families” research.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Probate Abstracts update

One of the (free!) books I picked up at the WDYTYA event was a catalogue from “Personalia”, who are dealers in all sorts of historical artifacts. It is fascinating to browse through something like this, since it gives an insight into the past, as well as containing many names (no Parrys though). One of the sections I found particularly interesting was about Momentos – predominently mourning brooches and rings. I have come across many references to mourning rings whilst transcribing the probate abstracts book but had never realised what forms they could take. You can see examples on their web site - Mourning Jewellery and Momentos

With regard to the probate abstracts, the basic transcription of the book was finished in March and I am in the process of converting the information into a suitable form to paste it into a spreadsheet or database. Having it in an electronic form will make it easier to search, but a spreadsheet format will also mean information can be rearranged easily which should make it more convenient for spotting connections between the various abstracts. At the moment, the conversion is what I call a “mindless task” – adding in tabs between information such as names and the key terms of “executor,” ”witness,” etc., so that the information will paste easily into a table. It doesn’t take a lot of thought but, every so often, something catches my attention. One such moment was when I spotted “Thomas Luckman, of Coventry, printer” in the abstract for a Mary Parry, spinster of Warwick, whose Will was written in 1783 and proved 1791. It wasn’t just the place name, but also the surname which caught my attention – and an article that appeared in the local newspaper a few years ago came to mind. It concerned the loss of some gravestones, amongst which was one belonging to a former Lord Mayor of Coventry, Thomas Luckman, and his wife Mary, who were buried in St Mary’s in 1784 and 1813 respectively. The gravestones had been moved during excavations at Coventry’s first Cathedral and had later disappeared. You can read the newspaper report here.

According to the newspaper, Thomas Luckman’s wife, Mary, had formerly been a Parry and, when I first saw it, I just noted it as “a Parry, to be followed up ‘as and when’,” since I had no further information on her. But now I have the abstract information, which links her in to a family, since it describes Mary Luckman as the niece of the testator (although it doesn’t actually mention that she was a Parry).

And it’s possibly not just any family – but one of those families who may eventually be shown to belong amongst the “fess families”. One of the other beneficiaries is a cousin, Martha Parry of Barcheston Mill, and there has been a suggestion by other researchers that the Barcheston Mill family connect to those of Aston Somerville, who did use that coat of arms. So there is a picture building up of interconnecting families – I just need to prove that there were definite relationships between them, rather than just associations. But it does seem like it’s time to stop bemoaning the fact that I have no family locally to research – they may not be my own family, but, as Parrys, they’re close enough.

As a final note along those lines, as I rechecked the Segar Parry information today, I discovered that some of the records for that family are held at Warwick record office – yet more relevant information just about on my doorstep!

It’s a good job that I have finally caught up with recording the last few months activities and can now start to look forward to the ongoing projects.

Web site update

I used the “fess families” as the basis for my display at the Guild’s AGM in April. The display for the Solihull seminar in February went well (so I thought!) and I gained a few ideas from talking to others there, as well as just from the actual process of producing the display. But that display had been a more general introduction to several aspects of the study so I narrowed it down to concentrate on just the fess families for the AGM display. Having done that, the information I produced should act as the foundation for pages on each of the fess families to go onto the web site. Back in February I also received a copy of the Will of Bishop Edward Archibald Parry, formerly Bishop of Guiana, which I will transcribe. He was the son of Edward Parry, Suffragan Bishop pf Dover, whose tomb at Canterbury can be seen on the “fess families” page on my web site.

Getting the web pages updated is important – they have suffered from the busy-ness of the last few months and don’t even have details of the DNA study or DNA group on them at the moment. The only page I have added recently concerned my grandfather’s “emigration” to Canada. There is more to be added even to that page but the incentive for producing it was hearing about the Ontario Genealogical Society’s annual conference which was being held in London, Ontario. I notified a Canadian researcher about the page, in case there were any opportunities for making it known to people. Nothing came of that but at least it meant I produced the page (sometimes deadlines do work!)

Going back to the Guild’s AGM in April – since it was held down in Devon, I was able to obtain information on Parry events in that county, which I typed up once home. This was an incentive to systematically extract the IGI entries for the county. Tackling the IGI properly is on my “to do” list, but I know from doing Devon that it will be a long job. One of the difficulties with English counties is going to be the number of Perry entries, since they are treated as a variation of Parry on the IGI. Some of the early variants could be even more problematic, since searching for “ap Harry” produces all the “Harry” results. I will perhaps have to work on an exact search for Parry and hope that I can cover all the variants separately. There’s certainly plenty of scope for confusion, especially where there are instances of different surnames that have the same origin and which may be interchangeable in particular time periods - one of the probate Abstracts is that of an Ursula Harry, who then remarried to a Harrison and who also had a son in law, David Parry.

So that's three different surnames which all have an origin derived from “Harry’s son.”

Past research

Another recent addition to the British Origins site was the “Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries 1890-1980”. After looking at them, I almost wrote an entry entitled “sometimes I could scream!” because amongst the entries was one saying “I have now definite proof …”(of a particular Parry’s parentage) but it didn’t indicate what the proof was. It’s like researchers who write saying “I know….” but when you ask how, it turns out that they don’t actually know at all. Such comments serve to remind me of the importance of documenting sources, and also of attempting to ensure that what I research is distributed and available for others to build on. But it is frustrating to think that much of what I am working on has already been researched by others in the past. Yes, past research does need re-examining, especially as new records become available, but how much better it would be if we could keep building on it, instead of having to rediscover it.

Sometimes we do need to correct past research though. I wonder to what extent that will be the case when I have followed up what I call the “fess families” – those Parrys families laying claim to the coat of arms “a fess between three lozenges”. Back in March, a researcher sent me a link to an article on the Gazettes Online web site, concerning an insolvent debtor, Segar Parry . This is a site that I plan to go through systematically when I get time but I can never resist following up such items. There were two lines of enquiry that resulted. Firstly, I discovered another entry which stated “Cornet Robert Burdett, from half-pay of the 25th Light Dragoons, vice Segar Parry, who exchanges, receiving the difference. Dated 29th March 1819”. Now, I don’t understand the military arrangement that is going on here and so still need to find out about that. But, back in December 2006, I received an email asking about a James Burdett Parry, baptised 1828 in St Marylebone to a James and Amelia, so finding the names Burdett and Parry linked together in some way could be important. An additional point of interest on this line is that there is also a John Burdett Parry. Unfortunately, he was born about 1808 in Herefordshire, and is in that county in the censuses so, although his wife comes from Middlesex, there doesn’t seem to be anything to connect him to the James Burdett Parry. It could all just be coincidence but it is something to be looking out for.

The second line of enquiry that resulted from following up the Gazette article came from the reminder that I have already come across references to the combination of Segar and Parry with regard to heraldry. According to a story that I have yet to prove, one of the daughters of William Segar, Garter King of Arms, married a Parry. The Parry wasn’t keen to apply for a coat of arms but his later descendants did. Looking at my own listing of Parrys from Burke’s General Armory I found “Parry (Segar-Parry, Little Haddam, co. Hertford). Ar. a fesse betw. three lozenges az.” – so that makes this family one of those I should be including amongst my “fess families” investigation.

And it certainly looks like it will require investigating – I am fairly sure that the Segar Parry was the son of a Nicholas Segar Parry and, using a combination of the IGI and the probate abstracts, it appears that the family may have traced back to Flintshire.

So how come the Herefordshire Arms?

Working together

One of my friends from the States asked recently whether a DNA sample would help with his branch. It is such a shame that he isn’t a Parry, since I don’t doubt he’d have become the second member of the DNA study. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he looks out for Parrys who may provide samples for me. Collaboration has been a recurrent theme as I’ve considered the events of the last few months. I had a pleasant surprise after thanking a Guild member for their work on one of the marriage challenges. It turned out that they’d noticed some Parrys in records they were working on, so I soon received a file of Parry marriages from Sussex. It sometimes happens that people send me files in versions that are more up to date than my programs will open so I have to request the details in an older version. But in this case, not being particularly technically minded, I didn’t even recognise the file type (an odt file) and none of my programs would open it. However, a search on the internet indicated that Google docs would do so. I’d not used that system before although I had viewed the spreadsheet a Guild member set up, in order to let other members view the entries for the challenge he was carrying out. It occurs to me that sharing files through the system could be a potential method for encouraging collaboration amongst Parry researchers, especially on things such as the census records, or civil registration and certificates. Since there are so many Parrys in those records, working together is possibly the only way even the basic information will be collected in less than my lifetime.

Generous genealogists

I received 23 copy marriage certificates at the end of May, the results of Stage 2 of the Bristol Marriage Challenge. That’s 40, out of the 48 Bristol district entries up to 1871, that have now been accounted for. (The 51 marriages shown on FreeBMD is an exaggeration due to transcription errors). The details from several of these latest ones will be of interest to other researchers but I need to get them typed up first – not all of the challengers send out results electronically since some prefer to transcribe directly from the registers onto blank “certificates”. But, having received well over 300 certificates since I started submitting entries to the challenges, I’m certainly not going to complain about a bit of typing up.

I went to the WDYTYA? LIVE event at the beginning of May and spotted a few Parrys in some second hand books. There weren’t enough references to justify buying the books, but staff on the stall were kind enough to let me transcribe the entries. It reminded me of the first time I asked a bookseller if I could do that – it was soon after joining the Guild, so the concept of one-name studies was still new to me, and I’d found one or two entries in each of several separate booklets of apprenticeship records. Again, there wasn’t enough to justify buying them, but I wasn’t sure what kind of response I might get from the bookseller, a gentleman easily identified by his hat. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in return for just putting the series of books into order in their box, I was free to transcribe anything relevant. It was only in April, when the bookseller died, that I learnt of his past contributions to genealogy. Howard Benbrook’s recollections of Don Steel probably encapsulate what many of us visitors to the fairs experienced, and Stuart Raymond’s his wider contribution.

No wonder he had understood the one-namer’s goal.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Medieval soldiers

A new database was mentioned on the Forum at the end of May - The Soldier in later Medieval England, which covers the period between 1369 and 1453. I didn’t expect to find any Parrys in it (and I didn’t), since these dates are before the name developed as a surname.

However, it does have 5 ap Harr(y/i) and 9 ap Henry entries, as well as other names which are possibly early variations (such as ap Herry) or that researchers have contacted me about (like Appenreth). Most Parry families will have started through an “ap Harry” and amongst the progenitors of the Golden Valley Herefordshire family are John ap Harry, and his brother Thomas, who are reputed to have fought at Agincourt. I already knew that a Thomas ap Henry and a John ap Henry are listed in Anne Curry’s book about Agincourt, as having taken out indentures to serve on the 1415 campaign. But here I find that, in 1415, a Thomas ap Harri and a John ap Harry both appear on a list as “sick”. There is then both a Thomas and a Henry ap Harry fighting under Edmund, Earl of March, in 1417, and a Thomas ap Harry under Richard, Duke of York, in 1441.

Of the ap Henrys, a David, two Jeuans, a Gwilym and a Ricard, were all under the command of John ap Rys et al, in 1415. A David and a Jeuan were also listed as sick. Then, in 1441, a Davy fought under Sir Lewis John, and a Philip under Henry Bourchier, Count of Eu. In the 1415 campaign, there was also an archer, John ap Herry, listed under the command of Griffith ap Jeuan Iscoid. This is notable because the John from the Golden Valley family was occasionally listed as “ap Herry”, but, since he was sheriff of Herefordshire around 1400, I imagine he is unlikely to be fighting as an archer in 1415.

I noticed a (probably irrelevant) fact, that all of the ap Harrys were men-at-arms whereas the ap Henry entries are all just archers (or “archer foot”). That some individuals do appear as men-at-arms is itself a promising sign, given that the Parrys from the Golden Valley were armigerous. But it is clear that more information will be needed to make sense of the various entries. Thomas ap Harry was supposedly killed at Agincourt (according to various Golden Valley pedigrees) so there are probably many people of the same names. The project details do mention that the research team will be linking records and building up career profiles, although such details does not appear to be accessible through the web site. This is something I will need to enquire about – I certainly don’t have the experience and knowledge to work on these records, even if I did access the originals.

The results generally are very interesting to browse through – one gets some idea of why names such as Powell are more common than Parry nowadays, of how many Welsh soldiers were involved in the armies, and also some idea of the differences in frequencies of particular names in England and Wales (eg there are 30 Harrys to only 4 ap Harrys, whereas there are 37 Howells, but 88 ap, or “appe”, Howells.)

I just hope that further information will be obtainable on the ap Harry/Henrys and also others who appear in the pedigree books as relevant in some way, such as “David Gam”, who died at Agincourt, supposedly saving Henry V’s life.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I may regret writing this…

But since, if I don’t aim at something, I won’t achieve it, I have now made this the "catching up" week. By the end of it, I aim to be able to write about the ongoing current projects, having cleared all the outstanding tasks from the past few months. Such tasks include not just general study activities (the ever-increasing filing, as well as writing some extended emails) but also blog entries about things that have happened recently on the study.

So, today’s catch up entry – DNA groups on Ancestry.

Early in May, Ancestry enabled DNA groups to be set up for surnames. Although there is already a Parry DNA project at Family Tree DNA, it seemed a good idea to set up a group on Ancestry as well. Some subscribers to the DNA lists seemed concerned at the thought of several projects existing for one surname but I think, as a one-namer, I’m more concerned about reaching Parrys wherever they are – we can sort out the practicalities of how to compare all the results later!

And the decision seems to be paying off since another Parry has requested to join the group already. One advantage of the Ancestry groups is that people who have tested elsewhere can submit their own data. I started the group by inputting my Parry results from a male relative and it is great to finally see a comparison of two sets of Parry results. Not that they match, but it’s a start.

The Ancestry groups also allow for the sharing of files and for carrying out discussions, so they do fill a gap in the existing provision, since FTDNA only show results of tests by them, and the only other discussion areas are the normal surname message board and mailing list, neither of which do I want to become dominated by dna issues.

So, another small step along the path to making sense of the Parrys.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

“Later” – the Surrey Will Abstracts

Have you ever noticed how flexible the word “later” can be?

The Surrey Will abstracts contained 66 Parry entries, plus a few variant spellings, although some of these were duplicate indexing of the same items. I ended up noting 71 individual names, derived from 45 Wills, only 5 of which related to Parry testators. Out of the others, 26 had Parrys as a witness, or just as a name with no further details, so there was insufficient information to do more with those for now. I was hopeful that the other 19 would be “connectable” in some way, since there were relationships given, but searching for connections produced mixed results. The Will of Andrew Tremills (or Tremetts) was the best – this links in with 5 entries from the Parry Abstracts book and, although I had worked out the likely relationships between those people, Andrew’s confirms the details and gives me his daughter’s maiden name - not that I can find the marriage of a Whitney Parry to a Tremills/Tremetts, but that’s another issue.

Of the other abstracts:
Edward Jones of Bermondsey mentions deeds which are with John Parry, exec. of (Mr) Samuel Loyd – and an abstract of a Samuel Lloyd’s Will appears in the Parry Abstracts book. Unfortunately, the executor of Samuel’s Will was a Charles Parry, but he does have a brother John, so it still looks promising.
In 1696, Mary Nobes of St Saviour Southwark left money to her son-in-law Roger Ingram, and her granddaughter, Hannah Parry, wife of Samuel Parry, and I can find a marriage between a Samuel Parry and Hanna Ingram on the IGI in 1693.
Elizabeth Collins of St Olave Southwark 1682 left her best holland apron and cambric handkerchief to Penelope Parry, wife of Thomas Parry of St Olave Southwark, gentleman. She also left the rest of her estate to Richard Parry, Thomas Parry and William Parry at 21. No relationships were given. However, a Thomas Parry of St Olave, with a wife Penelope, does appear in the Parry Abstracts. They only have a son Thomas, but he mentions children of his siblings (without naming the children). So just hints at connections there, with a lot more to investigate. One key point for me is that the siblings are late of Breconshire, so here we are dealing with the gradual spread of the Parry families away from my main area of interest to elsewhere in the country.

Finally, I was interested to see that both the Surrey Abstracts and the Parry Abstracts book contain an abstract for Knevet Parry of St Olave, which was proved in 1603 – and that there are differences between the two abstracts even on the witnesses’ names. So often with a one-name study, it is easier to deal with secondary sources, since they are more accessible, but this is a reminder of the importance of checking the original records wherever possible.

So that’s the Surrey Abstracts - and the “update on where things are at with the study” will have to wait until “later.”

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Parry in the FA Cup Final

I was just watching the start of the FA Cup final and spotted a Parry in the line-up – Paul Parry, who plays for Cardiff City. You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

However, not particularly being a fan of football, I have decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Parry entries from the recent addition to the Origins site - Surrey Wills Abstracts 1470-1856. Because these are fully transcribed abstracts, it is possible to find entries where Parrys appear within the content of the Will, or as a witness, rather than just those Wills made by Parrys. This should be a great help in putting together family relationships – I have already spotted one for an Andrew Tremills (or Tremetts), who seems to be the father-in-law of a Whitney Parry who appears in the Parry Abstracts book.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post some results later - along with an update on where things are at with the study, since it has been rather a long time since my last posting!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The year so far

It’s the Guild’s Midland Seminar tomorrow, which should be an interesting day. There’s the opportunity to put on a display about our studies so I thought I’d have a go, as a "trial run" before doing one for the AGM Conference in April. I was planning it as a general introduction to the Parry ONS but now I am wondering whether I ought to link it more to the seminar’s topics.

I received a renewal reminder from Ancestry recently. Last year I made use of a special offer in order to get a good rate on the World subscription but, with it going up to the full rate this year, it’s a good opportunity to take stock of what information is on there and how valuable it really is. Whilst I do collect all references to the name, many of the thousands of entries available on Ancestry relate to records such as newspapers and published histories – items which are time consuming to extract from and largely add just biographical detail. But my priority must be the building up of the framework of who was alive when – something more effectively achieved through the vital records of births, deaths and marriages, combined with the censuses to identify where they all were.

Things are progressing with regard to transcribing the Parry Abstracts – I’m now on page 87 out of 104 pages, (abstract 572, out of 689). There are a few I have missed out and will need to return to – I didn’t think I’d tackle some of the Welsh Wills using voice recognition software!

With the concentration on that transcribing, I do still have some correspondence to catch up with, although I have managed to reply fairly promptly to the nine new correspondents who have contacted me so far this year. I have also checked and submitted almost 70 entries to the various marriage challenges.

Findmypast has added the next decade of passenger lists, which included 466 Parrys. Having extracted them using exact spelling, I tried to find variants and those with additions (eg "jnr") after the name – at which point I realised I’d missed the double barrelled surnames. It doesn’t seem possible to search just for those, without knowing who you’re looking for, so I shall have to remember to search on Parry* in future. I also realised that I will need to go back and search for such combined surnames where Parry is the second name, although that is more difficult to know what to search for – the ONS list can be useful for this since searching there for *parry* gives some ideas of possible combinations.

There’s been some interesting items on ebay – Mrs Parry’s livery button; an item relating to Parry’s Hotel, in Ambala (Haryana / India) (probably some connection to the company now known as EID Parry); postcards of Parry Sound which led me to discover the difference between Parry Sound and Parry Harbour (aka "Parry Hoot", as lumbermen gathered there to avoid the "dry" town of Parry Sound, where the sale of alcohol was banned by the "Beatty Covenant"); and a business card for "Irvin & Parry Gunsmiths" of Philadelphia, Pa, who made "the Parry Antomatic Single Trigger for Double Guns" (don’t think I’ll be adding one of those to my collection!)

As usual, the Forum has been a good source of websites to explore. Recently there have been some Boer War sites posted – perhaps I should let some of the sites know about my Dad’s research into one of our relatives, since he does appear on them. Richard Heaton has also updated his newspaper site, which currently has 69 Parry items on it. He’s talking about researching local newspapers at the seminar tomorrow.

Now that’s possibly given me an idea for a more appropriate display.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Starting as I mean to go on

An empty house today was a good opportunity for clearing emails and work on the study.

Whilst checking ebay notifications, I came across a reference to a “Lorris and Roger Parry”. Further investigation revealed Roger Parry (1905-1977) was a French artist. The “Lorris” turned out to be a Fabian Loris rather than “Lorris Parry”. But given that registered one-name studies carry out worldwide research, it is great to find someone in a country where the surname rarely occurs.

There are also references to work by 20 other Parry related artists on the artnet site so I shall have a look through those later.

Ebay can be an interesting source of information – I didn’t know a Parry wrote a “Cyclopaedia of Perfumery”. There’s also another French connection, as a Parry-Vielle limoges box is listed. I don’t know the reason for the Parry in this company’s name and it looks as if the company’s website is unavailable so no source for their history there. But searching for more information on them did net me 4 Parrys from a list of voters in Placer County, CA, in 1890. Although I did decide not to sidetrack to explore all the other companies that are found by searching www.parry- on google. That's an activity for another day.

I didn’t actually submit any entries to the Liverpool Marriage challenge, given how many there were for Parrys. However, I did send the challenger a list of them, in case it was useful in helping to narrow down the possible churches for other people’s entries (since I had been able to identify a reasonable number of the churches by using the Liverpool BMD site). Today I received a file back, with over 200 of the exact dates added in, as well as a few of the churches I had not been able to identify. That will certainly be a great help and was a lovely surprise.

In order to ensure the study progresses, I am planning to try doing some work on extractions or transcriptions most days, before replying to correspondence. Today I managed to transcribe the entries for Anglesea and Berkshire from GS Parry’s book of PCC Abstracts. However, I didn’t then manage to finish emails to the three new correspondents (the third new one arrived today) so the plan may not always work.

But at least I’ve tried!