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.