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.