Friday, December 31, 2010

Things don’t always go to plan….

I wrote in my journal, at the start of 2010, that I was feeling quite positive about the year ahead – I was obviously anticipating achieving quite a lot. However, things don’t always go to plan and, instead, I have spent much of it dealing with some “relative health issues”. Things are looking more positive now though so, hopefully, 2011 will be more successful.

To finish the year on a seasonal note, one of my favourite photographs taken during the recent snow (in the garden of a Parry family, just in case you wonder at the connection!)

Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, May 31, 2010


It was the Shipston Wool Fair today – a good opportunity for a day out, which also included a trip to nearby Barcheston, where several Parrys who are mentioned in the probate abstracts lived. There, in the main aisle of Barcheston church, was a memorial stone to Walter of Fell Mill, which would match to abstract number 609. It read:

In hopes of A Joyful Resurrection in Jesus Christ
Here Lyeth the Body of Walter perrey
Of Felmil A Dyer who departed this life
The first day of October ANNO DOM
1705 Ætatis Suæ 66

Though wee have lost our faithfull friend
In Christ wee hope he made his end
His Body in the Grave doth rest
To rise wee hope forever blest
All you that do this day pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so shalt you be
Therefore prepare to follow me
The surname spelt Perrey is not necessarily a problem, stonemasons did make mistakes and surname spellings often varied in those days anyway.

But there was no coat of arms on the stone either. Which is interesting, given that Walter’s family being entitled to the arms of the Parrys of the Golden Vale is one of the reasons put forward by Boden for considering them as possible ancestors for Sir CHH Parry.

Clearly more research needed to find any evidence for that.

But a booklet about the Barcheston tapestries did at least tell me that a David Parry was paid for catching two otters in the River Stour. Pity none of the abstracts mention a David though!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Parry’s fit for a Prince!

Ignoring several half written blog entries, I could hardly let today pass by without mentioning an item being reported in newspapers and online – Prince Charles is to present a documentary for BBC Four, exploring the life and legacy of the composer, Hubert Parry.

I can imagine that provoking a surge of interest in the Parry family.

In some ways, that’s obviously a good thing. But I’m hoping the documentary confines itself to the man, his music, and those he influenced – more publicity for his "ancient pedigree", featuring various, seemingly non-existent, ancestors would not be helpful!

It’s probably too much to hope for though – even if the documentary is accurate, the reporting and follow-up articles may not be – I notice the Mirror’s site already reporting that Hubert Parry died in 1848 (No, that was his birth date).

Surely it’s not that difficult to check a few facts!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I finally finished matching the Parrys in HEF 1871 back to 1861 recently – or, at least, I thought I had. Then I remembered that I’d only searched for Parry entries from FindMyPast, before comparing the details to those from Ancestry. I hadn’t done any of the variant spellings, such as Parrey. On the whole, that shouldn’t have been a problem – since I’d done those spellings when searching on Ancestry, & would pick up the entries when I compared the two. But since I’m trying to ensure my file is as complete as possible, I went back to FMP to collect the most obvious of the spelling variations.

It was a good job that I did since, whilst some had been on Ancestry, one couple turned out to be on Ancestry as Porrey, and another as Farrey, so I had actually missed those two. One of the Marriage Challenge results I received recently also led me to find a Parry mistranscribed in a census as Farry so clearly the P/F confusion is something I’ll have to look out for.

Once an entry has been found, it is often obvious why the names have been mistranscribed and it’s relatively easy to be sure what the correct name should be. But I have found two instances recently where people seem to have used Caroline and Catherine interchangeably, appearing in the Civil Registration indexes as one but in a census as the other. It’s almost impossible to tell from just the two entries whether there’s been a recording error or the person actually used both names.

Name variations have been an issue with several marriage challenges recently. I received two results from another challenge, where one turned out to be a Pavey, not Parry. Then I set out to prepare a submission for the Beaminster MC. I only had one entry, from 1903, so it should have been easy. But first I discovered that the entry was on FreeBMD as both Parcy & Parry. On checking the original indexes it turned out that FreeBMD was right, since the original indexes have it as both as well. That much is understandable – I’ve seen many words where "r" and "c" have been difficult to distinguish and the GRO would have indexed it as both if they were unsure.

But I then checked censuses and, from the 1911, managed to identify who is marrying who out of the 7 names shown on FreeBMD (Mary on twice and the other bride on with different spellings). Using the birthplace from 1911, I found Mary with her parents in 1891 and as a servant in 1901. But in 1881 the family are recorded as Pavey – and that’s the surname Richard, the father, appears to use when married in 1866 (and probably his birth in 1842 as well). Having since found the parents in 1901 and 1911, it seems likely that what started as a decision between Parcy or Parry has ended up as really being Pavey!

It will be interesting to see what the marriage register itself actually says.

I guess I shouldn’t complain – I can usually find the Parrys, even when they're hidden under Porrey, Purry, Pansy (and even "Lang"!). But I’ve just dealt with a query regarding a Parry who married a Margaret Oudenrode. Now that’s a surname with potential, when it comes to mistranscriptions!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Patience is a virtue that pays off!

I picked up a second-hand book recently, “A calendar of letters relating to North Wales, 1533-circa 1700,” published in 1967 from various collections in the NLW. North Wales has a high concentration of Parrys, including some families that can be traced back to the 1600s, so it’s likely the book will help with general background to the times, as well as the specifics regarding the Parrys listed in the index.

Several of the entries relate to Jeffrey Parry of Rhydolion, who happens to be the earliest ancestor in the pedigree of the Jones-Parry family shown on my web pages at He was described on the Llanbedrog church site as “a zealous puritan from Shropshire who was an officer in the Commonwealth army”, something I’ve not yet found proof of. However, the book of letters quotes a NLW manuscript describing him as “a great Heaven-driver of Llyn & a zealous maintayner of Coventicles”. so that’s a new lead to follow up regarding his religious activities.

Some years ago, whilst browsing bookshops in Hay-on-Wye, I spotted a book entitled “Royal Visits & Progresses to Wales” by Edward Parry. The price meant I didn’t buy it – but now I have just discovered that the book is available for download from Googlebooks. (A much cheaper option!)

Was it worth the wait? Apart from acquiring an item by a Parry, does it tell me anything useful? Yes, perhaps it does. Whilst it was published in 1851, so repeats the errors of some other antiquarian works of that time, it does include transcriptions from manuscripts. One of these refers to “Cornet Jeffrey Parry”, who lived near Pwllheli, and who was to be given money to distribute in a way that furthered the work of the Gospel. Wikipedia indicates that a Cornet is a new and junior officer. Could this be the confirmation that Jeffrey was indeed an officer in the Commonwealth Army?

According to the pedigree, Jeffrey Parry died in 1658 and the letter was written in 1657, so he either died fairly young or this refers to someone else. But, despite the general popularity of the surname, he is the only Jeffrey Parry I know of in that area so, yet again, this could be a possible lead into the origins of the Jones Parry family.

Let’s hope I don’t have to wait too long to find out more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finding a goldmine!

As I mentioned earlier this year, I have set up a ParryONS account on Twitter to see if that is a more effective method than this blog, for keeping people informed about the study. Initially I’ve just been posting about activities and not tried following other people but, since the Guild has now set up its own account, I thought I’d try following that.

Quite soon I found myself being followed – and struck gold when I checked out the follower’s website at , which referenced the British Library theses database. I already knew about this system through another interest, but had never registered since the thesis I wanted then wasn’t available. However, thanks to Darris, I've now learnt about a doctorate written in 1994 regarding sources for family history, with particular reference to Wales – and it uses the Parrys of Llidiardau as a case study.

This thesis is available to download for free and looks to be a real gold mine – not just with regard to the Parrys but also the whole process of researching in Wales. Additionally, it will be interesting to see what has changed over the last 16 years.

(And, having registered with the site, I now find I can obtain the other thesis I wanted for free as well – it will just take 30 days for it to be digitised. What a brilliant resource).

I came across the following logo on an ebay item recently, a postcard printed in 1910 by J.Richard Parry Jr, of Denver, Colorado.

So far, I haven’t been able to find any other information on the publisher but perhaps he is connected to the J. Richard Parry who illustrated a book in 1910 called “The Mystery of Bonanza Trail”.

On another subject, it was mentioned earlier this year on the ISOGG mailing list about work to combine documentary resources with DNA approaches to tracing immigrant ancestors, especially with regard to indentured servants who travelled to Virginia and Maryland. Since one of the Parry abstracts is for a John Parry, who died in Virginia in 1637/8, this could be specifically relevant to the Parry ONS. Having checked one of the recommended sites, which has a database of immigrant servants, I also found five more Parrys (all later than John). So this is clearly a topic I shall be watching for progress on.

I haven’t commented since the DNA seminar but both that, and then WDYTYA Live, which was on the following weekend, were useful (and enjoyable) days out. I even got to meet some of the names I see so often on the mailing lists.

It’s nice to be able to put some faces to names now.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Tomorrow is the Guild’s bi-annual DNA Developments seminar. After the previous one, in May 2007, I wrote that a lot more "paper research" was needed before DNA testing could be used effectively in Parry research. I think that is still true but at least there is now a Parry DNA project with one person tested, as well as a group on Ancestry containing another set of results.

So, some progress, but still a long way to go!

Friday, February 05, 2010

New Year, New Start!

Well, not quite, since we’re already into February and this is my first post. I don’t generally write New Year resolutions but last year’s blogging wasn’t exactly successful, with only three posts all year. So this year I am aiming to do a better job of keeping people informed about the study.

There’s little point trying to catch up with everything that happened over the past few months but one of the "highlights" included finding out from a Tudors site (at that a "William Parry of the Persian expedition" introduced coffee into England in 1601.


It turns out that William Parry produced the first printed reference to "coffee" in its english modern form, when he wrote about the travels of the adventurer Anthony Sherley. Parry had been part of Sherley’s expedition to Persia, in which Sherley was attempting to persuade the Shah to form an alliance against the Turks and also promote English trade interests.

So not quite introduced coffee itself, but played a part in making it known, at least. I wonder which William Parry that was?

A reference on the Forum to the History of Parliament reminded me that I have some early Parrys to look up. But it also set me searching for information about a Sir George Parry. I’ve come across references to this name on several occasions – one referred to him as a commissioner for Dorset who met Prince Rupert prior to the battle of Naseby, there’s also a poem about Sir George by Robert Herrick. Unfortunately, the relevant volume of parliamentary history is not due to be published until 2016. But one of the family tree references I found suggests George died in Ireland in 1660 – I’d never noticed that before. Could he be a link between the Parry family from Herefordshire (known to have moved down into the Wiltshire and Dorset areas during the 1600s) and one of the Parry families from North Wales claiming the same coat of arms?

Definitely a possibility to follow up.

Many more records have become easily available recently, as Ancestry now have all of the BMD civil registration indexes transcribed. However, not all the information is available from the main index pages so there’s a lot of work to be done extracting the rest of the details. With so much now available online, this year will have to see a shift to finding more effective ways of dealing with some aspects of the study.

New websites and technology may come in useful for this. GenealogyWise, a genealogical social networking site, began last year – I did set up a Parry group but so far haven’t found this very helpful. Something that looks like it will be much more relevant is Google Wave, a new collaborative tool. By setting up waves for specific families, it should be possible for researchers to work together, adding information as it’s found or confirmed. That will be much more effective than my current system where people are emailing me and I then try to add the information to a web page (as with the Colston Parrys ( That is too reliant on me having the time to draw up the web page. By using the waves, information can be collected and arranged by other people as well, and then perhaps a web page created at a future date if appropriate. Seeing the instant results on the waves is also perhaps more likely to encourage people to share what they know.

One final thing to add is that I am also trying out using Twitter to let people know what’s happening with the study. Since this blog isn’t getting updated frequently, because many things take time to accomplish with there being so many Parrys, this will allow me to let people know about any ongoing activities.

You can find me at if anyone’s interested.