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 http://tudors.crispen.org/chronology/index.html) that a "William Parry of the Persian expedition" introduced coffee into England in 1601.

Really?

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 (http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~parryresearch/colston.htm). 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 http://twitter.com/ParryONS if anyone’s interested.

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