Thursday, April 08, 2010

Mistranscriptions

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!

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