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.