Tuesday, March 10, 2015

(Two) Weekly round-up w/e 27 Feb & 7 Mar 2015

Other activities have been occupying me again recently and, by the time it got to Wednesday of last week, I gave up on the good intentions of posting a (late) summary for the previous week. 

So here's a [now late] one for the fortnight instead!

FindMyPast's new releases in the first week included "Britain, Trade Union Members, Service & Casualties 1914-1918", with 31 Parrys, so that might be useful for additional information when I pull together all the data on the 1st World War.   There was also a 'browse only' version of the Trade Union Membership Registers, which I am unlikely to explore for the Parrys (but which might come in useful for researching my grandfather, John ALLEN, who I believe was a "father of chapel" in one of the unions).  FMP also released details of "Manchester Cholera Victims, 1832" (no Parrys) and over 1.6 million Irish Newspaper Articles (almost 30,000 Parry references). 

Fortunately, the latter database required a World (or Irish?) subscription, which I don't have, so I will not be adding those to my "to do" list.  (FMP promptly announced a "free weekend" - but I was not able to take advantage of that.)

It appears that Ancestry had added the 'England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2013' back in January but, for some reason, it only came to my attention last week. There are 57 entries with Parry as a first name and 921 with it as a surname (plus one spelt Parrey).

One of the issues I often consider, particularly with conducting a fairly large one-name study, is, "How do you establish an 'individual'?", ie a unique person that can be represented in a family tree program. There are many Parrys alive today - they are obviously unique individuals.  If I knew them all, I could enter their names into the one-name study family tree program, because they clearly exist.  And, if I had time to ask them about all the relevant records relating to them, I could then attach details of those records, such as their birth registration, educational records, marriage information, addresses, occupations, etc., to their person record in the family tree program.  

But, usually, we are working the other way round - the people are dead and we just have the multitude of records we collect, which we are trying to put together ourselves, in order to construct an account, or representation, of that person's life.  We know that the many references, in documents, on websites, in databases, and books etc., do still all relate to particular individuals - but we don't necessarily know which individual a particular reference relates to.

It would be foolish to create a new person record for every documentary reference, as many references from difference sources might all relate to the same person.  But most of us have met researchers who have attached the wrong record to a person in their tree, or ended up following the "wrong" line.  We may even have done so ourselves.  So how do we decide what references actually fit together?  How do we know when we have sufficient evidence for the existence of a unique individual?  Some sources are more reliable than others and for me, the intention has always been to try to use these in order to establish a framework of unique individuals in the family tree program, that references in other, less specific, sources can then be attached to.   

A birth and a death are the two events we can guarantee everyone should just have one episode of, but I have always been a bit wary of using the "Vital records", ie the official records of life events, such as birth and death registrations, as the basis of the framework, even though, for the UK, the BMD registrations are usually the starting point for a one-namer.  But the lack of detailed information in the UK indexes makes it difficult to match up every registration to any other information I gather.  And, although recording started in England and Wales in 1837, we know that up until 1874, registration was not compulsory so not all births were registered.  In other areas of the UK, the start date for civil registration was later.  Elsewhere in the world, there are no doubt also issues regarding the reliability of such "vital records" .

My preference has therefore always been to use the censuses to establish the framework - because of the way these were carried out, a census entry should always relate to a specific person, alive on that day, and not represented anywhere else ("should" being the operative word - there are cases of people appearing twice!)  So, in theory, all the census entries for one particular census year are therefore a snapshot of the Parry population at that time, a 'framework' of unique individuals that other facts can then be attached to.  The birth and death indexes can be used to explain changes in the Parry population between censuses, even if the individual entries cannot be matched up.

The last available UK census is the 1911 - but by that time, the civil registration indexes for births and deaths start to contain more information.  So perhaps the release of this latest death registration information on Ancestry is actually a good starting point for an alternative method of building my framework, working backwards from "now".   That would also avoid any risk of listing living individuals, which might happen if I was relying primarily on the birth indexes.

Talking of deaths, I have been slowly continuing to gather information relating to WW1.  Last week I did look at the Lives of the First World War site  (https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/search ) A search for Parry finds 4313 entries under "Life Stories".  This includes people with Parry as a first name, as well as normal surname use and in a double barrelled form.  Further work is needed to analyse the data but what struck me initially is that only 37 out of the 4313 have someone "remembering" them.  I hope we can improve that over time.

During the last Guild Hangout, we were discussing websites and I mentioned my intention to transfer to using Word Press, rather than writing the Parry ONS site in html.  I was asked why, so I mentioned the (hoped for) ease of updating such a site. But I have realised over this week, that ease of publication still doesn't mean things get posted!  There are also still many things to learn about WP - like how easy it is to include pages with the formatting, or large image layout, that I have on my "personal DNA" page (at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/im.griffiths/parryfamilyhistory/personaldnatree.htm ) or my "Parrys of the Golden Valley" page (at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/im.griffiths/parryfamilyhistory/parrytrees/gvfull.htm ).  Resolving issues like these will be essential if I am to transfer my website to WP. 

One of my aims for this current week is to continue work on the World War 1 information.  I also intend to convert the Parry DNA project at FTDNA to the new Groups format.  I am glad I didn't have time to do this when possibility was first announced - having waited a few weeks, some of the initial issues have now been resolved. 

Sometimes it's useful *not* to be at the forefront of changes, and to be a bit behind everybody else!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekly round-up 20 Feb 2015

Two new databases
At the end of last week, a message was posted regarding the research being carried out as a result of the Crossrail excavation in London.  This research has included the compilation of what is described as “the first extensive register of people buried at Bedlam”.  On checking the database, I found it contains 2 Parrys and 1 Parrey:

Thomas Parrey, 17th August 1593, St Mary Woolnoth
John Parry, 4th September 1608, St Dunstan in the East (by the Tower)
Ann Parry, 1st December 1690, St Peter le Poor

Although the burial ground was not associated with a parish church, it appears the burials were still recorded in the various parish church records, rather than the burial ground having its own records.  The above three records all originally came from the London Metropolitan Archives and I know many of their records are also on sites such as Ancestry, so it will be interesting to see if these three burials appear elsewhere - but that's a task for another day (as is trying to identify where these three fit!)

More information about the burial ground can be found at:

The second database announced was that of the England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550 project at http://www.englandsimmigrants.com/  I had already heard some information about this, as it had been featured at the Guild's Medieval and Early Modern Records Seminar last year.  I wasn't sure there were likely to be any Parrys in it, as it mainly relates to migration to England (and I don't think people from Wales generally counted as "Resident Aliens"!) But there was a possibility that some of the "ap Harry"s involved in the Hundred Years War may have had "letters of protection" included in the project (as some of them are listed on the Medieval Soldier site at http://www.medievalsoldier.org/search_musterdb.php during the relevant period.)

Although there are a few "ap"s and other Welsh entries in the database, none of them are for "ap Harry".

However, I did find a “Clement Parry”, whose place of origin was France and his nationality French
[England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550 (www.englandsimmigrants.com, version 1.0, 19 February 2015), http://www.englandsimmigrants.com/person/36898 ]
 So maybe not all instances of Parry as a surname had Welsh origins, after all!

DNA News
Sometime I will write a blog post about the Parry DNA project (at https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Parry ) But, this week, I am just going to include two pieces of news derived from my own personal DNA search, since they involve Parrys as well.

Last year I uploaded my Ancestry test results to Gedmatch.  I haven’t been following up all the matches from there yet but I happened to notice that one of them did relate to a Parry.  It was a fairly small level of shared DNA (8.5 cM, over 672 SNPs) so the common ancestor could be quite distant (or the match possibly not even genuine), but it was worth contacting them, because of the surname. We realised that we had been in touch some years ago, discussing their "brick wall” of a Robert Parry born in Chester, with the only possible baptism showing as a Robert, son of a Philip and Mary "Perry".  Much searching had not found a marriage for the Philip and Mary.  But now, returning some years later, we have found the marriage, and marriage licence, both under the surname Parry.  So that's one family potentially moved back another generation.  And we’re also proceeding with obtaining a YDNA test, so that is a bit of progress for the Parry project, as well.

And, secondly, as I was sending out invitations to the new matches on 23andMe recently, I noticed one of them listed Parry amongst their surnames.  The tree indicated that the link to the surname was a Gladys Emily Parry, born in Kentchurch, Herefordshire, in 1895.  Unfortunately, Gladys is not with her family in either 1901 or 1911.  In 1901 she is boarding with a Heiron family in Kentchurch and there are no other Parrys in Kentchurch itself.  However, there were two Parry families there in 1891:
David (60) and Jane (47), with children, Phebe 10 and Edwin Parry  (8) and
David (30) and Matilda (29) with daughter, Edith Emily Parry (1)

I haven't taken my "collateral branches" pedigree down this far yet, as I want more evidence to confirm the links before doing so, but the two Davids are shown on my "personal dna tree" at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/im.griffiths/parryfamilyhistory/personaldnatree.htm
 , where David ‘senior’ is shown first married to Esther JONES and then Jane COOKE, and David ‘junior’ is a son of the first marriage to Esther.  David ‘senior’ was brother to my 3xgreat grandfather, Thomas Parry.  

David and Matilda appear on my 1901 census listing, at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/im.griffiths/parryfamilyhistory/parrycensus/1901hef.htm#26069 , by which time they are living in Ewyas Harold.  Whilst they might appear to be the most likely family to have a daughter born in Kentchurch in 1895, the gap between Gladys and the next child, Charlotte, would be very short.  There are also several other Parry families in nearby parishes, who could be the relevant family for Gladys.    So it will definitely be necessary to obtain the marriage and birth information for her, in order to confirm this is the (possible) genealogical connection to my DNA match.  (And still only "possible" because, even if this is how we connect genealogically, that is not actually sufficient evidence to prove this connection is where the particular segment of DNA came from - we might have other connections through other ancestors, which we haven't yet found.)

But I am thrilled to have found a possible connection so easily.  Hopefully this is a sign of what is to come, as more people take DNA tests for genealogy and I build out the collateral branches of my tree.  I hope that other members of the Parry project find a similar increase in identifiable connections - even if the connection is through autosomal testing, it will lead to more 'related groupings' of people, so potentially more of us searching for, and contributing to, finding male Parrys to YDNA test.

So quite a productive week, even if there are still several other “not yet achieved” goals.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Weekly round-up 13 Feb 2015

Companies seem to like releasing information on a Friday.  Each week FindMyPast send out their “FindMyPast Fridays” email, listing all their latest additions and, this morning, Gerald Cooke, the Guild's Gloucestershire regional representative, also posted on the Forum that Ancestry had announced various Gloucestershire records are now available on their site. There's bound to be Parrys in those and perhaps I should start scheduling Friday as a day for exploring new records. 

However, are such records really “new”?

Last week's releases from FMP included Dorset parish records and the British Merchant Navy, First World War Medal Cards, 1914-1925.  As this fitted in with my intention to do some work on WW1 potential casualties, I took a look. In doing so, I realised that the source for the Dorset records was actually Family Search and, for the Merchant seamen, it was the National Archives.  Checking on the TNA site indicated that, not only are these records available from there, but that the index information can also be downloaded as a spreadsheet (up to 1000 entries).  For a one-namer, this is obviously a much more efficient way of collecting the data, than from FMP at twenty entries per page.

This just shows how important it is to plan and log details of research – so I don’t get caught out and waste time with a “new” dataset, which I might already have from another source, and also to consider these multiple sources so as to identify the best way of dealing with a particular “data collection” task.

I have spent some time this week collecting the index details of all the WW1 related datasets on the National Archives. I'm not yet ready to post about the casualties but, when I do come to do so, it seems important to consider the wider context of how many other Parrys fought and survived, or were otherwise involved in some way in serving their country.  So that research is ongoing.

A couple of other recent points of interest:
-          one of my other hobbies is metal detecting and I noticed from "Digging Deep", the latest news from the National Council for Metal Detecting, that the Chairman of the Crewe & Nantwich MDS is a John Parry. 
-          Yet another descendant of the Colston Parry family has posted on the Parry message board at Ancestry (I wish all the Parry families had so many descendants interested in them!)
-          A Guild Newswatch item was received for a Meryl Parry who passed away in January.

By a strange coincidence, when I just looked back at the details of that Newswatch item, I realised that the hospice mentioned just happens to be the same one that my final “round-up” item relates to. Yesterday, two Guild members let me know about an old family bible, which had belonged to a Parry family and has now turned up in a charity shop.  The shop staff were trying to find descendants. (Well, actually, one of the articles says "ancestors" – don’t journalists know the difference?!!!)

The story can be found through the following two articles:

I have looked for census information and can find the Parry family at the house in Llanfihangel, Montgomeryshire, through every census.  The bible was presented to the original owner, a John Parry, in the late 1830s by John Owens, a minister from Llanuwchllyn and, based on the 1851 census, it appears that, that’s where John Parry had been born. 

The shop does now have contact with descendants of the family so, hopefully, that’s one old bible which will be reunited with people who will treasure it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Back in Business (sort of!)

We all go through periods when our hobbies have to take a back seat because of other activities. The last few years have been like that for me.  It isn’t that I haven't been doing any research on the Parry ONS. I have.  But it's been more like treading water, than making real progress.  Hopefully, things will improve this year (although I may still “drop out” for a week or so, at times.)

It will be a slow restart - as I write about in my "Not just the Parrys" blog at http://notjusttheparrys.blogspot.co.uk/, I am currently taking part in Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over.  This came at just the right time for me, as I was already planning to start looking at my own personal family history in more detail this year.  I also wanted to make some changes to the Parry ONS, and the way research has sometimes been carried out in the past.  It is going to take time to learn about some of the new tools and to embed improved research practices. But I hope, in time, the result will be a much better organised and presented one-name study.

So what is there to look forward to currently?

The main goal for this year is a new website.  This will be written in WordPress (when I have learned how!), which should enable me to update the site more frequently (as I won't have to write the entire HTML for each page.)  It should also enable better collaboration, through the use of comments.

Talking of collaboration, one thing I have done recently is set up a Parry Name Study on the Wikitree site (http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Parry_Name_Study )  My own Parry ancestry had already been put on the site by someone else, who had probably been in touch with one of my contacts from years ago.  But I decided the best way to respond was to join in and further develop it.  This might seem like duplication with the main Parry Study web site, but I think it is worth sharing on the Wikitree site as well, because that has the potential for involving more Parry researchers, who are already working on their own families.  As I frequently say, Parry is what one might call a “popular” surname (I will always think of Geoff Riggs when I say that, as he encouraged me not to refer to the name as “common”).  I am therefore very reliant on information being shared by other researchers, so anything which helps such information sharing is good.  Wikitree also has features for those who have taken DNA tests, which I think will become important as more people take the tests, especially with two of the DNA companies now actively promoting sales of their kits in the UK.

There has been a bit of “information sharing” over the last month or so, as I have been contacted by seven Parry researchers recently, several of whom sent me information.  One was a request to carry out research for the enquirer – unfortunately, I don't have time for that, even if they were prepared to pay me, so I steered that one towards the list of professional researchers on the SOG site. Three of the other contacts related to Herefordshire Parrys, always favourites of mine.  One was someone I was in touch with years ago, so it was good to renew the contact there.  Of the other two, one of them related to a family I already knew a researcher for, so they are now in touch with each other. Another two of the seven just happen to be descended from the Colston Parry family – a tree I have online at http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~parryresearch/colston.htm .  I had already promised the first of these that I would update the tree with his information as soon as I can, so I am pleased the second wrote before I have done so, as I can now make all the changes at once.

So now there are three trees on my priority list:
-          My own
-          the Parrys from Birley in Herefordshire, and
-          the Colston Parry family from Gloucestershire.

Gordon Adshead posted on the Forum recently about the records of the Middlesex military service appeal tribunal 1916-1918, which have gone online at the National Archives.  There are three Parrys in this and it was a reminder to me that I had intended to produce some posts relating to Parrys in WW1.  I didn't manage that last year for the centenary of the start of the war - but that is no excuse to abandon the rest of my goal regarding this.

So I think that all gives me plenty to be working on for this year as it is.

But, as always, if you have a PARRY in your family history, then do please get in touch.