Can you tell I’ve been obsessed with city directories? Well I am. I’ve hit many roadblocks while researching my father’s side of the family. It comes from being the only person that I know of researching them. This doesn’t mean other people aren’t researching them, it just means they may not be googling me. I guess I’m not surprised at that. ha. One of the familial lines I’m going solo on is the Parkin side of the family. I have suspicions once I link this family to England, the heavens might open and I’ll be showered with information… No? Well a girl can dream.
The way I’m preparing for my heaven opening experience, is that I’m gathering as much information as possible on the family. I’m scouring all the resources available to me to find out about their time in America. In fact, I’m going to start planning a research trip to Jersey and this family is on the top of my list. I have a lot of New Jersey families on my list in fact. I’m already looking forward to July. My first step in documenting the Parkins was to find them in the census records, which wasn’t easy. Their surname is often misinterpreted. I’ve found it under Parkin, Parkins, Perkin, Perkins, and Parker. Really it depends on how it sounded to the person doing the records.
Census records are great because they give you a great overall view of the movement your families may make. They can also give you little clues to try and flesh out where they came from. Whether is their parents birth place, or even a spouse’s birthplace. For me and my research of the Parkin family, even initials are a big find for me. It’s just one more step to finding out who these people were. I also have to face the facts, my family liked to name people William so a middle initial to me is a way of distinguishing one William from another. The family in the census above is Ann Parkin and her children. By 19001, her husband William R Parkin is already deceased.
When looking up the Huff Photo Studio in city directories, I decided to look up the Parkin family since I was already there. The Parkins didn’t always live in Newark, so I wasn’t going after a complete history. Really I was just looking to verify the address given in the 1900 census and see what other information I could find. Much to my surprise, I found a little clue that will help me on future record searches.
Anne is listed as widow of Richard. This is big for me. William was only on one census before he died. The family immigrated to America in 18752 (William in 1874), and he died in 1881. So the information on him was very scarce. Now I know that the R initial stands for Richard. This could help me distinguish him on all kinds of records! What if he went by Richard because he also had a son named William? Trust me, I’m well versed in the William dilemma. Think about the possibilities. Say I’m going through English parish registers and I find two William R Parkins born in the same month/year. What if one is listed as William Richard and the other William Robert. My William has a son named William Matthew Parkin. So if one of the father’s name is Matthew, I’ll have another hit. All this from one tiny mention in a Newark city directory after William’s death.
I love city directories.