Parkin Progress

Sometimes I get so engrossed in my current “treasure trove” that I forget small progress is still progress. Sometimes a record that just confirms what you already know is just as great as one filled with new insight. Then sometimes you end up in the middle of those two.

In the case of William R Parkin‘s death certificate, that’s what I ended up with. I found a little bit of new information and a little bit of verification. Nothing too spectacular though. The only bad part about this record is it almost got lost in the shuffle because it happened to arrive in the same envelope as the George Yohn/Josephine Doremus marriage record.

Verified Information:

  • William’s middle name is definitely Richard. I was already almost positive of that since his widow is listed in the city directory as “Richard’s widow” after his death.

New Information:

  • Stone Cutter being his Primary Disease. I’m sure it’s his occupation which contributed to his death. In 1880 he was listed as working in a Sand Paper factory.
  • Burial at Rosedale Cemetery. I had no idea where any of the Parkins or Redfords are buried, so this gives me a place to start!

More Verification

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.

1900 US Census, Newark, NJ

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 1900[1. 1900 United States Census. Newark Ward 11, Essex, New Jersey. Page 9B. Dwelling 133, Family 202], her husband William R Parkin is already deceased.

Holbrook's Directory - Newark, 1900

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 1875[2. 1900 United States Census. Newark Ward 11, Essex, New Jersey. Page 9B. Dwelling 133, Family 202] (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.

Surname Saturday: Parkin

This is the last surname I’m highlighting on my Dad’s side for the blog! I didn’t mean to take so long in getting this written up but I had an early wake-up today and decided to get it done.

Where does the Parkin name originate from?

This surname has been a source of frustration for me for a long time. First we thought it was Perkins, then Parkins, and finally Parkin. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was completely wrong at this point and I ended up with the surname of Parker. My Parkin family originates in England. The father of my “first family” came to America through Castle Garden in October of 1874 and his family followed in July of 1875.  According to the Public Profiler Surname Distribution Map, in 1881 the Parkin surname was most concentrated around the midlands of England. That would make sense because my Parkin family departed England by way of Liverpool.

Did the Parkins stay in New Jersey?

Yes. I haven’t found all the girls after they married yet, but it looks like the Parkin family was a small but close one.

Overview of the Parkin Family

Father: William R Parkin (about 1842 – 02 Aug 1881[1. Records of Births, Marriages, and Deaths of New Jersey, 1848-1900, v10])

Mother: Ann ? (Sep 1839 – ?)


  1. John Walter Parkin (Dec 1863 – before 1910) My 2nd great grandfather
  2. Mary Ann Parkin (Apr 1870 – ?) married Edward E Spencer, had 2 daughters
  3. William Matthew Parkin (Sep 1871  – ?) married Ida ?, had 1 daughter
  4. Joseph B Parkin (Dec 1874 – ?)

The men in the Parkin family seem to live short lives from what I can tell. Both John and William’s children were living with their mother in 1910. The grandchildren bounced between the families a lot. This fits well with what my Aunts tell me about the Jane Parkin (John’s daughter). They told me that they had the impression she lived a very hard life. To be frank, her parents were dead by the time she was 14. That can’t be easy in any respect. Then to add that they were bounced around between family members. Joseph seems to be the exception to the early death rule in the Parkin family. I have him all the way through 1930 on the census records.

Records to get for the Parkins

  • I need to get birth and death records for my great grandmother Jane. I have her marriage record already.
  • I need to find a marriage record for Jane’s parents John Parkin and Jennie Featherson. FamilySearch gives their marriage date as 17 Jun 1890. Hopefully this helps me find the New Jersey record easier.
  • I really am curious to get the death records for both John and Jennie. If they were both dead by the 1910 census, I want to see what would take them from their children. I feel like there’s a story there in my gut.

Parkin Links


Treasure Chest Thursday: Marriage Records

Marriage Certificate of Clifford and Jane Redford

In my eyes, marriage records are a beautiful thing. I could say it’s beautiful to know a couple started their life together. That’s very true. However, my favorite part of marriage records is that they have maiden names and parent names for the women. One of my oldest and most often gripes is trying to figure out where the girls in the family disappeared to, or where they came from. It’s a common one among all genealogists.

This particular marriage record really opened up doors in my research. The biggest one being Jane’s last name. We knew it was Parkins/Perkins something. This verified for me that it was in fact Parkin. The great thing about this is it even went a step further and gave me her parents names. I’m not always so lucky to get all these facts. In fact, I was hesitant about this record when I got it because my Aunt had told me she always understood that Jane led a hard life and was orphaned young. That is all true. So I was worried that the information on her parents wouldn’t be known at the time of her wedding. From this record, I was even able to find that Jane and her siblings may have been orphaned and they did bounce around a lot, but it was always to other family members. I can’t speak for what happened in those households, but at least the family names were kept in memory so that I could find them today.

Treasure Chest Thursday is a daily blogging topic from GeneaBloggers that I occasionally participate in.