Perry/Parry Surname Genealogy
Perry and Parry surnames have two principal origins, one Welsh and the
- the Welsh
derivation is the patronymic ap
Harry or ap Herry
(from the personal names
Harry or Herry, a form of Henry). These names compressed to Parry
and Perry on the Welsh borders and in north Wales. The names
Harris and Harries stuck more in
- the English (and Scottish) derivation is locational, describing
who owned or lived by a pear tree (pirige
in Old English which derives from the Latin pirum or pear). In
England, the surname came out initially as Pery or Pury and later in
17th century as Perry, in NE Scotland it was Pirie.
Perry and Parry do come from different roots. But they can get
mixed up in their travels:
- In the UK,
the Perry/Parry distribution
goes as follows: Parry is Welsh territory; Parrys outnumber Perrys in
the northwest (Cheshire and Lancashire); but the Perrys predominate
is also the main name outside the UK. American
immigration records show an equivalent number of Perrys and Parrys
during the 19th century. But once there most Parrys changed their
names to Perry.
- Blanche Parry Website.
Blanche Parry in the court of Queen Elizabeth.
Parry one-name study.
- Perry and Related Surname Links.
Burrell Perry and Perrys of Virginia and North Carolina.
- Ezra Perry. Perrys of
- Perry DNA Project. Perry DNA.
- Parry DNA Project. Parry DNA.
Wales. The first
recording of this Welsh patronym was John ap Harry in 1407 in the
county of Herefordshire. The Parrys of Golden Valley in
Herefordshire date from a little later. Among their number were
Sir Thomas Parry and Blanche Parry, both confidantes of Elizabeth
I. A related Parry family was to be found across the border at
Llandefailog Tre’r Graig in Breconshire and other Parrys cropped up in
Parrys were to be found in greater numbers in north Wales. Some
of them became well-known as poets and musicians. The Parrys from
Henllan near Denbigh in present day Clwyd were an early family and
included the 16th
century diarist Robert Parry and, later, a Quaker emigrant to America:
weaver who bought this land, was the son of Harry ap Rees of Henllan
parish and came to Pennsylvania from Llanelwith in Radnor, bringing a
certificate of membership from the Radnor Quarterly Meeting dated May
Moses Parry lived in the village in the early 19th century. His
daughter Elizabeth bore an illegitimate child who became in later life
the African explorer Henry Stanley. He it was who uttered the
immortal words: “Dr. Livingstone I presume!”
In the 17th century a Parry family from Shropshire
had established themselves at Madryn Park. They
subsequently became the Love Jones-Parrys, one of whom in the 1880’s
helped start up the new Welsh settlement in Patagonia.
migrated in the 19th century to Lancashire, while others left for more
distant parts. John Parry, for instance, set off in 1849 with a
hundred Welsh Mormons for the new Salt Lake settlement in Utah.
The west country is the home of the fermented pear drink Perry
and also for many Perrys.
Perrys in Devon started with Roger Pery,
a trader of Spanish wines in Exeter in the 1530’s. By the 1690’s,
Perry of this family had emerged as a tobacco merchant in
London (his family history is recounted in Jacob Price’s 1992 book Perry of London). When
Micajah died in 1721, his firm was the leading tobacco merchant of his
day. But subsequent trading and shipping losses brought down the
company some thirty years later.
also early Pery/Pury sightings in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset
and Hampshire. By the 19th century, the largest number of Perrys
in the west country were in
Somerset. One family record there goes back to 1715 and the
Kingsdon in south Somerset. Later Perrys were in and
grouping of Perrys was in Essex. Perry was recorded
as a surname from the late 16th century in villages near Colchester
such as Lexden and Copford. One family record dates from a Thomas
Pery who was born in Lexden in 1593. Another Perry family (traced
by James Perry in his A Perry Family
from West Essex) descended from an Abraham Perry of Epping
in the 1660’s.
But the biggest cluster of Perrys was in Staffordshire and
in the neighboring county of Warwickshire. The root here may not
have been the pear tree but the Latin parva
meaning “small” (from which came the Perry of Perry Barr on the
outskirts of Birmingham). Perrys prominent in the 19th century
from this area were:
- Thomas Perry, the founder (in
1806) of the Thomas Perry & Co ironworks in Bilston
- his son Frederick, who lived nearby at Dunston Hall
- and Thomas Perry the
horticulturist, who resided at Bitham House in Warwickshire.
Ireland. Perry in Ireland is an English
implant. The first Perry appears
to have been a Captain George Perry of Gloucester who settled in
in 1639. Richard Perry arrived from Devon with Cromwell in 1658
and took up lands in Tipperary. His descendants became gentry
families in Tipperary (Woodrooff and Kilboy) and in county Cork.
There were also Protestant Perrys in the north, in Tyrone and county
Down. James Perry of Perrymount, born around 1670, was the
progenitor of a long-lasting family in county Down.
America. Early Perrys
were to be found in New England.
Edmund and Sarah
arrived with their ten children from Devon in 1637 and settled in
Sandwich, Massachusetts. One of his sons, Edward, was a Quaker
and his family later moved to Rhode Island where there was greater
religious tolerance. From this family came the remarkable naval
Perrys of Newport, Rhode Island. Their numbers included:
- Oliver Hazard Perry, a
naval hero of the War of 1812
- and Matthew
Perry, the US
commodore who ended Japan’s isolation.
Other early arrivals into Massachusetts were John Perry who settled in
Roxbury in 1632 and another John Perry in Watertown (Bertram Adams’
1955 book Descendants of John Perry
of London traced this lineage).
came there as early as 1611; and the Perry tobacco merchants of
London left Perrys in Isle of Wight county (including Phillip
Perry at his Whitemarsh plantation). A family tradtion is that
seven brothers of this family (William, Nathaniel, Francis, Joshua,
Jeremiah, John, and Burrell) departed Virginia for North Carolina in
New Hope in Pennsylvania grew up around the lumber mills that Benjamin
Parry, the son of a Welsh Quaker, had constructed on the river
banks. Benjamin built his home there, Parry Mansion, in
1784. The house stayed with his descendants until 1966.
There have also been Perry families in the South. One family
record traces the family of Joseph Perry from North Carolina to Georgia
and Florida. Another North Carolina Perry family, the descendants
of Joshua Perry of Warren county, went to Texas. Franklin Perry
also ended up in Texas and his son Alexander became a wealthy landowner
in Dallas. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, is
descended from farmers who had arrived in Texas from Alabama in the
India. Parry became a
household name in Chennai (formerly Madras) due to Thomas Parry from
north Wales who set himself up as a merchant there in the 1780’s.
His name has been handed down through Parry’s Corner in Chennai’s
Australia. Both Perrys and
Parrys came to Australia as convicts and later as free
settlers. Joseph Perry arrived in Sydney in 1885 as a
Salvationist but later emerged as one of the pioneers of film-making in
Australia. His three sons all became early cinema managers.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Select Perry/Parry Names
Parry was lady in waiting and confidante to Queen Elizabeth I.
John Parry, born blind in
Ruabon near Wrexham, was one of Wales’s finest harpists.
Perry was the US naval commodore who with his four black ships
compelled the opening of
Japan in 1854.
Stephen Perry was the 19th
century British inventor who developed the rubber band.
Sir Charles Parry was the
English composer best known for his choral song Jerusalem.
Fred Perry from Stockport in
Cheshire was three-times Wimbledon tennis champion in the 1930’s.
Gaylord Perry from North
Carolina won 314 games as a pitcher during his 22 year baseball
career. His 1974 autobiography was called Me and the Spitter.
- 81,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 85,000 in America (most numerous
- 43,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).
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