The Parnells

After digging around parish records for the Hancocks, I thought I’d turn my attention to the Parnells (my paternal grandmother was Florence Parnell). From previous research on I could trace the family back to Thomas Parnell, a farm labourer in South Devon, born in 1717. That seemed to be as far as it went, but last week I could see that someone had added more information to Thomas Parnell. This is where it gets interesting…

The ancestors for Thomas Parnell kept going back and back until we get to Sir John Parnell (1460-1542). There are two more generations of Sir Johns, then we get Nicolas de Paynel (b1375). The ancestors of Nicolas de Paynel were all born in Normandy and that direct line on the father’s side can be traced back to Gervase Paganell/de Paynell (b990).

It gets more interesting when we take the line of one of the mothers (surname de Lacy, b 1050). It appears that her great uncle was Richard III, Duke of Normandy. He was the grandson of Richard I ‘The Fearless’.His grandfather was Rollo I, Duke of Normandy, also known as Robert the Dane. (Rollo was a  great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror) That line just keeps going back and back and back though countless viking kings of Norway and Sweden, including one poor unfortunate who went by the great name of Olaf Tretelgia King of Vestfold “The Woodcutter” Ingjaldsson, who died in 610 with a cause of death given as ‘sacrificed to Odin’!

I guess the good thing about nobility and royalty is that they kept accurate records and these keep going back and back and back, all the way to Lnor Frei, born AD30 in Mesopotamia. I couldn’t find anything further than that – it would have been nice to go back to BC, or get a nice round 2000 years!

There does seem to be lots of other interesting parts of the Parnell (Paganell/de Paynell) family history, including the branch of the family that built Dudley Castle, the connection to the Everest family (as in Mt Everest) and the ones who moved to Australia (not always voluntarily!).

More on the old Hancocks of Combe Martin

Here’s an extract found by Mary (possibly a distant relative!) in Exeter library.

This shows that William Hancock had a son (as I’d hoped) and that son had two sons, Edward and John who were children when their father died in 1660. I’ve been in contact with the Local Studies Centre in Barnstaple who have said that they have parish records from Comber Martin dating back to 1670, so there’s a fair chance that I should be able to find some records of whether Edward and John married and had children. Definitely a trip to Devon coming up soon!

Tom Evans

A bit more recent this time. This is my maternal grandfather, William Thomas Evans (known as Tom). He fought for the 2nd Devonshire Regiment during the First World War.

Here are his discharge papers

It looks like he spend over three years in France and only returned home when he was injured. The last lines on the paper state:

Awarded Parchment Cert for Gallantry & devotion to duty near Villiers Brettoneux from 24th to 27th – 4 – 1918

I also have a copy of that Certificate

It’s difficult to read now, but the text says

Near VILLIERS BRETONNEUX on 24th April, 1918, Corporal EVANS displayed great gallantry and exceptional leadership until wounded. He kept posts supplied with S.A.A. and moved about personally supervising the men regardless of heavy hostile fire.

Here‘s a link to some details of the battle of Villers Bretonneux. It appears to have been the first ever tank battle and is also famous for the involvement of the Australian Army.

Starting again!

After a few years out of it, I’ve decided to start up a website again. For a year a so I toyed with a blog where I put down my random responses to articles I’d seen in the papers and online (I moved all that out to I gave that up partly because it was easy to get involved in discussions on Facebook or elsewhere and partly because I didn’t have any time after Eddie was born.

Anyway, I’ve now found a new hobby (obsession?). I’ve been looking up our family tree. The main lines are from my dad (Hancock and Parnell) and my mum (Evans and Emanuel). On the Hancock, Parnell and Emanuel lines, I’ve traced back to the 17th century. The Evans side is a bit more tricky. There are lots of Evans in Wales!

The main things I’ve found out are that the Hancock and Parnell families are both from Devon and produced a lot of offspring that moved to Australia (not always voluntarily).

The Hancock line is interesting. From my great grandfather backwards, they were all from Combe Martin in Devon. There was a big Hancock presence there going back to Tudor times. Apparently, there was an Edward Hancock who was big mates with Sir Walter Raleigh, which didn’t end well. I’m trying to find the connection between the end of that line in 1620 through to where I have definite connections (1753).

I’m going to post up any interesting stories here, mainly so I don’t lose them!