NOTE: You'll find our newer features here.

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Early families in Europe, the first generations in Connecticut in the 1630s and Pennsylvania in the 1840s.

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At 108, retired air traffic controller James Ernst Parmley James Ernst Parmley is the oldest known member of the family. ... An index of obituaries beginning in 1995.

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Olde England

Visits the ancestral family homes in Lewes south of London and in Middleton-in-Teesdale in County Durham.

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New England

Guilford, Conn., is the Long Island Sound town that the family helped settle in 1639.

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Author! Author!

Browse The Family Bookstore. At least a score of relatives have penned books.

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Your Twig?

Find out where you fit in the greater family tree.

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Coats of Arms

So far we've uncovered six!

The 'Boo' Suit

An 8-year-old swore a retired Connecticut merchant scared her beyond belief with just one word: "Boo!" All eyes were on Ethel Bartholomew as took the witness stand in her $10,000 lawsuit against Charles Ives Parmelee [1854-1921; Samuel Blakeslee, Leander, Solomon, Roswell, Nehemiah, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John] in 1901. She did not disappoint.

Getting Away With Murder

A prostitute meets a young man from an established Connecticut family in 1836 New York. Sex. Money. Murder. The press covered the trial like no other up to that time. Despite the evidence, a verdict of not guilty was returned. Richard Robinson was free to start a new life in Texas -- as Richard Parmelee [1817-1855; Cynthia, Hiel, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John]. Yet the Helen Jewett murder case never was closed.

A Plane Crash and Its Aftermath

Just over half a century ago, a North Continent Airlines C-46 plane carrying stewardess Harriet Gale Parmelee [Gale Freeland, Freeland "Fred," Nathaniel Blanchard, John Orcutt, Hezekiah, Simeon, Hezekiah, Joel, John, John] and 28 other people crashed in the foggy hills above Puente Hills, Calif., on April 18, 1952. John Garside has just produced an impressive video documentary of the crash of Flight 416 West, which includes clips from old newsreels.

Harriet was returning home to Whittier after attending the funeral of her uncle, Claude Edson Parmelee, right, a marksman who was fatally injured Feb. 29 when an explosion crumpled Parm's Sporting Goods in Royal Oak, Mich. A gas leak was blamed.

After losing his brother and daughter, Gale Freeland Parmelee died July 19, the family said, "of a broken heart."

Noteworthy Art

Commercial artist Raymond "Ray" C. Parmelee's [1882- ? ; Lewis Hall, Charles Prentice, Theodore Hudson, Theodore, Abraham, Abraham, Isaac, John, John] work graced the covers of dozens pieces of sheet music. Over the years, many copies have been sold on the web, traded by collectors and framed as art in home-decorating schemes. Take a look at some of the Ohio native's works -- and listen to "Polly," probably his most frequently sold cover on the Web.

The Dominie

John W. West, who was known as "a little hunchback slave," attained his freedom and became "The Dominie," an Adventist preacher who primarily ministered to white congregants, including the James A. Parmalee [1819-1854; Asahel, Charles, Hezekiah, Joel, John, John] family.

Sound as a Dollar

One of the rarest U.S. coins is the 1804 dollar -- and this one was once part of Lorin Gilbert Parmelee's [1827-1905; Jeremiah, Gilbert, Jeremiah, Lemuel, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John] collection. Lorin established himself in the baked-bean business in Boston and amassed a number of coins auctioned in 1890.

One 'Cabin,' Two Stories

Uncle Tom's Cabin" author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) has links to the family in Guilford, Conn.:

  • Candace, a slave owned by Ebenezer Parmelee [1690-1777; Isaac, John, John] and wife Anna, lived at the Hyland House. Later, as a free woman, it's likely she was the woman who helped young Harriet understand that Africans, too, were human.
  • When the First Congregational Church bought John Parmelee Sr.'s home lot at the north end of the Village Green, the 1740 Benton-Beecher house stood there. Rossiter Parmelee [1783-1855; Nathaniel, William, Joseph, Isaac, John, John] and a team of 70 oxen moved it to a new foundation -- and turned it into a tavern.
The CSS Hunley

While study of the recently recovered Confederate submarine continues, I have learned that an ancestor assisted such an attempt years ago!

Philip Elting Parmalee [1837-aft1876; Ezra Sherman, David, Noah, Noah, Stephen, John, John] worked as a bookkeeper for Prof. Benjamin Maillefert of Charleston, S.C., who salvaged many of the ships that were sunk in the harbor during the Civil War -- he even a contract to salvage the CSS Hunley. The South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston has Maillefert's business ledgers from 1874-76 which were kept by Philip!

For more on the Hunley salvage and restoration, click here.

This fetching old portrait was sent to me in the hope of finding out who this actress is. Can you help identify some of the people in these photos found tucked inside a family Bible? Do you know who are in a batch of photos found in a home in Waterbury, Conn.? We're sure this album is linked to Robert Parmley (1789-1875), the father of 24! But some of the photos have us stumped.


nd the gentleman at the right is Edward Parmalee. All we know about him is his name, written on the back of an old photograph which, judging by the clothes, probably was taken in the 1840s or '50s. If you know more about him, please let us know so we can place him in the family tree.

Other Old Features

  • Our kind of town: Chicago re-names a street to honor Franklin Parmelee as Continental Airport Express, successor to Parmelee Transfer, celebrated its 150th anniversary.
  • Reunion: Long Beach, Calif., aboard the Queen Mary in 2000.
  • Gone with the wind: The 1913 Omaha Easter Sunday tornado. ... the 1878 Wallingford, Conn., tornado.
  • Catching a comet: NASA ordered its comet-hunting Stardust probe to shut down the spacecraft after a 12-year career. Relatives had their names encoded in microchips that were placed aboard the spacecraft, which encountered a comet in 2004 and brought back samples to Earth in January, 2006.
  • Photo album mystery: We think we've got photos of Robert Parmley and some of his 24 kids!
  • Cloudscapes: Former flight attendant Abbie Parmele, right, has created a series of cloudscapes which were displayed at an Indiana bank and another series of hay bales, which is on view in Rensselaer, N.Y.
  • Author! Author! A chance meeting leads to Mary Alice Parmley's first book.
  • Our man in Havana: Michael Eleazur Parmly served as the top U.S. diplomat to Cuba during the second Bush administration.
  • Got a match? This promotional matchbook cover comes from an old family shop in Sea Bright, N.J. Does anyone know anything about it?
  • A brush with teaching: UC Davis art major Alex Palmerlee teaches in the ArtsBridge program.
  • The old homestead: Camp Atterbury was once an Indiana family home.
  • University donors: William Douglas and Luann Parmelee have created two funds for faculty excellence at the University of North Carolina in their wills.
  • The suffragette: Annette, left, was known as the "Suffragette Hornet" as she sweet-talked and bullied the Vermont Legislature to support women's right to vote.
  • Court case: Allan Wesley Parmelee, the Washington arsonist who's called "The Inmate Who Won't Shut Up."
  • 'Farm in the Dell': Hikes through the Horace and Eunice Maria (Parmelee) Parmelee Farm in Killingworth, Conn.
  • School days: Charlotte (Cooper) Parmley, who worked in the bursar's office at State University of New York, Genesco, recalls growing up in the Great Depression and attending a one-room schoolhouse.
  • The family silver: Among the family items that have recently surfaced are the baptism bowl of Deacon Nathaniel (1771/72 - 1717/18) and son Ezra's (1714-1800) children, and a pair of candlesticks Ezra gave to daughter Jemima when she married Josiah Griswold in 1774.
  • Home, sweet home: Recognize this old homestead in Virginia? Why was it called the Parmelee House?
  • Tug race: The captain of the Parmelee, which plied the waters off Charlevoix, Mich., for years, learns that a head start doesn't guarantee victory.
  • Cream of the crop: The days of the milkman may be over, but Barbara and George R. Parmelee are part of a Bethlehem, Conn., dairy institution that began in 1922.
  • Barn-raising: Joel and Trish Parmelee of Randolph Center, Vt., rebuild after a fire.
  • Lacrosse: Carson Parmelee is the man behind the mask at the University of Arizona.
  • Old barn: An 1886 barn outside Guilford, Conn., that's been in the family for generations will get a face-lift thanks to a grant.
  • Flying high: James Madison University student Dan Parmelee is on his way to earning a commercial pilot's license.
  • Family on a budget: What happens when parenting years overlap with retirement? Charles and Jan Parmalee of Albany, N.Y., are finding out.
  • Escaping the tsunami: The James Aaron Parmelee family of Bangkok, Thailand, was visiting the United States when 2004 disaster hit.
  • Home tour: Ron and Sherri Parmely open their house in Wyoming.
  • Rock hound: Horatio "Harvey" Plum Parmelee collected rocks from all over the world.
  • Sister act: This 1857 group portrait, "The Parmly Sisters," hangs in a gallery in Washington, D.C. They're the daughters of dentist Eleazer Parmly.
  • Snakes alive!: Jeff Parmele of Simpson College is on a mission to save the timber rattlesnakes in Iowa.
  • Teacher honored: Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough pays tribute to Elizabeth Mallory Parmelee in a commencement address at Wheaton College shortly before her death.
  • Tae kwon do champ: James Parmelee of Hernando (Fla.) High School, has qualified for National AAU Tae Kwon Do Championships and the Junior Olympics.
  • An MS story: Donna Karan manager Marlo Donato Parmelee is glamorous, smart ... and suffering from multiple sclerosis. When Marlo, 37, of London, failed to find a narrative that conveyed what she was going through, she decided to write it herself. The result is "Awkward Bitch: My Life With MS" (AuthorHouse).
  • A novel idea: Author Stephen Lewis takes the 1895 Michigan murder case of Julia Curtis, a servant girl buried in a shallow grave. Levi Woodruff Parmelee was convicted, then pardoned of the killing.
  • What's cookin'?: Pat Parmele, a former caterer and food service director, cooks Monday dinner for son Gerik, photo editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune, and his family. She's taken to blogging many of her recipes at Dancing in the Kitchen.
  • Parmele-Dohrmann: You still can find their items at online auction sites. But a century ago, the best in tabletop finery was sold at this housewares store in Los Angeles.
  • WWI dog tags: Kenneth Parmelee of Santa Fe, N.M., doesn't know how his father's World War I dog tags ended up at a woman's Texas home, but he is glad to have the items back. The tags were found while Jim Woods was cleaning out the Big Spring, Texas, estate of his maiden aunt. And the connection was made through our Web site!

Search the site -- but remember,
"Parmelee" can be spelled dozens of ways.
If you aren't sure, use * as a wildcard:

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Updated Oct. 1, 2020