NOTE: You'll find our newer features here and more
old ones

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Early families in Europe, the first generations to settle in Connecticut in the 1630s and those who arrived to 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. ... See our index of obituaries , from 1995 to date..

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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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Mail Call

Dozens of family letters -- from 1783 up through the Civil War -- have been found in attics and old desks. Did your ancestor write or receive one?

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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 American 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 a baked-bean business in Boston and 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.

Mail Call

Tucked away in attics, books and libraries, they've come to light -- letters written from and to our ancestors from more than a century ago. These are our earliest discoveries:

  • 1783: Stranded in France during the Revolutionary War with others who'd been held by the British, Timothy Parmele [1764-1791; Joseph, Timothy, Joshua, John, John] seeks Ben Franklin's help in returning home.
  • 1798: A letter written by Ens. Samuel Parmele [1757-1828; Oliver, Jonathan, Joshua, Joshua, John, John] to William Simmond, an accountant in the War Department in Philadelphia, the nation's capital at the time.
  • 1812: A letter written by Keziah (Hudson) Parmelee, wife of Theodore [Abraham, Abraham, Isaac, John, John], in Goshen, Conn., to her brother in Hudson, Ohio.
  • 1814: Letters written to Ethalinda (Parmele) Kaysor [1786- ? ; Asa, Silas, Abraham, Isaac, John, John] of Philadelphia, from her father Asa and sister Lucy.
  • 1820s: A very young Francis Burdette Parmele writes his mother, Lydia (Bosworth) Parmele, wife of Henry [Joel, Nehemiah, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John], back home in Albany, N.Y.
  • 1823: Lydia (Bosworth) Parmele of Albany, N.Y., receives sad news from friend Tary Clark of Philadelphia.
  • 1825: Eliza Ann (Pleasants) Parmly of Painesville, Ohio, informs a friend in New York City of the death of her father-in-law, Eleazer [Jehiel, Stephen, Stephen, John, John].
  • 1829: A 14-year-old Francis Burdette Parmele of Albany, N.Y., writes to George B. Smith of Schenectady, N.Y., looking for work.
  • 1830: Letters by Lucius Parmelee [William, Dan, Lemuel, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John], his wife, Ann, and mother, Fanny (Royce) Parmelee, in Twinsburg, Ohio, to their relatives back in Waterbury, Vt.
  • 1831: A three-page letter to 16-year-old Francis Burdette Parmele of Albany, N.Y., from William Brown.
  • 1831: Two letters written to Lucius Parmelee of Waterbury, Vt., from his mother, father and siblings in Twinsburg, Ohio.
  • 1833: Letter from Francis Burdette Parmele of Albany to George Smythe of Schenectady, N.Y.
  • 1833: The first of two letters from starving artist P. Ostrander of New York to Francis Burdette Parmele of Albany.
  • 1833: A second letter from P. Ostrander to Francis Burdette Parmele.
  • 1835: Letter from Caroline (Parmele) Cole in Albany, N.Y., to her brother, Francis Burdette Parmele, who was attending school in Utica, Ohio.
  • 1836: Letter from Philo Cole to his brother-in-law Francis Burdette Parmele.
  • 1836: Second letter from Philo Cole to his brother-in-law Francis Burdette Parmele.
  • 1837: Letter from Frederick Cole in Albany, N.Y., to Francis Burdette Parmele in Utica, Ohio, discussing politics -- the Loco-Focos! -- and religion.
  • 1839: Letter from John Patterson in Albany, N.Y., to Francis Burdette Parmele in Utica, Ohio, and then forwarded to him in Newark, Ohio, concerning some medical books.
  • 1839: Letter from Fred W. Cole in Albany, N.Y., to Francis Burdette Parmele in Utica, Ohio, about some vague business deal.
  • Late 1830s: Caroline (Parmele) Cole of Albany, N.Y., writes brother Francis Burdette Parmele who is attending medical school in Utica, Ohio.
  • 1840: Letter from Francis Burdette Parmele in Albany, N.Y., to brother-in-law George Bosworth Smythe in Newark, Ohio, concerning money matters.
  • 1856: Letter written to Stewart Dean Palmerlee [Bryan, John, Bryan, Jonathan, Joshua, John, John] of East Hampton, Conn., informing him of the death of his brother William.
  • 1862: While held in Ohio, Confederate POW William Jordan Parmelee [Joseph, Joseph?, Joseph, Joseph, Isaac, John, John] wrote a letter to his wife Lydia [Mc Ginty] that was found in a mail bag long after the war had ended.
  • 1862-65: Civil War letters written by Marcus S. Parmele [Alexander H., Smith, Oliver, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John] to his family in Rockford, Ill., and penned for Gen. William Rosecrans while serving as a member of his staff.
  • 1863: Civil War letter written by Col. Theodore Weld Parmele [Truman, Thomas Truman, Thomas, Thomas, Job, John, John] to George H. Kimball in New Orleans.
  • 1865: Abolitionist Homer Parmelee [Howell, Amos, Amos, David, Joshua, John, John] of Philadelphia subscribes to The Liberator.

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Updated March 29, 2021