Parvin Family Legends

John James Parvin was the son of George, who born 7th March 1887. John J was our mother’s father. Our mother always said that:

  • George, her grandfather, was an educated man. The implication was that he had a higher education. In England this would have meant that he was of the middle classes.
  • Grandfather’s mother left for America with the family money and left it to the “cats home”.
  • It was a family of cutlers
  • Grandfather would have enough children so that he could retire at forty and be supported by his children. Mother remembered his weekly visits with “the basket”.

The picture shows John James Parvin with two of his sisters, Frances and Emma. The children shown are, left to right, his daughter Christina MacCrae Parvin, her brother George,and we don’t know who the third child is.


Over the years we have speculated on George’s “flight” to Motherwell. We have heard suggestions of disapproval of their marriage from one or the other side, children out of wedlock, or some other disgrace. None of which, according to our Yorkshire Years research, was particularly valid. The truth is as follows

  • The first child George was born out of wedlock, and was known as George Morton. However, he and his mother are recorded in the 1881 Census with Jane’s parents, William and Ellin. They married after the Census.
  • The family speculation on his education is not compatible with his occupation as railway wagon builder. There is no evidence of a middle class upbringing or any particular wealth, they were in trade and small business. It is possible that the Mortons were more established being cutlers and of “property”.
  • In the 1861 Census Fanny Parvin was living with her mother and father, Harriet and James Naylor, her brother Henry, and the young George Parvin age 10 months. 
  • Fanny remarried, to a John Jas Miles, painter, plumber and glazier. In the 1871 Census they are resident in Darnall, with children George G (Miles) Parvin (11), Emma N Miles, John Miles (4) and William J Miles (2). Henry Naylor, Fanny’s brother is also recorded. Sarah Parvin is living with John and Emma Nayor, John is Fanny’s brother. The Parvin children were not all farmed out. In the 1881 Census George Parvin is resident with his mother, Fanny, and the Miles’ family. So much for estrangement from the maternal family.

From our mother’s four points, then,

  • Profile, class, occupation and family occupations are not likely to be compatible with a higher education.
  • The grandmother did go to America but there is no evidence of any fortune.
  • The cutlers are not Parvins or Naylors but are Jane Morton’s family. George Parvin had 8 children which might have been enough for semi retirement.
  • The Parvins had large families and George’s was smaller than most.

So the family traditions have held some water but not very much.

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