Newsletter - 29 March 2013

 

 

 

Completely free for Easter!

Save 10% on findmypast subscriptions

Free access to the 1901 and 1911 Censuses ENDS MONDAY

2 million East Kent parish records officially released

500,000 Wiltshire marriages online

New Irish records

6.5 million newspaper pages now online

How to find more cousins

Cousins as DNA donors

Have they found King Alfred?

Manor Park cemetery records complete

Confusion as Kent newspaper goes online

Get copies of register entries - free!

One member's guide to self-publishing

Scanning documents on the move

Forum takes shape

Protecting your email account

Peter's Tips

Stop Press

 

The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 13 March 2013) click here, for an index to articles from 2009-10 click here, for a list of articles from 2011 click here and for a list of articles from 2012-13 click here.
 

Whenever possible links are included to the websites or articles mentioned in the newsletter (they are highlighted in blue or purple and underlined, so you can't miss them).For your convenience, when you click on a link a new browser window or tab will open (so that you donít lose your place in the newsletter) - if nothing seems to happen then you need to enable pop-ups in your browser or change the settings In your security software.

 

To go to the main LostCousins website click the logo at the top of this newsletter. If you're not already a member, do join - it's FREE, and you'll get an email to alert you whenever there's a new edition of this newsletter available!

 

 

Completely free for Easter!

I don't believe that anyone should be prevented from connecting to their 'lost cousins' simply because of the recession - and that's why every year there are several periods when the LostCousins site is completely free.

 

From now until Thursday 11th April you can contact any relatives you're matched with, whether or not you've paid a subscription. This not only applies to relatives waiting in the New Contacts section of your My Cousins page, but also to all the other relatives you're able to find between now and Wednesday.

 

Tip: it doesn't matter if your relative is away at Easter and unable to reply before the offer ends - so long as you click Make Contact during the free period. ††

 

See the article later in this newsletter for some tips on finding living relatives who are researching the same ancestors.

 

Save 10% on findmypast subscriptions

I'm delighted to announce that I've been able to negotiate an exclusive discount code for readers of this newsletter. You can save 10% on any findmypast.co.uk subscription when you click here and use the promotion code I've arranged (see below for step by step instructions and a bonus offer).

 

Whilst this offer doesn't apply to subscriptions to other findmypast sites around the world (findmypast.com, findmypast.ie, or findmypast.com.au) the British site is the only one that currently has all of findmypast's British records. It's also the only site where you can search the British records using the traditional search that most of us are used to, so even if you had to pay a little extra to subscribe to the British site it would be well worth it. Remember that if you need to access records from Ireland, Australia, or the US you can do so from the UK site if you have a World subscription.

 

Tip: if you want to share this offer with other researchers, don't simply pass on the code. Instead, please send them a link to this newsletter - that way they might be inspired to link up with their own 'lost cousins'.

 

As it is Easter I'm going to add an extra present of my own: a LostCousins subscription worth up to £12.50 - which means your total savings could be as much as £28.50! Follow the instructions carefully (read them through first) to make sure that you qualify:

 

(1) Click here to go the findmypast website (it will open in a new tab or browser window), then either register or log-in. If you are already logged-in when you arrive at the website (perhaps because you've been checking out the latest data releases before subscribing) log-out, then start again by clicking the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

 

If you aren't taken to the Subscribe page automatically, click Subscribe in the top right hand corner.

 

Note: if the Promotional Code box isn't shown it's because you haven't logged in yet (there are two screens that look very similar).

 

(2) Enter the exclusive offer code FMPLOST10 in the Promotional Code box, and click Apply to display the discounted offer prices:

 

 

(3) Choose the subscription that's best for you, bearing in mind that 12 month subscriptions offer by far the best value (because the second 6 months is almost half price). I've marked the subscriptions I recommend in the screenshot above.

 

The World subscription includes Ireland, Australia & New Zealand, and the USA (click on the country name to see precisely which records are included).

 

If you're only interested in British records the Full subscription is by far the best choice - the Foundation subscription only offers basic records and is therefore most suitable for beginners. The wealth of additional datasets you get with a Full subscription are well worth the small additional cost, especially when you consider that a subscription to just one of them - the newspaper collection - would cost £79.95 if purchased separately.

 

(4) Before entering your credit card details make sure that the price shown is the discounted price!

 

If at any stage during the process you are logged out (this often happens to me while I'm looking for my credit card), or if your credit card isn't accepted for any reason, please start again at step (1) to ensure that you qualify for your free LostCousins subscription.

 

(5) When you receive your email receipt from findmypast forward a copy to me so that I can verify your entitlement (you won't find my email address on the website, but it is in the email I sent telling you about this newsletter). Your free LostCousins subscription will run for 6 or 12 months and can include your spouse or partner as well - just make sure that the two accounts are linked together before you write to me (all you need to do is enter the other person's membership number on your My Details page). If you already have a LostCousins subscription I'll extend it.

 

Small print: these offers cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts or backdated; if you are a current findmypast subscriber you will receive a 10% Loyalty Discount when your subscription is renewed automatically, so you won't qualify for either offer. However if you upgrade your findmypast subscription before the renewal date you should qualify for a free LostCousins subscription (provided you follow the instructions above). Free LostCousins subscriptions are funded by the commission we receive from findmypast, and that's why it's important you follow the instructions to the letter - if you have any questions ask me before you complete your purchase, because it will be too late afterwards!

 

The offers end on Thursday 11th April - but don't leave it until the last minute!

 

Free access to the 1901 and 1911 Censuses ENDS MONDAY

Until Monday 1st April you can search and view the 1901 and 1911 British Censuses free at Ancestry.co.uk

 

Note: you will be required to register if you haven't done so previously, but you shouldn't be asked for your credit card details. Images of the 1911 Scotland census are only available at Scotlandspeople

 

2 million East Kent parish records officially released

Although I reported in my newsletters of 3rd March and 13th of that the registers from the Canterbury Cathedral Archives that had been transcribed and indexed, it was only yesterday that findmypast officially announced the release and provided statistics on the numbers of baptisms, marriages, and burials. You'll find the details here.

 

Images of the parish registers or Bishop's Transcripts have been online since last summer, but trying to find entries in unindexed records is very time-consuming, and the release of the indexed transcriptions really boosted my own research, as I mentioned last time.

 

Tip: if you don't have a findmypast subscription I'd suggest starting with the IGI, as a lot of Kent baptisms and marriages are included, although the coverage of East Kent isn't comprehensive. You'll find details of the IGI coverage here.

 

500,000 Wiltshire marriages online

Ancestry have made available over half a million marriage transcriptions covering all 327 Wiltshire parishes, and including a handful of records from 1538, when parish registers began (the most recent entries are from 1837).

 

There are no digitised images of the registers, and unfortunately it's not clear which entries have been taken from the registers, and which from Bishop's Transcripts or other historical transcriptions. As is the case with many transcriptions, the names of marriage witnesses aren't included. You can search the new records here.

 

Tip: If you don't have an Ancestry subscription I'd suggest starting with the IGI, as a lot of Wiltshire baptisms and marriages are included. You'll find details of the IGI coverage here.

 

New Irish records

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) this week placed online images of the Valuation Revision Books covering the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone for the period 1864-1933. These books follow on from the Primary Valuation, better known as Griffith's Valuation, which took place between 1848-64.

 

Each year valuers recorded changes in the names of the occupiers and immediate lessors of each property as well as changes in dimensions, acreage, and value. The books have not been transcribed, but they are searchable by placename (city, county, parish, townland) and Londonderry and Belfast have been indexed by street. Click here for more details or to browse the images.

 

Also this week Ancestry added the Northern Ireland Will Calendar Index from 1839-1943, which is already available free at the PRONI website. If you have ancestors from Northern Ireland it's well worth visiting the PRONI site because they have images of the copy will books from 1858-1900 (over 93,000 in all).

 

6.5 million newspaper pages now online

Findmypast have added 650,000 more pages from British newspapers, so there are now 6.5 million online. You'll need a Full or World subscription to view them

 

How to find more cousins

Anybody who shares our ancestors is a cousin, so in theory we're ALL cousins!

 

However, in practice the cousins we're most interested in are the ones who are also researching their family tree - which includes all 92,000 LostCousins members - and where the common ancestor can be identified using surviving records such as parish registers and BMD certificates. This brings the number down to about 10,000.

 

Of course, it's unlikely I'll be able to connect you with ALL 10,000 of those cousins because most researchers haven't got back as far as the early 17th century on every line (in fact I'd go as far as to hypothesise that no researcher, anywhere in the world, has been able to get that far back on every line).

 

A more realistic expectation is to find 3rd, 4th, and 5th cousins - people who share one or more of your 2G, 3G, or 4G grandparents. The connection between you and those cousins is likely to be in the latter half of the 18th century or the first half of the 19th century, so there's a very good chance that you've already found it - now all that remains is to connect to your cousins!

 

You've done the hard part by researching your tree as far as you have - completing your My Ancestors page so that I can link you to your cousins is the easy bit, because it doesn't require any expertise, only a little time and a bit of typing (I'm what they call a two-fingered typist and it still doesn't take me more than a minute or two to enter one of the households from my tree, even if it's a large family).

 

The 1881 Census is the most important one. Why? Because it's the only census we have used since LostCousins started, so it was the only option for early members, and it's also the only one that's available free online (though not Scotland, unfortunately). This means that when you enter a relative from the 1881 Census it's far more likely that you're going to find a cousin than when you enter a relative from any of the other censuses.

 

So who should you enter from the 1881 Census? The simple answer is, your cousins - in other words everyone you can identify on the 1881 Census as sharing one or more of your ancestors. However, to avoid confusion with living cousins, we call them blood relatives, a term that reflects the way that before the discovery of DNA people used to talk about bloodlines. Anyone who is in your direct line is a direct ancestor - this includes your parents, their parents, their parents, and so on as far back as you can possibly go.

 

If your My Ancestors page is currently empty I suggest you start by entering your direct ancestors and their households.

 

The next step is to enter their brothers and sisters - focusing particularly on the ones who were married with children of their own - and their cousins. In some cases you'll already know who they are, but you may need to do a little more research on some of your 'collateral' lines.

 

If you have explored your tree even further you'll be able to enter more distant cousins. Indeed, it doesn't matter how distant the cousins are, what matters is that they are cousins.

 

How many relatives ought you to be able to enter from the 1881 Census? Between 15% and 20% of all the relatives on your tree are likely to have been alive in 1881 - so divide the total number of relatives on your tree by 5 or 6 to work out your target. Of course, as you research your collateral lines you're likely to be adding to your tree all the time, so it's really a moving target.

 

Finally, don't forget to click the Search button on your My Ancestors page whenever you log-in, even if you haven't made any more entries - because your cousins might have done. And make sure there's nobody waiting in the New Contacts section on your My Cousins page!

 

Cousins as DNA donors

If you read my articles last year about DNA testing you'll know that it's unlikely that your DNA is going to solve all the mysteries of your family tree. However, if you're able to trace cousins who are in the direct male or female line of descent from the ancestor whose identity or parentage is uncertain you're in a much position.

 

For example, when researchers wanted to verify whether the remains found under a Leicester car park were indeed those of King Richard III they needed to find someone who shared his Y-DNA (passed down the male line) or his mtDNA (passed down the female line). Their task was a challenging one because Richard died more than 5 centuries ago - for you, researching back just 2 or 3 centuries, it's a far simpler proposition.

 

If you want to re-read my articles about DNA you'll find them here:

 

September 2012

October 2012

 

Have they found King Alfred?

Human remains, which may possibly be those of King Alfred the Great, were exhumed this week from an unmarked grave at St Bartholomew's Church, Winchester according to this article on the BBC News website.

 

Since Alfred the Great died in 899 it would be amazing if scientists could use DNA to prove that they are his remains - tracing 30 to 35 generations of descendants would be incredibly difficult given the limited records that are available for the mediaeval period.

 

Manor Park cemetery records complete

I wrote recently about the ancestors whose graves I found at Manor Park cemetery in East London - in an afternoon I more than doubled the number of ancestors whose graves I'd visited - and now Deceased Online have added the earlier records, which has enabled me to identify where my great-great grandmother, who died of angina in 1902, is buried.

 

Interestingly the name of the undertaker was Smith - this is the sort of fact that one's unlikely to glean from parish registers - and as my ancestor's maiden name was Smith, I can't help wondering if there was a connection. Sadly I doubt there will be anything to see when I visit the cemetery - there were 10 other people buried in the same grave, so there's unlikely to be a headstone.

 

The Manor Park records now include 387,000 burials from 1875-2010 and 42,000 cremations from 1955 onwards. Manor Park is at the eastern end of the London Postal Area, but most of people buried there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries lived much closer to the centre of the London: my great-great grandmother was living in Stepney at the time of her death, and the other people on the same register page came from places like Bethnal Green, Hoxton, Hackney, and even Bermondsey (which is on the other side of the Thames). Annie Chapman, the second victim of Jack the Ripper, was buried there in 1888.

 

On a personal note I found it particularly interesting that relatives from both my mother's and my father's family were buried at Manor Park almost half a century before my parents met, even though both families were living in or close to central London at the time.

 

Confusion as Kent newspaper goes online

I mentioned recently that back issues of the South Eastern Gazette 1852-1912 were being made available free online but, like me, you may have had some trouble working out how to view them.

 

The confusion arose because they are hosted at a subscription site - but fortunately at a price of £0.00 for 1 year (for UK residents), it's a subscription that we can all afford. Follow this link, then add the subscription to your basket - you can register at the site as you check out.

 

Thanks to Lesley for figuring it all out, and then contacting me so that I could share it with you.

 

Get copies of register entries - free!

In 2010 I explained how you could get photocopies of register entries from FamilySearch for a minimal cost - at that time there were no original images available online, and even now most of the parish records are only available as transcriptions.

 

At the time I thought it a little strange that photocopies were being sent through the post, rather than emailing digital copies, and I'm delighted to say that FamilySearch have now changed their system (thanks to Karen for letting me know).

 

You'll find information about the new system in this FamilySearch blog posting and in the FamilySearch wiki. Please note that when FamilySearch talk about patrons they mean you and me - it's not necessary to be a member of the LDS church to use the FamilySearch site, visit a FamilySearch Centre, or request copies of entries.

 

Note: although FamilySearch have microfilmed most British parish registers, and many overseas registers, their collection is far from complete. The quickest way to check what they have in the IGI is to use the Batch Number site set up by Hugh Wallis - there's a link from your My Links page at LostCousins - but bear in mind they have microfilmed many registers which aren't included in the IGI .

 

One member's guide to self-publishing

If you've ever considered publishing the history of your family, your memoirs, or anything of that nature you'll find this article by LostCousins member Gill as interesting as I did:

 

Opening my fatherís memoirs was like a magic portal into the life of someone who was a stranger to me!

I first read them a couple of months after heíd died and was fascinated by the detail, the period of time heíd covered (from birth to his early period in the Manchester City Police) and the way in which heíd written about both personal and world events, giving both description and personal opinion of such varied things as glass milk bottles (recycling was the norm in earlier times) and the political situation just prior to the war.His writing was good... but there were Ďtyposí littering the manuscript and I decided to clean these up before distributing the memoirs to my children.

 

Many years later... and still not having given my children, or grandchildren, the chance to read them I wondered about heavily editing the complete text and trying to prepare it for a self-published book... and what started as a vague thought gradually took shape as the book it is today.

 

I chose to write an introduction, use relevant chunks of his pre-war life and use everything from the date of his joining up until the day of his demob when he married my mother. I also had to move some of the contents around a little as heíd clearly become a little confused about where things were within the MS and had written some things twice and written about other things, such as the theatre at Stalag Luft III in two different places, although not repeated himself.

 

That done I wondered about whether I could use some of the material Iíd acquired through researching his RAF days... Iíd managed to get his ex-POW questionnaire and all his flying ops from the National Archives and also had a few of photographs of him that I felt would be appropriate... two in uniform and one, in later life, wearing his medals.

 

After emailing the National Archives about using material downloaded from their website I was told that I could use a transcription of parts of the documents, without charge, of anything Iíd downloaded as long as I followed the guidelines of the Open Government Licence Iíd transcribed all my dadís flying ops into a table and was pleased that this wasnít going to cost anything.

 

However, for the scan of his questionnaire I was told that:

 

No fee is payable for a print run of under 200 copies, so you need not contact us unless and until the print on demand run exceeds this figure.

 

A small fee is payable for 200-4000 copies, depending on the size of the image on the page.

 

So, until I reach the sales figure of 200 copies I donít have to pay anything. However, Iím rather hoping that I shall have to pay for the privilege of using the image!

 

Now I was motoring! I wanted to get an ISBN number for the book so that it would always be a Ďrealí book that would always be available, as itís catalogued, and checked out how I would go about getting one. Apparently they are sold in batches of 10! I could get these from Nielsen for £126 and this would cover me for any different versions of the book... and still have plenty over.

 

I knew that Steve Robinson, the author of the Jefferson Tayte books, had published on Amazon and thought that this seemed like the best (and cheapest) idea for me and went onto the Amazon website. I downloaded the Kindle guidelines about self-publishing, read them... and got cold feet!

 

I didnít quite understand all the strictures about formats and the KDP programme so I backed off.

 

It was at this point I stumbled upon a site called PublishNation, a company run by David Morrison. His prices seemed extremely reasonable and for the same price as acquiring 10 ISBN numbers I could have two versions of the book... an eBook and a paperback! They would format the material and, as my publisher, would upload it to Amazon and to a print company called ĎLuluí. As far as I was concerned this was a Ďno-brainerí, as they say. I looked over the website and was impressed by what I read so decided to go ahead along this route as from the testimonials given I could see that David would give help and support throughout the process.

 

I wrote to him and received a reply the same day... so I felt he was on the ball and sent along my MS. Images (and tables are counted as images) are charged extra and the cost of this also seemed very reasonable. I told him about these and was told to send them as separate files but to indicate where in the text I wanted them inserted... either as full page images or within the text. Easy enough!I sent all the files up to him and waited.

 

He very soon... I mean the following day!...returned the MS in PDF format and asked me to check it through. I did... not carefully enough, Iím afraid, and realised that there were still some typos and punctuation errors. I updated my original and re-sent it.

 

Then, my goodness, I realised that Iíd missed out some of his ops in March and April 1942 and again the MS had to be changed to take account of the altered tables!

 

In between correcting versions and sending the file back to David I had tried to find out who owned the photograph of the man who shot down my dadís plane and wrote to the Luftwaffe... but heard nothing from them!I really wanted the reader to be able to see the man that my father had written about... and not in any disparaging terms! I realised the solution was to include a web link at the end of the book... problem solved... and I also added my own email addresses if any reader had comments or questions.

 

Eventually the time came to order my first proof copy! I live in Gibraltar for much of the year and so it had to be sent here... very expensive in terms of postage. Oh Lord... it was littered with punctuation errors that Iíd missed! So those were put right and the second proof was sent to the UK... my husband was going to be back there and could let me know if there were more. There were! (Sounds odd to say this... but the errors are easier to spot when itís in hard copy.) So, a third proof was ordered and I do believe that this is error free!

 

I suppose I could have hired a proof-reader to avoid all the proofs that I had to buy... but apparently itís pretty expensive to do that and I really couldnít afford it.

 

Anyway eventually after the third proof I felt that Iíd really got it nailed and told David to Ďpress the buttoní and upload it to Amazon. So between first contacting David on 28 Jan 2013 it was Ďpublishedí on 14 March 2013... and as Iím an astrologer itís been published during a waxing moon, a positive phase for growth and new ideas... and, I hope, new books to flourish!

 

Now comes the marketing... Iíve approached people like Peter to see if heíd flag it up because of all the people my dad has named in his memoirs... aircrew at Blackpool, Lossiemouth and Oakington as well as those in Stalag Luft III and others in which he was incarcerated Ė and Peter was happy to agree. Iíve flagged it up on Facebook on various pages that I feel will have the sort of readership for this rather niche market.

 

I have noted, however, that there is an upsurge of interest in WWII recently and a growing realisation that very few veterans are now alive to tell their tale... maybe dadís book coming now is the right time. I hope so.

 

I would urge that if anyone has a member of the family who has a tale to tell and you feel that it is deserving of a wider readership... go ahead and Ďself-publishí with someone like David Morrison to take you through the process.

 

I have achieved what I wanted to achieve even if no books are bought... that this historical account of one manís wartime experience now has a definite form and dadís name and what he did for his country will be there forever!

 

Thanks, Gill - you clearly inherited your father's writing skills! Of Stirlings and Stalags: an air-gunner's tale is available in Kindle format from Amazon, and as a paperback from Lulu.

 

Scanning documents on the move

These days multi-function printers are so cheap that we all have scanners in our homes, but sometimes it would be great to have a portable scanner.

 

Mike wrote to tell me about a free app that turns an iPad into a scanner (Faster Scan HD - available from the App Store), but we don't all have iPads, so he also told be about the hand scanner he'd bought from Amazon for £32 including delivery - and which he'd found very useful.

 

Tip: don't use your scanner in a library or record office without first checking that it is allowed.

 

Forum takes shape

The LostCousins forum is gradually taking shape and this weekend the 2000th message will be posted - not bad for a handful of volunteers, most of whom only joined a fortnight ago.

 

Why do we need a forum? Firstly, because it will be a great place to share information about sources of information, particularly very-specialised sources that I can't write about in this newsletter, perhaps because they'd only be of interest to people with ancestors from a particular parish.

 

Secondly, because I can't personally help every single member with their research - and even if I could, I don't have all the answers. A forum where members can help each other will complement what I'm able to do, whether over email or through this newsletter.

 

How will the forum be different from existing forums? My primary aim is to make it more welcoming for people who've never used a forum before, or have found them daunting - and to be able to do that I need feedback from you!

 

What has stopped you from joining forums, or put you off when you did join? Did you find them hard to navigate, hard to understand, too cliquey, or did you simply feel they were a waste of time? Please donít wait until the forum launches - it could be too late to change things - I want to hear from you now!

 

Protecting your email account

In the last newsletter I warned members about the dangers of online email accounts being hijacked, and suggested that if you really must use webmail, Gmail is the safest option.

 

Of course, that doesn't mean that Gmail is 100% foolproof - but looking at the statistics, it's clear that it is far safer than either Hotmail or Yahoo. Over the past 12 months I've received spam emails from only 4 members whose Gmail accounts had been hijacked (out of 6500), 42 from members with Hotmail or other Microsoft addresses (out of 14400), and 105 from Yahoo or Yahoo-managed accounts (out of 16600).

 

These figures suggest that your email account is about 10 times more likely to be hijacked if you have a Yahoo account than if you have a Gmail account, and about 5 times more likely if you have a Hotmail account. Laurence sent me a link to an article which sheds some light on why Yahoo is such an easy target for hackers, and although this particular bug has supposedly been fixed, there are clearly problems that haven't.

 

Tip: if you have a BT email address then your email is run by Yahoo, and probably just as vulnerable.

 

One of the reasons that Gmail is safer is because it offers an extra level of protection (2-step verification), which is described in this article. I suspect that the 4 members whose Gmail accounts were hijacked hadn't implemented this protection (although I haven't checked this with them).

 

There are some other useful tips in the article, such as how to choose a stronger password, so even if you aren't planning to switch to Gmail it's worth a look.

 

But don't rely on the hoax that's been going round for over a decade, and which claims you can protect your addressbook by making the first entry a non-existent address. Several members wrote to pass on this 'tip' but it only took a few seconds to verify that it's at best an urban myth, and at worst a hoax perpetuated by hackers themselves.

 

Never rely on tips like this without first checking them out - and never, never, never forward an email to everyone in your address book. Any email that asks you to do that is at best a hoax and at worst a virus - over the course of more than 20 years I've never yet seen one that was genuine. If you're ever in doubt just do a Google search - it takes seconds and saves you from embarrassment (or worse).

 

Finally, I'd like to pass on a tip from Jack - if you've changed email addresses but your old Yahoo or Hotmail account is still open then it's still vulnerable to hackers. I know this is true - several of the spam emails I received were from the former address of members, not from their current address.

 

Peter's Tips

This is the time of the year when banks and building societies try to tempt savers with offers of Cash ISAs, although sadly this year the interesting rates aren't very tempting. So how would you like to earn 10.4% tax-free with inflation-linking on top - it sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Oh, and by the way, this particular investment is backed by the British Government!

 

If you are receiving, or will shortly be entitled to receive, a state pension and are under 75 I suggest you take a close look at the Government's information page explaining pension deferral. For every 5 weeks you delay taking your state pension your pension entitlement increases by 1%, equivalent to 10.4% if you delay taking your pension for a full year. And because pensions increase each year at least the rate of inflation the increase is actually a lot higher.

 

In truth the return isn't quite as high as it first appears, because you're sacrificing the pension that you don't draw. However, when you consider that life expectancy is rising and that the increase you earn by deferring continues for the rest of your life (and in most cases for the rest of your spouse's life, should you die first), it's something everyone should consider.

 

Of course, you might not feel you can afford to forgo your state pension, even for a year - but should you be lucky enough to have a small private pension of some kind you will almost certainly do better to draw that down as fast as possible, because not only are the returns on pension fund assets very low (often less than the annual charges they levy), annuity rates are also appallingly low.

 

I must make it clear that I am not officially qualified to give financial advice - in fact officially I'm not even qualified to give you advice about genealogy. In each case I'm merely telling you is what I do, or plan to do, or would do in the circumstances described. Your situation may well be very different from mine, so before acting you should read the Government's booklet and if you are in any doubt at all, consult a qualified independent financial adviser.

 

Quite a few LostCousins members who have retired live abroad, mainly in places where the weather is better than in Britain. But often it isn't feasible to emigrate, whether for financial or family reasons, so I'd be interested in hearing from any member who has personal experience - good or bad - of a timeshare, shared ownership holiday property, or similar 'investment'.

 

Here's an email that I received this week:

 

In July, 2012, you posted an article about my sister, T Sandeman Charles and Save5.

 

She is still working very hard to try and reach her goal of 10,000 new sign-ups on the NHS Organ Donor Registry but time is now running out for her. She produced a 3 minute YouTube video and I was wondering if you could do an update on her story and include the link to the video.

 

Please help share this link with the public, your family, friends and your contacts.

 

Thank you so much for reading this.

 

Liz Sandeman

 

http://www.save5.org.uk/video-appeal.html

 

The video lasts just 3 minutes and 29 seconds. Let's hope that T survives long enough to see her dream realised.

 

Finally, thanks to Anne, who is one of the volunteers helping out with the new forum, there's now a list of all the articles in my 2011 newsletters, with links to the relevant newsletters - this means that all of my newsletters since February 2009 can now be reached quickly! See the section in italics at the beginning of this newsletter for the links.

 

Stop Press

I've added a note to the article about the South Eastern Gazette to make it clear that free access is only for UK residents (this information was in my previous newsletter).

 

I hope you've found this newsletter interesting and that you'll make full use of your membership of my site to link with the cousins you don't yet know (your 'lost cousins'). After all, that's what LostCousins is all about!

 

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Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins

 

© Copyright 2013 Peter Calver

 

You MAY link to this newsletter or email a link to your friends and relatives without asking for permission in advance. I have included bookmarks so you can link to a specific article: right-click on the relevant entry in the table of contents at the beginning of the newsletter to copy the link.

 

Please DO NOT re-publish any part of this newsletter, other than the list of contents at the beginning, without permission - either on your own website, in an email, on paper, or in any other format. It is better for all concerned to provide a link as suggested above, not least because articles are often updated.