Newsletter - April 27 2009




LostCousins is 5 years old!

Meet me at the Barbican Centre

Civil Registration in England & Wales

How are you related to....?

Genes Reunited up for sale

Simpler subscriptions at

Are you missing a female relative in 1911?

Lloyd George's Domesday

Brick walls come tumbling down!

Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Irish records online

Wireless loopholes

Family Historian v4 released

Tracing Your Roots returns

Peter's Tips

Stop Press


To visit the main LostCousins site please go to


If you missed the previous LostCousins newsletter (dated 8/4/09), or would like to see it again, click here. All newsletters since February 2009 are still available online.



Thanks to everybody who has sent congratulations in advance of our 5th birthday on May 1. Although it has been hard work I've really enjoyed helping thousands of members to find their living relatives - and I look forward to linking up even more cousins over the next 5 years. By the way, if each of our 71,680 members would spend just 5 minutes telling others about LostCousins (the My Referrals page makes it really easy) then you could achieve more in those 5 minutes than I've managed in 5 years - because the more members we have, the more cousins can be found.


PS If you log-in to LostCousins on May 1 you may well learn something to your advantage….. I intend to celebrate our birthday in style!


Acknowledgements to Gmail who celebrated their 5th birthday on April 1 - hope you don't mind me borrowing your cake!



Are you going to The Family History Event, the one-day fair in London that's exclusively for family historians? Not only will over 80 societies be represented, so will LostCousins - I will be there in person to meet you. are sponsoring the event and if you're booking online you can use the code FMP359 to get your tickets for just 7 pounds each. Otherwise print out the voucher below and take it with you on Sunday.





The commencement of civil registration in England & Wales on July 1, 1837 is a very important landmark for family historians because from that date central registers and indexes of births, marriages, and deaths have been maintained. However, since 1837 there have been a number of changes in the system, many of which are recorded in this timetable which I located on the Birmingham City Council website. I think you'll find it useful, and you may well learn something new - I did!



One of the best features of LostCousins is the ability to see how you're connected to another member even before you decide to get in touch with them. The screenshot on the right shows the sort of thing you might see on your My Cousins page: whilst the names and email addresses of the other members are hidden, to protect their privacy (and yours), the entry in the Connection column tells you how many relatives you share, and gives the name of one of them.


To view a complete list of the relatives you share with another member click on the one name that's displayed. An even more comprehensive list is displayed when you click your relative's name (or, as in this case, the word 'hidden' in the name column) - it not only lists each of the relatives that you have both entered, it also shows your relationship and the other member's relationship to each one.


If there's someone who's shown as a direct ancestor to each of you, then you know immediately that you're cousins - but what if your common ancestor died before 1881? On the face of it there's no way you could tell if you were cousins… or is there?


Actually there is! If there's a relative you've both entered who is a direct ancestor to one of you, and a blood relative to the other, then the two of you must share a common ancestor - in other words, you're cousins. This is why it's so important to show the correct relationships on your My Ancestors page: see the FAQs page for a description of the different relationships, but if you need further help just ask - I'll be glad to advise you.



ITV, the UK's first and biggest commercial television channel recently announced plans to sell Friends Reunited and Genes Reunited, which were bought in 2005 for a sum in excess of £120m. According to the May 2009 edition of Your Family Tree the asking price this time is just £50m, although I suspect this reflects the decline in the fortunes of Friends Reunited - which last year was forced to abolish subscriptions altogether - rather than those of Genes Reunited, which now has almost 10m members.


SIMPLER SUBSCRIPTIONS AT FINDMYPAST.COM has simplified its subscription structure by abolishing Voyager and Discovery subscriptions. Anyone who currently has a Discovery subscription will receive a free upgrade to an Explorer subscription for the last month of their existing subscription, so if you're in that position I recommend you make the most of the opportunity.


If you're comparing and do take into account the 20% loyalty discount that offers for renewals - this brings the cost down to under 20p a day, which for unlimited access to over 650 million records is a bargain. However, also bear in mind that whilst has the complete 1841, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 Censuses for England & Wales (and will be the first subscription site with the 1911 Census), the 1851 and 1901 Censuses are not yet complete. Pay-per-view invariably works out more expensive (whichever site you use), but should you opt for this approach remember that credits purchased at can also be used at the 1911 Census site.



If so, she might have been on of the thousands of women who boycotted the census. Even those who were not members of the militant suffragist organisations rallied to the call of the Women's Freedom League, 'NO VOTE - NO CENSUS'. Many women spent the night of the census in the open air rather than be counted in their own homes or congregated in all-women households. One women's college remained open all night for any of its students who chose to stay there. Although it was illegal to refuse to fill in the census form, the Government chose to be lenient because of the sheer number of women who had not been included.


[This article was written by Anne L Harvey, LostCousins member and author of many excellent articles for Your Family Tree, one of my favourite family history magazines]



The May issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine features an interesting article by LostCousins member Peter Foden about the Land Valuation carried out following the Finance Act 1909-10, and which - whilst compiled for similar purposes to William the Conqueror's 11th century Domesday - has far more detail than the original (it reads a bit like a modern surveyor's report). Using this information, held in local records offices, in conjunction with the census you should be able to construct a much richer picture of your ancestors' lives in the early 20th century.


NB The Society of Genealogists Family History Skills course covers Lloyd George's Domesday and similar records on April 30 (see here for more details)



Six weeks ago I wrote about some of the ways in which 'brick walls' can be knocked down (click here to see the original article). All too often the problem isn't with the records but with the way we're approaching the problem - for example, we have a tendency to give more credence than we should to family stories, which invariably become garbled over the years. This is a subject that was also raised recently in Dick Eastman's online newsletter - it's well worth reading his article Family Stories and Other Fairy Tales, and considering whether you too have been over-reliant on verbal evidence.


Barbara - one of the many members who I was able to help to solve a longstanding mystery - returned the favour by giving me a tip to pass on to other members: if you can't find a marriage you're looking for, consider the possibility that they got married a lot later than you think. In Barbara's case her great-great grandparents married only after their 4th child was born, by which time they'd been together for at least 8 years!



Although the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are not part of the UK, they are included in the UK census. At most sites you'll find them included with the England & Wales census - but at each territory is listed separately.


We've opted for the simplest solution at LostCousins. To enter relatives who were lived in the Channel Islands or on the Isle of Man on your My Ancestors page simply select the England & Wales 1841 or England & Wales 1881 census from the drop-down menu.



Although LostCousins doesn't cover Ireland at the moment (because there are no complete censuses online), I know that there are many members who have Irish ancestors or other Irish connections - so I'm always on the lookout for useful sites. John Grenham, whose book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors is the acknowledged leader in its field, recently recommended the Irish Family History Foundation pay-per-view website, which has the largest collection of online parish records.


The map of Ireland on the right shows which counties are currently represented in the database. With nearly 15 million records in total, there's a good chance of discovering something new about your Irish ancestors.



A few days ago I received an email from my brother who was stuck on a train that wasn't going anywhere. His mobile phone had a flat battery, and he doesn't have a mobile broadband card for his laptop- so how on earth was he able to make contact?


Here's the answer - his railway carriage had stopped within range of a WiFi network that was completely unsecured - anyone could use it to access the Internet and send emails. Very handy for my brother, but just imagine how that loophole could be used by somebody less scrupulous - a spammer, a pirate, a hacker, a fraudster, or even a terrorist.


If you have a wireless router make sure that you set your own password and enable the built-in encryption (usually WPA or WEP - though WPA is much more secure). And if you have wireless router, but don't currently use WiFi - switch off the transmissions until you do. Incidentally, you might think that it's only home users who make mistakes - but according to an article I found on the Microsoft site over half of businesses take only basic precautions (or none at all) to protect their network.



The latest version of Britain's leading genealogy program is now available for download from the publisher's website, and there's a 30-day trial version that will give you an excellent idea of what this amazing program is capable of.


One of the best features of the program is the excellent support, particular the User Group where beginners and experts exchange information, ideas, and tips. Last year Family Historian v3 was named Family History Software of the Year by Your Family Tree magazine, but it was just one of many publications showering accolades on this phenomenally powerful program.


Have you ever wanted to share your family tree with a relative, only to discover that their software isn't compatible with yours? Simon Orde, the developer of Family Historian came up with a great idea - a 'read-only' version of the program that's freely distributable. Brilliant!



There's a new series of this highly informative radio programme starting on BBC Radio 4 in August. Leading genealogist Dr Nick Barratt, a long-time supporter of LostCousins, will once again be answering listeners' questions, so if you have a query or an interesting family history tale to tell, email



I don't know if you've ever come across Tesco's Value range, but it seems to me they've gone out of their way to make the packaging look unattractive. I'm glad I didn't allow this to put me off, because I've discovered that the Value items can be as good - and sometimes better - than the regular price goods. For example, my wife and I not only prefer Tesco Value Fruit & Fibre breakfast cereal to the standard Tesco product - we also prefer it to the Kellogg version, which costs 3 times as much! My latest discovery is Market Value apples: yesterday I bought a pack of 6 'red apples' for 69p (about 40p a pound), yet they were some of the best apples I've ever tasted.


If you live in Britain, and like me are driving a car that's more than 10 years old then the Budget brought good news - a 1000 pound subsidy from the Government when you trade it in for a new model (I know the announcement said 2000 pounds, but the other half comes from the manufacturer). However, the biggest saving could come from buying a model that offers high miles per gallon and low emissions, not least because the road tax is so much lower. It's amazing to think that you can now buy cars that offer 50, or even 60 miles per gallon.


The Society of Genealogists is waiving its £10 joining fee until June 30 - this means that for a UK resident the total cost of joining, including a one-year subscription, is just £45 instead of £55 (or £42 if you pay by direct debit;  the rates are lower if you don't live in the UK). Open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the SoG Library houses an outstanding collection of parish and other records, many of which are not available online anywhere. For example, when I wanted to research my ancestors from Kent I was able to look them up on a CD ROM published by the Kent Family History Society which had indexed transcriptions of the relevant parish registers.


Some of the SoG's own databases are available online through Origins: SoG members get FREE access to these for a 72-hour period each calendar quarter (to see what's included click the SOG MEMBERS link on the Origins home page). There is also a small - but increasing - number of records that members can access through the Members' Area of the SoG website. Members also have free access to expert help and guidance.


A year ago I decided that because there are now so many different TV channels here in the UK I'd splash out on a subscription to the Radio Times, and at under 80p a week it's one of the best investments I've made (because I no longer need to buy a weekend newspaper). But what I didn't realise at the time is that you can get your first 12 issues for just 1 pound when you subscribe by direct debit - see here for details.


Finally, a tip for anyone who finds it difficult reading information on the Internet (including this newsletter). If you have either Internet Explorer or the free Firefox browser you can zoom in or out simply by holding down the Ctrl key and using the + and - keys or the scroll button on your mouse (you may need to update to the most recent version of your browser).



This is where any updates or corrections will appear.


That's all for now - I hope you've found some of it relevant to you and your family tree. Please do keep sending in your comments and suggestions for future issues.

Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


Copyright 2009 by Peter Calver & Lost Cousins Ltd. Permission is hereby granted to copy or republish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.