Newsletter - 23 November 2013
The LostCousins newsletter is
usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 10 November
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!
Everyone has their favourite site, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to research one's family without having access to BOTH of the major subscription sites. I find that I'm constantly switching from one site to another looking for clues in the record sets that are only available at one site or the other, such as parish registers - however, in these tough times finding the money to pay for one subscription, let alone two, can be really tough.
So you'll be pleased to hear that I was not only able to persuade findmypast to offer an exclusive discount for all readers of my newsletter, but also to convince them to offer a larger discount than usual "since it's Christmas".
Between now and Twelfth Night (6th January) you can SAVE 15% on any subscription to findmypast.co.uk when you use the exclusive Christmas discount code, and there's a bonus from me of a free LostCousins subscription worth up to £12.50!
To make sure you qualify for your bonus, and a total saving of up to £36.49 follow these simple steps (but please note the small print at the bottom - it could well apply to you):
(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 XMASLC 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 virtually half price).
If you're only interested in British records (England, Scotland, and Wales) the Full subscription is by far the best choice - the Foundation subscription offers only basic records and as is really for beginners (as a LostCousins member you shouldn't even consider it!). Believe me, 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 British Newspaper collection - would cost nearly £80 if purchased separately.
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.
(4) Before entering your credit card details make sure that the price shown is the discounted price!
(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, shown on their My Summary page, 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 Loyalty Discount when your subscription is renewed automatically, so you won't qualify for either offer. However if you upgrade your findmypast subscription (eg from a Full subscription to a World subscription, or from a Foundation subscription to a Full or World 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!
An entry on the Genes Reunited blog describes how soldiers in the trenches became pen-pals with girls stranded in England who they had never met - in some cases becoming engaged without first meeting.
Apparently "in 1915 the Hull Daily Mail reported that through a local scheme, a housemaid named Mary was able to win the heart of a lonely soldier through sending cigarettes and a bottle of whisky concealed in a cake. The young soldier was so thrilled by her gesture that when on leave he paid Mary a visit and the pair got engaged within 72 hours of first meeting." Clearly it was either a rather large cake or a rather small bottle of whisky - but full marks to the young lady for her initiative!
It reminded me of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. After Jane Seymour died, Henry commissioned Hans Holbein to paint portraits of Anne and her younger sister Amalia, both of whom he was considering for his fourth wife, and they married just 5 days after their first meeting. It wasn't the happiest of marriages - lasting just 6 months - but at least Anne kept her head, eventually outliving Henry by 10 years.
In Herefordshire a grant from the Lottery Fund is enabling personal letters, diaries ,and photographs from the Great War to be digitised and place online. For a sneak preview see this page on the BBC website, where the opening sentence of a letter reads "Dear Mother, Thank Goodness at last some 'fags' have arrived for me....".
As the centenary of the 1914-18 War approaches there are many other projects, and one of our Canadian members, Vickie Beamish, has written a wonderful article that I wanted to share with you:
I imagine that most of us who have been interested in genealogy for many years have had some surprises, and I would like to tell you about one of mine.
Although my mother, Violet May Morley, was very close to her three sisters and most of their children, she seldom mentioned her brothers.†† Mother had four brothers, Henry James Morley, Albert Edward Morley, Leonard Arthur Morley and Frederick Charles Morley.†† Uncle Fred is the only one I can remember meeting, and that was when I accompanied my mother when she went to say goodbye to him when he was on his death bed.†† I knew little or nothing about the existence of the others, until checking out Census returns, BMD's etc. in recent years.†† I found some further information here and there about these uncles, but their names are not uncommon so things were a bit difficult.†† I did find (from Parish records) that Uncle Henry signed as Witness to my parentís marriage.†† My Dad, Percy Clifford Slogrove, born in South Africa,† had told me that when he was in the Royal Navy he had met my motherís brother Henry.† Henry had taken Dad home and introduced him to his sister when they were on leave in England. So the story beginsÖÖÖÖ
Three things happened in quick succession over a period of about four weeks. Firstly, my sister Jane sent me a packet of family photographs found amongst my late motherís effects, all identified except one of a very tall soldier and a very short regimental drummer boy. Jane did not know who these soldiers were, but thought I might like to have the photo.† On the back is written "The Long and the Short of the York and Lancaster Rgt. taken April 10th 1911. 6'3" and 3'9".††† I liked the picture but could not ID the soldiers. We did not know why mother had never shown us this photograph or even why she had the picture at all.
Secondly, a cousin in Worcestershire scanned me a group picture of my parentís wedding she had found tucked away. We had lost virtually all personal papers when we were bombed out during the war, and I have no memory of ever seeing any pictures of my parentís wedding. I was so excited as this is the only picture I have of who I believe to be my grandparents, and great grandparents. They all died long before I was born. And, of course, there was Uncle Henry, who had introduced my Dad to his sister, splendid in his naval uniform.
Thirdly a genealogist, Melvyn Pack, emailed me from England to ask for my help. He told me of a terrible battle early in WW1 in Beaucamp-Ligny, France in which British casualties had been heavy. He wrote:
"In November 2009 some building works were being undertaken in the small village of Beaucamps Ligny in northern France (just a few kilometres west of Lille) and 15 sets of remains of British WW1 soldiers were uncovered. The artefacts and location confirmed that they were soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the Yorks and Lancs Regiment.
"There were a total of 58 soldiers killed with the Battalion between 18-23 October 1914 who have no known graves and whose names are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial - the 15 are drawn from this 58.
"The project of the Ministry of Defence is to identify as many of the 15 men as possible so that they may have named graves, and they are to be reburied with full military honours in October 2014, exactly 100 years after their deaths as part of the commemoration of the WW1 centenary. My task has been to trace as many DNA compatible relatives for the soldiers as possible so that comparisons can be made for identification purposes. I have attached an explanatory note on DNA testing and the categories of relatives that are compatible (it is not simply a matter of being a blood relative).
"The good news is that you are an ideal candidate if you would like to help - your mitochondrial DNA is identical to that of your maternal grandmother who passed it to all of her children including Leonard and your mum who passed it to you. All we will need then is a male Morley from the family line because they will have the Y chromosome that is passed down an unbroken male line. Any help in that direction would be marvellous.
"One of the missing soldiers was Leonard Arthur Morley whose records show that he served in the York and Lancaster Regiment,† and was exceptionally tall for his generation. He was barely 15 when he enlisted in the Yorks & Lancs on 27 April 1907. He over-declared his age by a full three years. †Even at that age, Leonard's height was 5 feet 9 and 7/8 inches and after 6 months with the army his height had increased to 5 feet 10 and 3/4 inches.† The pathologist stated that one of the bodies was of a soldier 6'2" to 6'3" tall."
Mel was working on the family trees of all fifty eight soldiers killed during that battle whose bodies were not recovered, and came across my name when working on Leonard Arthur Morleyís family tree. I was able to confirm that I was indeed the Vickie Slogrove he was looking for and that my mother was Leonardís sister, whereupon I was requested to provide a DNA sample and also to find a suitable male relative to provide male DNA. I was also able to contact the grandson of my uncle Henry, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Morley, Royal Signals; we have both now provided DNA samples.
As a matter of interest I scanned Mel the picture of the tall soldier and drummer boy, and also a picture of Uncle Henry extracted from my parentís wedding photograph. Mel submitted these photographs to experts who were able to confirm that the uniform worn by the tall soldier was the correct one for that Regiment at that time, and also that the facial features of Uncle Henry and those of the tall soldier show a strong family resemblance. †Apparently the picture of the soldier with the drummer boy caused quite a stir. Mel wrote "Leonard would have been 18 by the date of the photograph so the height of well over six feet tall is absolutely consistent with his physiology and age - I think that you have identified a family treasure!"
We await the DNA results, which could take months. The Yorks and Lancs Regimental Association is defraying the cost of any certificates needed by Mel for his research, and a department within the Ministry of Defence is paying for the DNA testing, but nothing else.† Mel has researched all 58 families on a voluntary basis - clearly a labour of love. There is to be a ceremony in October 2014, and I am glad that the sacrifice made by these young men will be honoured - at last! I am so grateful to Melvyn Pack for his exceptional dedication in undertaking this research.
There are other coincidences. One is that Beaucamp-Ligny is only 53 km away from Haveluy where my brother, Pilot Officer Edward Arthur Slogrove, RAF,† is buried. He was a bomber pilot in WW2 and his Lancaster was shot down there. The local nurse, and member of the Resistance,† Madam Marie Thurette-Monez, secretly provided space in her family burial plot for the remains of my brother and his crew of six just after the crash. At first she and her husband, Gabby, kept the remains in their house and when the Germans came to search for the† bodies she told them they could come in of course, but that she was nursing someone with a contagious disease.† So they went away instead.† After the war the War Graves Commission took over the graves and kindly erected the official crosses in the wrong order.
I live on Vancouver Island.† Another family living on the Island has also been asked to provide DNA to enable the identification of an ancestor of theirs. Two possible identifications in such close proximity struck me as quite a coincidence.
© Vickie Beamish 2013
Note: over 600,000 men and women enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force between 1914-18, including 4 of my Calver cousins. The service records are held by Library & Archives Canada, and digitised images of the Attestation Forms are available free online.
The Wellcome Library has made available online a collection of more than 5000 fully-searchable reports prepared annually by Medical Officers of Health in the London boroughs. Covering the years 1848-1972 the reports don't name individuals, but they do create a picture of what things were like for our ancestors who lived in London.
Whilst individuals may not be named, you will occasionally find that addresses are mentioned - for† example, in his report for 1898, the Medical Officer for East Ham reported:
Later in the report he lists streets in which there were fatal cases of diphtheria and typhoid - and whilst he doesn't give the numbers of the houses, he gives the ages of the victims - which might well make it possible to identify them. There's also a table which summarises the number of occurrences of each of 7 infectious diseases by street, and this sort of information can be very revealing - for example, in one street with only 12 houses there were 20 cases of scarlet fever and 2 of diphtheria.
In 1936 my father's elder brother, his only sibling, died of tuberculosis in a sanitorium at the age of 25 - I now know, thanks to the report of Ilford's Medical Officer, that he was just one of 82 Ilford residents to die of TB that year. Moving forward to 1956, I can see that I was just one of 139 Ilford schoolchildren to contract Scarlet Fever - though thankfully that year none of us died (pneumonia and TB were responsible for all 115 of the fatalities caused by infectious diseases).
If you or your ancestors lived in London it's well worth taking a look to see what you can find out about the health of the community I which they lived - and if you manage to identify one of your relatives from the details recorded do let me know!
There's an amazing project that I wouldn't know about were it not for LostCousins member June - the geograph website aims to collect photographs for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. When I last checked there were 3,736,243 photographs - which makes it a very useful complement to Google Street View.
The Scottish Association of Family History Societies has produced a list of 3,500 burial grounds in Scotland ordered by county and parish - if you're trying to figure out where your Scottish ancestors were buried it's a great place to start, although there's not a lot of information about the individual burial grounds (and no names).
Tip: there are hundreds of thousands of Scottish burial entries at DeceasedOnline, which has millions of British records, more than any other site apart from findmypast, which hosts the National Burial Index.
Will Richard III get a mediśval reburial?
On Friday a BBC News article revealed that an Oxford academic has tracked down evidence relating to mediśval reburial services - and is proposing that the reburial of Richard III should take place according to those ancient rites.
It won't be the first time that Richard has been reburied, nor will it be the first time in the past century that royalty have been reburied - in 1928 the remains of 8 individuals of royal or noble birth were reinterred at the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore, near Windsor (you'll find a list of them here).
In 1977 Frederick Sanger and his team developed "Sanger sequencing", a technique for sequencing DNA that is still in use today, and in 1980 it won him his second Nobel prize for chemistry (he was the only Briton to win two Nobel prizes, and the only person ever to win two chemistry prizes). You can read more about Frederick Sanger in this BBC article, which was published after his death this week.
The Sanger Institute near Cambridge, named after Frederick Sanger, is one of the world's leading genome research bodies. Budding DNA experts might be interested in this online training course in next-generation sequencing (which includes a video presented by my stepbrother John, who leads one of the projects at the Sanger Institute).
There are some big reductions in the cost of tests at Family Tree DNA, the company I chose to analyse my DNA. If you're coming to Genealogy in the Sunshine in March it's a great opportunity to get your DNA tested so that you can have a personal consultation with Debbie Kennett, one of the UK's leading experts in the use of genealogical DNA tests.
If you're still not sure how DNA tests might help you to untangle the knots in your family tree, take another look at the articles I published last year - there were five articles in September, and then in October I explained why you might not be the best person in your family to take the test (and how you could use LostCousins to find the cousin who can provide the ideal sample).
One of the dangers of taking a DNA test is that you might discover something completely unexpected. For example, we tend to assume that birth certificates tell the truth - but what if the father shown on the certificate was cuckolded (tricked into bringing up another man's child)?
And what about those very late children, the supposed sons and daughters who arrived when the mother was over 50 years of age? Even as recently as the late 1990s only one child in 20,000 born in the United States had a mother who was 50 or more at the time of the birth, so the chances that one of your female ancestors gave birth at a similar advanced age is pretty small, no matter what the paper records might indicate. Could the real mother be one of the unmarried daughters?
It wasn't just a matter of morality, but also practicality - a young woman who gave birth to an illegitimate child would find it far more difficult to marry, though my great-great-great-great grandmother was very lucky - her husband married her even though he knew that she had previously given birth to my great-great-great grandfather. Thanks goodness that he did - otherwise I might not be here to relate the tale!
The Family Tree Analyzer program - free to all LostCousins members - will identify mothers who gave birth at the age of 50 or more, allowing you to take a closer look at the circumstances. Of course, it will do much, much more besides - it's one of the most useful programs around, so why not download it today!
Note: Family Tree Analyzer has special additional features exclusively designed for LostCousins members; it runs under Windows, so apologies to Mac users.
In the Blood was the title of Steve Robinson's debut novel, the first genealogical mystery featuring Jefferson Tayte - so it seemed a strange coincidence to discover from an article in last week's New Scientist that our blood can reveal so much more about us than a straightforward DNA analysis.
It's all to do with epigenetics. The code that is contained in our DNA sequence is only part of the story - nature adds post-it notes to inactivate certain genes (the technical word is methylation). Most of our genes are labelled before we are born, but labels are added afterwards, in response to stresses and other lifestyle factors - such as smoking or childhood traumas - although it's not just negative experiences that change our epigenome, positive events can be just as important a factor. Because of this, analysing our methylation profiles can potentially reveal a lot about our lives, although it is still early days.
It's likely that the first widespread use of epigenetic tests will be to help track down criminals - but then that was also true of DNA testing.
Note: talking of genealogical novels, I've lost count of the number of thank you notes I've had from members who read The Marriage Certificate, Stephen Molyneux's debut novel following my recommendation. Graham in Melbourne professed never to have read a novel before - he normally prefers non-fiction - but even he was captivated, and is now planning to give copies as Christmas presents!
I find that I read more and more these days - not because I have more time (I don't) but because there are so many books and magazines that I really want to read. So much for the Internet killing off books!
I save genealogical mysteries for times when I'm travelling, or sitting in some waiting room - because those are occasions when I want to be transported into another world, when I want time to fly by. Yesterday I was faced with 2 or 3 hours in a hospital waiting room, so I made a start on Hiding the Past, by Nathan Dylan Goodwin - a book that was recommended to me by a LostCousins member (as were In the Blood and The Marriage Certificate) - and I have to say it's good, very good.
However, I'm only a fifth of the way through, so you should probably discount my opinion for now - although if the reviews on Amazon are anything to go by it seems I'm going to enjoy the rest of the book just as much. The only question in my mind is whether I can wait to read the rest..... and I suspect you already know the answer!
Tip: it's available as a paperback as well as in Kindle format, though of course the Kindle version is cheaper (and more convenient for travellers). If you don't live in the UK follow this link to Amazon.com
Thanks to Neil, I can now tell you of a third location where it is possible to view unlimited Scotlandspeople records for a fixed fee of £15 per day - the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock. Are there any other locations, I wonder?
You've got just 3 weeks to deliver your verdict on the plans to change the 2021 and future censuses. Very simply, there are two proposals - one is to continue the existing system, but to cut the cost by encouraging more people to submit their returns online. The other is to scrap the census as we know it, and produce statistics using a variety of sources, such as records kept by government departments, local authorities, utility companies, and supermarkets.
If the second option is adopted it will mean that the census will no longer be of any significance to family or local historians, because there won't be any information about individuals, just numbers. It may seem a somewhat Kafka-esque solution, but itís currently the frontrunner - because on paper it's cheaper, and it appears to be the only way of providing statistics that are always up to date.
However, there's no point arguing our case simply on the basis of the needs of people like us. Censuses were never intended to meet the needs of family or local historians - indeed, in many countries the census forms were (and in some cases still are) destroyed once the data had been collated. Instead we need to demonstrate that the existing system is not only better, it would also be cheaper.
Though they claim to be open-minded, it seems to me that the Office of National Statistics have fiddled the figures in order to get the answer they want - which, inevitably, isn't the one that family historians would like to see. Their estimate of the potential savings from increasing online submissions if the present system is retained seems a gross under-estimate (and, of course, the proportion of people submitting online returns can surely only increase as time goes on - will there be anyone who isn't connected to the Internet in 2031?).
They're also wrong when they suggest that the only way that statistics can be kept up to date is to switch to a new system based on 'administrative data'; after all, once you have a significant proportion of the population submitting information online, it can't be that difficult to ask them (by email, of course) to provide updated information at occasional intervals in between the decennial censuses.
But perhaps the biggest error the ONS has made is in under-estimating the likelihood of honest mistakes, deliberate fabrications, and duplications in the alternative sources that they propose using. Think about it for a moment - surely it's inevitable that the tax authorities simply won't know about some people, and that the departments that hand out benefits will have people on their books who simply don't exist?
For me it all comes back to the reason why names, addresses, and other personal details are collected on the traditional census - it's not for our benefit, but because it allows information to be verified.
Please download the consultation document, read it through (it's not very long), then fill in the online survey. You DON'T need to be a UK resident to complete the survey, nor do you have to supply a telephone number - an email address is sufficient. The questions to focus on are 1, 6, 7, 8 and 9 - the others are primarily aimed at professional users of statistics.
If you agree with the points I've made above, aim to include as many as possible of them in your survey responses, but using your own words. And please invite other family historians to contribute to the survey - feel free to send them a link to this newsletter, even if they're not LostCousins members.
This newsletter was a bit quicker to write than the last one, because I have installed a modification on my computer to disable the Caps Lock key - which I frequently hit by mistake when I type the letter A. Because it involves a minor modification to the Registry it's not for the faint-hearted, though provided you back up the Registry first, the risk should be minimal.
Talking of keys, a lot of people don't know that pressing the Print Screen key on the keyboard copies the current display to the clipboard; even I didn't realise until a member pointed it out that if you hold down the ALT key while you press Print Screen it only copies the current window.
Mind you, I didn't need to know that because 7 or 8 years ago I installed the free Irfanview graphics editor, which runs on all versions of Windows - I use it virtually every day. Irfanview it makes it really easy to crop images such as censuses (nobody wants to waste ink by printing the thick black borders), or entries from parish registers. You can even change the brightness and contrast - I always do this before printing out pages from the 1911 Census.
With Christmas in mind I've been looking out for bargains that might interest LostCousins members, such as the set of 8 Forgotten Voices books that are on offer from The Book People for just £9.99 (not much more than you might have paid for just one of them), or Mapping the First World War which is only £7.99 from The Book People (but gets a much better review at Amazon).
Of course, we don't just run up a big bill for presents at Christmas, a lot of the money we spend goes on food and drink - so I decided to take a close look at Tesco's Price Promise, which aims to ensure that when you buy from Tesco you don't pay more than you would do at their major competitors (Asda, Sainsbury's, and Morrisons). They fulfil their promise by giving you a voucher for the difference if the overall cost of your shopping is more than you would have paid at any one of the other stores.
Where I live there isn't an Asda or Morrisons nearby, which means I don't have the option of going there - so I was delighted to discover that I could buy groceries from Tesco at Asda prices if Asda was cheaper. However, to make the most of this opportunity requires a little forethought, because if one half of your trolley is £5 cheaper at Asda, but the other half is £5 more expensive you won't qualify for any refund. If you have a Tesco receipt handy I suggest you follow this link and check how the price comparison works in practice, because it's quite complicated to explain without seeing an actual example.
However, it's possible to offer some general tips. The first tip is to pay for items that have been reduced for quick sale separately - because when the price comparison is made they'll be treated as if they were standard stock; you might want to do with the same with items that are on special offer (although it's worth checking that they're not even cheaper in another store).
My second tip is to use the Internet to check the prices at other stores while you're wandering around Tesco (they now provide free WiFi in their larger stores, which makes it really easier if you've got a smartphone). My final tip is to monitor the prices of things that you buy regularly and spend a lot of money - not just in Tesco but in the other three stores.
One thing to bear in mind is that the maximum rebate coupon Tesco will hand out is £10, and that the Price Promise doesn't apply unless you've bought at least 10 different items. However the Price Promise does apply to online grocery purchases as well as purchases in store.
At Christmas those of us in the northern hemisphere generally start to think about holidays in the sun. When I was researching for the Genealogy in the Sunshine course I discovered a car rental company that is far cheaper than any of those I've used in the past. Too good to be true? I thought so at first, but they were recommended by someone I trusted, so I tried them out myself - and was highly delighted. For £45 a week I got an almost new Opel Corsa with air-conditioning which didn't have a scratch on it - and I'm glad to say it was still in pristine condition when I handed it back. So don't book a car with anyone else until you've followed this link and checked the prices - I suspect you'll be as amazed as I was!
I was also recommended to a very useful site, Skyscanner, which does an amazing job of finding flights between any two airports - it's not just a timesaver, but a money saver too!
Incidentally, because of a cancellation I still have two places available at Genealogy in the Sunshine, which takes place between 15th-22nd March at the beautiful Rocha Brava Village Resort on Portugal's Algarve coast. Please get in touch right away if you're interested!
This is where I'll post any last minute news, updates, or offers.
Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter - I hope you've enjoyed it!
© Copyright 2013 Peter Calver
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