Newsletter - 27th November 2014

 

 

National Archives misfiles census EXCLUSIVE

Save 50% at Genes Reunited EXCLUSIVE

An amazing weekend!

When 'brick walls' are a good thing

Extra information in parish registers

Advanced search techniques: surnames

Surnames and By-names

Poor law records newly indexed

My Ancestor was.....

Was that 1913 picture 'Photoshopped'?

Adopted ancestors: latest news

Decision time? Big discounts on DNA tests

My AncestorsBETA

Bad news - FamilySearch to discontinue copy images

Mental health records to go online

Ancestry launches Lunacy Patients Admission Registers

Google belatedly follow our example

What a coincidence - or was it?

Sketchbook Mystery

Peter's Tips

Stop Press

 

The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 15th November) 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. Or use a Google search prefixed by 'site:lostcousins.com'
 

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). If one of the links doesn't work this normally indicates that you're using adblocking software - try disabling it temporarily (or else use a different browser, such as Chrome).

 

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!

 

 

National Archives misfiles census EXCLUSIVE

Eagle-eyed LostCousins member Brian made an amazing discovery when browsing the 1861 England & Wales Census - he discovered 6 pages from the 1871 Census that had been erroneously inserted!

 

This isn't a problem related to one census site - they all have the same information - so the problem clearly dates back many years. The result is that well over 100 people who are apparently missing in 1871 are listed twice in 1861 (but with different ages).

 

If you have a Findmypast subscription you can see the misfiled pages (which relate to Wattisfield in Suffolk) here. Well done, Brian!

 

Note: have you made any similar discoveries? If so, do let me know.

 

http://www.awin1.com/cshow.php?s=504555&v=5894&q=235205&r=88963

 

Save 50% at Genes Reunited EXCLUSIVE

From today until Friday 12th December you can save 50% on 12 month Standard subscriptions to Genes Reunited when you click here and use the offer code LCDEC - bringing the price down from £20 to just £10, which is less than you'd pay for a 6 month subscription! (To secure your exclusive discount you'll need to enter the promotional code on the payment page.)

Genes Reunited needs no introduction - originally known as Genes Connected when it launched in early 2003, it was a spin-off from the well-known Friends Reunited site. There are two main ways to use Genes Reunited - you can search for specific relatives, or you can upload your tree as a Gedcom file (almost all family tree programs can export your tree in this format). Other members of the site can't see your tree unless you give them permission - similarly you can't see their trees unless they give you permission.

It's also possible to build a tree on Genes Reunited, though I generally wouldn't recommend relying on ANY online tree as your main repository of data because programs that run on your own computer are generally more powerful and flexible (Family Historian is the program I generally recommend when asked).

All Genes Reunited subscriptions now include 50 free pay-per-view credits, which would normally cost £4.95 - and not only do you get 50 credits with your initial subscription, you get another 50 each time you renew. Genes Reunited offers access to most of the British records that you'd find at findmypast, including the British Newspaper Archive.

Tip: when you meet a cousin at Genes Reunited (or any other site, for that matter), why not invite them to join LostCousins? Connecting with your cousins through more than one site helps to ensure that you don't lose touch.

 

An amazing weekend!

I don't get a lot of time to spend on my own family tree, but as I hinted in my last newsletter the newly-released Devon parish records provided a lure I couldn't resist. My first step was to download colour digital images of the register pages that I'd viewed on my visit to the Record Office in Exeter, almost a decade ago - they're so much easier to interpret than black and white microfilms or photocopies.

 

I then set about finding the records that would verify - or disprove - the parts of my Devon tree that I hadn't had time to check when I was at Exeter. Some of the information had been taken from an online tree, and we all know how prone to error these are - but fortunately it was one of those rare exceptions, and I was able to verify everything that I had included in my own tree, all the way back to my 8G grandparents who married in 1689.

 

Note: 8G is shorthand for great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great. I usually try to avoid abbreviations, but it simply wouldn't have been feasible in this article.

 

At this point I hadn't added any new names to my tree, but what I'd done was absolutely essential - there was no point trying to trace further back, or add branches, if the trunk of the tree was rotten.

 

Now I set about tracing the female lines, something that simply wasn't feasible on my visit to the Record Office - even if I'd spent a month (or a year) there. During three days of intensive research I was able to add to my tree two new 5G grandparents, two new 6G grandparents, six new 7G grandparents, eight new 8G grandparents, five new 9G grandparents, and four new 10G grandparents. That's 27 new direct ancestors (and more brothers and sisters than I'm prepared to count), all in one weekend - absolutely amazing!

 

Tip: you'll find a list of the Devon parishes that are included in the collection, together with the dates of coverage, if you follow this link.

 

When 'brick walls' are a good thing

You might think that after a weekend like that I'd be faced with fewer 'brick walls' than when I started - but genealogy doesn't work like that, because behind every 'brick wall' there are at least two more.

 

In fact, thanks to Findmypast's new Devon records I now have 13 more 'brick walls' than I did a week ago - and I'm absolutely over the moon about it! Every one of these new 'brick walls' represents a new family line and a new ancestral surname, each presenting opportunities to find out more as new records become available. My great-great-great grandfather's Devon tree has truly blossomed!

 

One handy feature of Findmypast is the way that it indicates which records you've previously viewed - and as a result I realised that I was downloading the same register pages two or three times, because there were relatives from different family lines whose baptisms, marriages, or burials were on that page. When you're working online this is a minor inconvenience (if that), but just imagine how tedious it would have been if I'd been staring at a microfiche reader in the Record Office!

 

I'll return to 'brick walls' and how to knock them down in a future article, but it's reminding you now that whilst most baptisms took place a few weeks or months after the child's birth, sometimes they were baptised as teenagers (or even as adults). According to the register my 5G grandfather Joshua Pepperell was 16 years old when he was baptised in 1770 at the church of St Winwalloe Onocaus (what a mouthful!), in East Portlemouth.

 

Tip: once you've found the baptism of an ancestor the next step is to look for their siblings - this helps to pinpoint when the parents married.

 

Extra information in parish registers

There was a discussion on the Society of Genealogists list recently about the extra marks in parish registers - which, because different vicars had different habits, didn't always mean the same thing. For example, a 'P' might indicate a private baptism, but it could also identify a pauper burial.

 

It's much easier to understand the 'code' if you browse the register pages on either side of the event you're interested in - often a pattern will emerge. This simple technique can also help you to interpret difficult handwriting - and, believe me, one of the vicars of Stokenham had appalling handwriting!

 

(Not only was his handwriting bad, his spelling was even worse. It took me quite a while to prove to my own satisfaction that my 8G grandfather Christopher Jeffery had been recorded as 'Custener' when he was baptised in 1666.)

 

Between 1696-1705 the Marriage Duty Act imposed a tax on births, marriages, and deaths (and also on unmarried men who might otherwise have escaped liability); a consequence of this was that records of births had to be kept, and in the parish of Stokenham they were recorded in the baptism register - a handy bonus!

 

You'll also find that occasionally the occupation of a father or groom will be given - it was only after 1813 that the occupation of the father was routinely given in baptism registers, and it wasn't until the introduction of civil registration in 1837 that occupations were given in marriage registers.

 

Note: don't expect all of the information in the register to be transcribed - transcriptions are intended primarily as a finding aid. I was extremely impressed by the quality of the Devon transcriptions - the transcribers did a far better job than I could have done! Some of the records in the collectionwere transcribed by members of Devon Family History Society.

Advanced search techniques: surnames

Sometimes it's really easy to find the baptism or marriage you're looking for - it's when and where you expected to find it.

 

But how do you know it's the right entry? No matter how rare a surname might seem, the chances are that it's a lot more common than you think in the area where you're searching.After all, the reason that a surname like Smith is so common is because it's found in lots of different places, not because there are lots of them in each place (it's unlikely that there would have been more than one blacksmith in a village).

 

For example, in 1841 there were only 843 Calvers in Britain compared to over a quarter of a million Smiths - which means that Smith was 300 times more common. However 456 of the Calvers lived in Suffolk, and whilst the number of Smiths there was still much higher, at 6428 the Smith surname was only 14 times more common.

 

Focus on an individual registration district, such as Thingoe, and now the ratio is just 51 to 229 - still 4 times as many Smiths - but drill down to an individual village within Thingoe RD, such as Great Barton, and now the numbers switch around. In 1841 there were 22 Calvers in Great Barton, but only 3 Smiths!

 

An anecdote from my own experience might help you to remember this crucially important fact. In 1975, after I was made redundant (for the first time) I tried to earn a living by buying and selling at auctions. At small auctions they didn't hand out bidding cards: instead you were expected to shout out your surname when you won a lot. Most of the auctions I went to were in London, and when I shouted out my name the response I'd get was invariably "How do you spell it". But when I went to my first auction in Suffolk the auctioneer's question was very different - it was "What's your initial?".

 

You might also think that a particular forename-surname combination is unlikely to be repeated within a short time-period, but you'd be wrong - in practice it was quite common for parents with the same surname to choose the same forename. In some cases both children may have been named after the same family member, perhaps a grandparent - but it might simply have been a fashion. For example, if you search the GRO birth indexes you'll only find three girls called Florence Minnie Calver, but they were all born between in the few years from 1875-79 (and they're all relatives of mine).

 

I find that the best way to gauge how common a surname is in an area is to start with a wider search - for example, instead of searching for Ebenezer Scrooge I might start by searching for all Scrooges. If the surname is one that's likely to be spelled in a wide variety of different ways depending on the whim of the vicar I'll use wildcards, or tick the box that allows variants (Findmypast's fuzzy matching works pretty well).

 

Surnames and By-names

I've recently finished Surnames, DNA, & Family History by George RedmondsTuri King, and David Hey - I found it compulsive reading, even though none of the surnames used as examples appear in my tree.

 

Many of us have looked up the surnames in our tree in surname dictionaries - some of you may even own a book of surname origins - but it seems that often the compilers didn't appreciate the difference between surnames and by-names (even the Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames has many errors). By-names are rather like Post-It-Notes, temporary labels that apply to individuals, whereas surnames are passed down from father to son, like Y-DNA or the lettering in a stick of seaside rock.

 

What's confusing is that the surnames and by-names that you'll find in late mediaeval records look exactly the same - indeed, surnames generally began as by-names. It's only when you find convincing evidence of a name passing to the next generation that you know it has become a surname.

 

Going through the Devon parish registers I came across a later entry that initially fooled me:

 

© image courtesy of South West Heritage Trust and Parochial Church Council

 

It reads "May 7: Grace the daughter of William Pope de Besson and Deborah his wife was Baptized", and following on from the entry in the marriage register (just 3 months before) which states "William Pope son of Thom Pope de Besson" it seems to suggest noble connections. But further research showed that "Besson" was almost certainly referring to Beeson, one of several hamlets in the parish of Stokenham, and as Thomas was only a husbandman it seems likely that the suffix was intended only to distinguish this particular Pope family from others in the area.

 

Poor Law records newly indexed

3.2 million Poor Law records in the London Metropolitan Archives collection at Ancestry have now been indexed - previously the records were browseable, but not searchable. You can search the Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930 here.

 

This first tranche includes records from central and west London, but I understand that records from south and east London will also be indexed in due course.

 

My Ancestor was.....

This series, published by the Society of Genealogists has always been popular (there are several titles on my bookshelves), but I'm willing to be that the sales will increase significantly now that some of the key titles have been made available in Kindle format.

 

So far only 18 are available, but the number has been increasing steadily - so I suspect that eventually most of them will be available as ebooks. The titles already available are:

 

My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer

My Ancestor was in Service

My Ancestor was a Railway Worker

My Ancestor was an Apprentice

My Ancestors were Thames Watermen

My Ancestor was a Coalminer

My Ancestor was a Freemason

My Ancestor was a Gentleman

My Ancestors were Gypsies

My Ancestor was in the British Army

My Ancestor was in the Royal Navy

My Ancestor was a Royal Marine

My Ancestor was a Woman at War

My Ancestor was a Mormon

My Ancestor Settled in the British West Indies

My Ancestor was Irish

My Ancestor was Scottish

 

Also in the same series is a title that all of us could make good use of!

 

How To Get The Most From Family Pictures

 

Although at £6 or so they're more expensive than most of the Kindle books I write about, they aren't novels that you'll read once and throw away - they are works of reference that you'll go back to time and time again.

 

The links above are for British and Irish readers - most or all of the books are also available from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.com.au

 

Tip: when you visit Amazon please use the links in the newsletter, because even if you end up buying something entirely different we may still receive some commission.

 

Was that 1913 picture 'Photoshopped'?

Most of the readers correctly identified that the photograph which purported to show Beverley's great-grandfather hobnobbing with George V was a fake - two photographs had been merged together, perhaps using a similar technique to the one which a few years later produced the photos of fairies that memorably fooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

Several of you noticed that the lighting was inconsistent, but the evidence that Beverley herself found was the most damning of the lot - she uncovered the original photo, which you can see here.

 

Tip: until Christmas you can save 20% on professional photo editing at Repixl using the exclusive offer code I've arranged - just follow this link. And if you're in the UK they'll produce high-quality photographic prints at a very reasonable price - just £1.49 (plus postage) for a massive 10" by 8" print on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper.

 

Adopted ancestors: latest news

In early October I reported that the Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons Group, co-ordinated by LostCousins member Frances, had secured a change in the law that would allow relatives of adopted persons to obtain information that would identify the natural parents. Adoptees have, for some years, been able to obtain this information themselves, but their descendants have been left in limbo.

 

On the day my article was published the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, issued regulations which, when they came into force at the end of the month, should have ended the long wait for information - but according to Frances the agencies who act as gatekeepers are shilly-shallying, saying that they need further guidance from government before acting.

 

Yesterday I had an opportunity to speak to Mrs Morgan at a function I was attending, and raised with her the concerns that Frances had expressed to me. I can't promise that action will follow but she was certainly familiar with the issue, even though it had been handled by one of her junior ministers, and took a keen interest in what I had to say.

 

Note: I was going to show you a 'selfie' of me with the Education Secretary - but I realised that, after reading the previous article, you'd probably assume it was faked....

 

https://affiliate.familytreedna.com/media/banners/PaperTrail_Animated468_60.gif

 

Decision time? Big discounts on DNA tests

When the paper trail lets us down, which it inevitably does at various points in our researches, DNA testing may be the only answer. Of course, it isn't the answer to every problem, but provided you're prepared to spend a little time thinking it through it's amazing how many problems can be solved - maybe not immediately, but over time.

 

Family Tree DNA are the testing company that I use - and not just because they're cheap (although it has to be an important factor, since DNA tests cost a lot more than a birth certificate). The fact is, over the years they've been the choice of most serious family historians - which means that when you connect with someone through their site it's much more likely that you'll be able to identify your common ancestors. Simply knowing that you're related to someone isn't usually enough.

 

Right now you can save at least $10 on all the key tests offered by Family Tree DNA. If you follow this link you can save $40 on a 37-marker Y-DNA test, bringing the cost down to just $129 - less than half the price that some firms are charging (especially here in Britain). Or save $10 on a Family Finder test, now only $89.

 

If you want to refresh your memory on how DNA testing can help you, these links to articles I've written will help enormously:

 

DNA - what's it all about?

Find your DNA partners

When to use DNA tests

Using DNA to knock down 'brick walls'

LostCousins member solves dustbin baby mystery with DNA test

 

When you follow those links you'll usually find more than one article that's relevant. If after you've read the articles you're still in need of advice, by all means get in touch - that's what I'm here for.

 

My AncestorsBETA

More and more members have been writing to say how useful they've found the new feature - simply click the grey arrow to check the census references you've entered.

 

For example, here's the entry from my page showing my great-grandparents and their family in 1881 - try clicking one of the grey arrows:

 


Calver, John

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1842

B M D

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

8

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, Emily

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1842

B M D

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

9

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, George William

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1866

B - -

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

Blood relative

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, Alice

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1868

B M -

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

Blood relative

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, Ernest Albert

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1873

B - -

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

Blood relative

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, Florence Minnie

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1875

B M -

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

Blood relative

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, Harry John Buxton

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1877

B M D

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

4

Click to add another member of this household

Calver, Elizabeth

http://lostcousins.com/images/icon_tick_blue.gif

1879

B - -

Click to check the references against the census 1354/34/4

England & Wales 1881

Blood relative

Click to add another member of this household

 

(Unfortunately this feature isn't available for the Scotland, US and Canada censuses - this is a limitation of the websites which host those censuses.)

 

Alan was particularly effusive in his praise for this new feature:

 

"Having checked all my household entries using the links it flagged up several issues most of which were typos. The other main issue was with the 1841 Census, because I had used Ancestry to enter the data on a few of the entries the folio was one too many which I have corrected and advised Ancestry accordingly.

 

"This is a really useful addition to your website and I would urge all members to check their entries, which is the only way to be confident in matching with others. Furthermore because my family tree was substantially researched on Ancestry I have viewed the census data on Findmypast for my LostCousins entries which as you know are always available even if you do not hold a current subscription.

 

"Many thanks again for your excellent work."

 

Bad news - FamilySearch to discontinue copy images

Three weeks ago I reminded readers that it was possible to obtain free digital copies of images from microfilms held by FamilySearch in their massive library in Salt Lake City.

 

When I read that FamilySearch were to discontinue their photo-duplication services I at first assumed that they were talking about paper copies - but when I studied the announcement more closely I realised that it applies to digital copies too.

 

You've got until 5th December to order images - after that you'll have to go to your nearest Family History Centre and, if they don't already hold a copy of the microfilm, pay for them to get It in. The cost is now £7.50 per film which could still be very good value if there are lots of entries of interest.

 

FamilySearch state that this change is being made because more and more images are becoming available online, either at their own site, or at partner sites (such as Ancestry or Findmypast). You can find out more here.

 

Mental health records to go online

The Wellcome Library is funding the digitisation of 800,000 pages relating to psychiatric hospitals in the UK. The hospitals included in the project are: York Retreat, St Luke's Woodside Hospital, Crichton Royal Hospital, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, and the Camberwell House asylum.

 

The records will be released in stages over the next two years - I'll let you know when the first records are online.

Ancestry launches Lunacy Patients Admission Registers

A couple of days ago Ancestry.co.uk made available 842,000 records from admission registers for both public and private asylums covering the period 1846-1912. The information seems to be limited to name, asylum, admission date and discharge date but this information might possibly lead to more detailed records - for example in the project described above. You can search the new records here.

 

Google belatedly follow our example

Last year Google introduced a feature that LostCousins has had for a decade - the opportunity to decide what happens to your data after you die.

 

And yet, even though LostCousins has had this feature for 10 years, 90% of members haven't provided the email address of the person they'd like to take over their account when the time comes. Are you one of them? Check out your My Details page now!

 

What a coincidence - or was it?

This week twin brothers in Birmingham became fathers on the same day, in the same hospital. The births were just two hours apart, and both babies were boys (see this BBC article for more details). According to a spokesman for Ladbrokes, a large bookmaker, the odds against this happening were at least 150,000 to 1 against. I assume he wasn't being serious - the true odds must be closer to 100 to 1 - but I suppose it helps to get publicity.

 

The fact is, coincidences happen all the time - what would be really amazing is if there were no coincidences! David Hand, who has twice served as President of the Royal Statistical Society, argues that we're each certain to experience more than one once-in-a-lifetime event in our lifetimes. According to his book, The Improbability Principle (currently sitting on my Kindle), there are five fundamental laws which intertwine to make extraordinarily impossible events commonplace.

 

It's important for family historians to have a good understanding of probability because we're constantly having to make judgements based on inadequate - and sometimes contradictory - information. But if we get it wrong we could find ourselves barking up the wrong tree!

 

 

Sketchbook Mystery

With Christmas coming up it's time to feature a rather unusual mystery, one that has inspired a rather unusual book, and could keep you busy through those cold winter days.

 

LostCousins member John Makin and his wife Alice discovered a sketchbook dating from the first half of the 20th century - and they decided to try to identify the artist. The first sketches dated from 1925, and had been made on the voyage of the Balmoral Castle to South Africa in December of that year - so John and Alice started with a list of the 225 passengers on that ship.

 

They've now published a delightful little book which features the sketches. You can get it through Amazon or direct from John's website, which also has a lot more information. Will you be able to help them solve the mystery?

 

Peter's Tips

If you're a subscriber to Which?, the magazine of the Consumers' Association, you may have noticed a familiar name at the end of the long list of impressive candidates for election to the Council of Trustees. There are so many strong candidates that I'm not going to ask you to vote for me - instead I suggest you read through what each has to offer and make up your own mind about who will do the best job.

 

When I was at the Which? Annual General Meeting last week I met Peter Vicary-Smith, who started his job as Chief Executive of Which? in 2004, just a few months after LostCousins started. We don't just have a forename in common - he also writes a column in Which? magazine that might well have been called Peter's Tips (had I not got there first!).

 

Whereas many charities have a trading arm that raises money by carrying out activities that are only loosely related to the aim of the charity (such as selling Christmas cards and gifts), the Consumers' Association and Which? both fight on behalf of consumers - which means you and me. All of the profits from Which? are paid to the charity, so when you subscribe to one of the magazines or services that Which? offers you're helping to finance campaigns on key issues that affect most of us.

 

Last week I made my first visit to the Aldi store that opened recently in Bishop's Stortford. For some time I've been reading (in Which?, of course) that some of the Aldi products are every bit as good as the big brands, so I picked up some laundry liquid and also their washing up liquid. Overall the prices did seem to be cheaper than at Tesco, where I do most of my shopping - but the range is very limited, and most of the products I buy from Tesco are on special offer (after a while you get to know which items regularly feature in BOGOF and twofer promotions).

 

What I enjoy most, however, is picking up bargains from the reductions shelves - not early in the day, when the discount might be only 10%, but after the final reductions have been made. In my local store this typically happens around 7.30pm, and when you pay 85% less than the original price it's possible to afford some little treats that might not otherwise fit the budget. For example, on Friday I bought fresh raspberries for 30p a punnet, reduced from £2; on Monday I bought a pack of my favourite sesame-seeded bagels for just 16p, reduced from £1.60

 

Sometimes discount offers and points bonuses also apply to reduced items. For example, Tesco have a wide range of pre-packed meat and fish that sells for £4 a pack, 2 for £7, or 3 for £10 - and it's implemented by giving a discount of £1 on 2 items and £2 on 3 items from the range, irrespective of the price actually paid. So when on Friday I bought three packs of chicken fillets that had been reduced from £4 to £1 each the net price I paid was £1 for the lot! Naturally the chicken went into the freezer - which seems to be the best place for it, judging from this recent article in the Daily Mail.

 

Have you noticed how often these days people attempt to justify scandalously high prices by saying things like "it's only the price of a latte". As someone who drinks freshly-brewed coffee every morning (typical cost 10p for a large mug) I find it really hard to understand why so many people are prepared to fork out £2 or more for a cup of coffee from Costa or Starbucks when they're out and about, yet drink instant at home.

 

I first started brewing coffee in my teens when my aunt gave me a Cona coffee maker - it looked like a piece of laboratory equipment, and I was always petrified that I was going to break it. At first I would grind the coffee myself - by hand - but over the years I realised that vacuum-packed ground coffee tastes just as good, provided it's resealed after opening and kept in the fridge or freezer.

 

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, which means tomorrow is Black Friday. Even in the UK retailers are announcing sales, and in some cases they've already started - for example, Amazon are selling their HDX range of Kindle tablets at £100 off (which makes the cheapest in the range half price). HDX means that the resolution is higher than on an HD TV, 1920 x 1200 - not bad for a 7in screen!

 

It'll soon be time to time to send out Christmas cards. Back in the 1960s it cost just 3d (1.25p in decimal currency) to send a letter, but now itís over 10/6d (53p) for 2nd Class. Fortunately I've still got a supply of 2nd Class stamps which I bought a few years ago for little more than 30p - probably one of my best investments - and hopefully some of you will have followed my advice to stock up ahead of the big increase (from 36p to 50p) in 2012.

 

Of course, for the rest of the year most of my communication is by email - but Christmas is special.

 

Stop Press

Findmypast have added over 13 million Scottish births, baptisms, and marriages from the mid-16th century to the first half of the 20th century.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter - I hope you find it useful.

 

Description: Description: peter_signature

 

Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins

 

© Copyright 2014 Peter Calver

 

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