Newsletter - 12th December 2014
Family Historian version 6 JUST RELEASED
Win a Findmypast World subscription! EXCLUSIVE
Save 20% on photo restoration EXCLUSIVE OFFER
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly.
To access the previous newsletter (dated 5th December) 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'
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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!
Family Historian version 6 JUST RELEASED
The latest version of Family Historian, perhaps the most powerful family tree program in the world, was †released yesterday - and whilst I'm not currently in a position to review the program because (for purely historical reasons) I don't use Family Historian for my own tree, you can take a look at it yourself by downloading the trial version, which gives you 30 days to find out whether it's what you're looking for.
If you do decide to buy Family Historian after trying it out you can purchase a licence from the Family Historian website, and you'll see that there are discounts when you buy multiple licences. Alternatively, for just a little more you can buy a boxed version on CD ROM from Amazon.co.uk (using that link will support LostCousins), or My History. Note that because the program has only just been released, neither had copies in stock at the time of writing.
Family Historian is a particularly good choice if you have British ancestry because it's one of the few family tree programs written here in Britain. I met Simon Orde, the creator of this powerful program, on the day the LostCousins website opened in 2004 - my only regret is that I didn't meet him 2 years earlier, when I was looking for some family tree software!
Tip: you can also win a copy of Family Historian in my Christmas Competition - see below.
Win a Findmypast World subscription! EXCLUSIVE
What gift would you most like in your stocking on Christmas morning?
I bet that for a lot of you a subscription to Findmypast would be high on the list - so I'm delighted to announce that Findmypast.co.uk have generously donated a World subscription (worth almost £130) as the main prize in this year's LostCousins Christmas Competition - see the next article for full details. This will allow you 12 months unlimited access to billions of records and newspaper articles from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.
Note: if you're already a Findmypast subscriber you can delay the start of the prize subscription until your existing subscription runs out.
There are some excellent prizes in this year's competition, and the great thing about it is that to win, you only have to do what comes naturally - search for your 'lost cousins'.
Every direct ancestor or blood relative you enter on your My Ancestors page between now and midnight (London time) on Christmas Eve represents an entry in the competition. Shortly after midnight I'll pick a relative at random from all those entered during the period of the competition, and the lucky member will win this year's First Prize, a World subscription generously donated by Findmypast.
I'll then pick a second relative at random - another lucky member will win the Second Prize, a copy of Family Historian version 6, the newest and best family tree program, generously donated by Simon Orde, the creator of Family Historian.
Finally, I'll pick 10 more relatives at random - and 10 lucky members will get a free LostCousins subscription worth up to £12.50
Warning: you'll only qualify for the prize if your entry is correct, including the census references; make sure you click the button alongside the head of each household - it takes only a second or two to verify the census references for relatives living in England, Wales, or Ireland.
Even if you don't win one of these prizes, there's a far greater reward at stake - you could find a 'lost cousin'. Every single relative you enter is a potential link to another researcher who shares your ancestry - and whenever you click the Search button the LostCousins computer will compare every single entry you've made against the millions of entries made by other members!
The more relatives you enter on your My Ancestors page between now and Christmas, the better your chance of winning one of the fantastic prizes on offer. But what if you've already entered all your relatives?
My advice is to think again - because, if you have mostly British ancestry, thousands of your relatives would have been recorded on the 1881 Census, and there are only a handful of LostCousins members who have entered more than a thousand (from that census alone). If you're reading this then you probably aren't one of them.
Who are all these missing relatives? They're the brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins of your direct ancestors - in other words, the very people from whom most of your 'lost cousins' are descended. To track down your ancestors' 1st cousins you'll need to go back two generations, to their grandparents, then work forwards; to track down their 2nd cousins you'll need to go back a generation further, to their great-grandparents.
If you've ever puzzled over the notation in your relatives' army files you'll be delighted to heard that the excellent Long, Long Trail website, which offers a wealth of information about the British Army in WW1,† also has a very useful guide to common military abbreviations† which you'll find here.
In case you're wondering, ARS stands for 'Advanced Regulating Station', whilst 'LO' means 'Liaison Officer'.
When I was reading Charles Spencer's† Killers of the King, on the English Civil War and its aftermath, it became apparent that the Civil War wasn't just about Roundheads and Cavaliers, nor were there just two sides to the argument - there all sorts of religious disagreements that complicated matters.
After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Parliament passed several acts designed to discourage non-conformist ministers and their congregations, and in so doing prevent further conflict.† One of which was the strangely-named Five Mile Act, which was designed to hinder the growth of non-conformity by preventing dissenting ministers from coming within five miles of any incorporated borough that returned members of parliament, or any parish where they had been the minister or had preached since 1660. Offenders could be fined £40 - an immense sum in those days - or imprisoned for 6 months.
Other acts passed around this time included the Conventicle Acts of 1664 and 1669, which outlawed religious assemblies of more than 5 people unless they were under the auspices of the Church of England, and imposed a fine of 5s for a first offence and 10s for a second offence (the preacher involved was subject to fines of 20s and 40s).
Even after the Glorious Revolution in 1688, which brought William of Orange to the throne and resulted in the passing of the Toleration Act of 1689, there were still some restrictions - for example it was difficult for dissenting ministers to become teachers, even if they set up their own schools, and after the Schism Act of 1714 it became illegal for them to teach. Whilst this act was repealed in 1719, it wasn't until 1812 that the Five Mile Act and the Conventicle Acts were repealed.
In the circumstances it's not surprising that few records exist of the dissenting congregations from the later 17th and early 18th centuries. For example, some of my Essex ancestors were baptised at the Congregational Chapel at Coggeshall, but whilst the chapel was opened in 1672, the earliest surviving baptism entries are from the mid-18th century.
Sometimes you'll find mentions of dissenters in the parish registers - for example, the excellent Friends of Devon's Archives website mentions that the registers for Stokenham include a record of some of the baptisms and burials at the dissenting chapel at Ford (which was just over the boundary in the next parish).
At the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa there's a project to make available online the parish registers of the† Diocese of St Helena, which not only includes the island of St Helena, but also Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island.
Included amongst the entries already digitised is the burial of Napoleon Bonaparte, which is on page 6 of the register you'll find here.
The registers cover the period 1680-1986 - so far about half of the records have been digitised. (Many thanks to Chris for this tip.)
On the same website I found a list of parish registers for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa covering the period 1850-2004 which are available on DVD, but also viewable free here, on the FamilySearch website. This got me wondering what other South African records are available at Family Search - and it turns out that there are quite a few collections, listed here.
Note: the Anglican Church of Southern Africa registers are listed there as 'Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004'.
There was a guide to researching in South Africa on the Ancestry24 site before it closed down - fortunately there is an archived copy that you can access if you follow the link on the Help & Advice page at the LostCousins site. There is no sign of the Ancestry24 collections appearing on the Ancestry site as was once mooted.
Over 1.6 million cemetery records previously only available on microfiche or in printed form have been released by Ancestry - you can search them here. According to Ancestry they cover the period 1800-2007, but I found a few entries from 2008. (Thanks to Colyn in Australia for this news.)
Tip: some apparently later entries have been mistranscribed - where only a death date and age at death is given the death date has sometimes been treated as the date birth. For example, Daphne Merle Marks, who passed away on her 44th birthday in 1970, is shown as having been born in 1970 and having died in 2014. I suspect that some of the earlier entries suffer from the same problem, but as yet I haven't had time to check.
Today Findmypast have added over 31 million England & Wales marriage register entries which were transcribed by volunteers on behalf FamilySearch. Even though these records have been available at FamilySearch for some years, it's inevitable that researchers will discover records they've previously missed.
Unfortunately there is no list that I can find at either Findmypast or FamilySearch showing which parishes are included, or the periods of coverage for individual parishes. However if you type the name of the parish into the Place box on the search form you'll soon find out whether there are any records.
None of the records I looked at gave the name of the parish church, however some parishes may appear under more than one name. For example, Great Barton in Suffolk is recorded as 'Great Barton', 'Great Barton Parish' and 'Parish of Great Barton', which no doubt reflects the fact that these records were collected at different times by different volunteers. Fortunately the matching algorithm that works as you type should pick up all of the variations, and you can choose to search for any or all of them.
Tip: if you're searching for marriages in a particular parish you're less likely to be disappointed at Findmypast than at FamilySearch because you'll know before you click the Search button if there are no records from that parish in the collection. For example, if you search the equivalent collection at FamilySearch for marriages at Salcombe, Devon you'll get over 700,000 results, but none of them relate to Salcombe.
There is one circumstance in which searching at FamilySearch may work out better - if you're looking for an ancestor who didn't marry in their own parish you can search using a birthplace, something that isn't currently an option at Findmypast.
Note: even though someone may be described as 'of St James Bury St Edmunds' in a marriage record it doesn't necessarily mean that they were born/baptised there.
There aren't very many Welsh marriages in this new collection - Findmypast quote just 131,000. Fortunately, for those of you who want to "keep up with the Jones's", Findmypast already has a massive collection of parish records: the Wales Collection includes millions of baptisms, marriages, and burials from most parts of the principality, and they're not just transcriptions - you can also view the register page.
My aim in writing this newsletter is to create something that family historians will want to read all the way through† - because I know that a lot of the discoveries I make in my research turn up in the most unexpected places.
If you look down the list of contents and only read the articles that seem to be of interest you could miss some hidden gems - I don't give every piece of news an article of its own because then the contents list would be even longer than it already is!
Tip: If you do need to find something in a past newsletter use a Google search prefixed by 'site:lostcousins.com' - it's what I do when someone asks me to find an article, so why not cut out the middle man?
Save 20% on photo restoration EXCLUSIVE OFFER
Although I've written about this offer in my last two newsletters it has become apparent that quite a few of you missed it, because it wasn't in the contents list (see previous article). Fortunately for you, because it's Christmas I'm going to give you another chance!
Until Christmas Day you can save 20% on professional photo editing at Repixl using the exclusive offer 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.
Tip: if you're thinking of giving prints of restored photos to your relatives for Christmas get your orders for restoration in right away!
Next year there will be an exhibition at the Museum of London of the work of Christina Broom, widely considered to be the UKís first female press photographer. You can see some examples of her work here.
I spotted this postcard on eBay recently - it shows the scene of a road accident which occurred in Hook, Hampshire in 1914:
It seemed so strange for a road accident to be commemorated by a picture postcard that I decided to find out whether there were any newspaper reports of the accident. Searching at the British Newspaper Archive I couldn't find anything in the Hampshire or London papers - but eventually I turned up this article in the Aberdeen Journal of Saturday 14th February 1914:
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD
I'm still struggling to understand why a photograph of a fatal road accident would be turned into a postcard - have you ever come across anything like this in your researches?
World's fattest man dies at 44
Perhaps we have a morbid fascination with death - soon after I discovered that postcard my wife pointed out this news article about the death last week of the fattest man in the world.
Coincidentally, on the same day that the Daily Telegraph reported the death of Keith Martin, the BBC News website reported that being obese can cut up to 8 years of your life, and lead to decades of ill health. That settles it - as soon as I finish writing this newsletter I'm going to do my exercises!
Do you know how to work out what your relationship is to your cousins? Whilst there are charts available, and some family tree programs will do the calculation for you, I believe every family historian can benefit from doing what I do, and simply counting the generations.
Here's how it works:
(1) Identify your most recent common ancestor by tracing backwards on the line which share;
(2) Count the number of generations from yourself to the common ancestor, eg from you to your great-grandfather is 3 generation;
(3) Count the number of generations from your cousin to the common ancestor;
(4) Take the smaller of the two numbers and subtract 1 - if the answer is 6 then you are 6th cousins;
(5) Calculate the difference between the two numbers - this tells you how many times removed you are.
It's really, really easy - if you can count then you can work it out. And it's so much more meaningful when you do it yourself!
On Tuesday Scotlandspeople released the Valuation Rolls for 1925 - you can find out more about Valuation Rolls here.
Findmypast have added 700,000 records to their Irish Petty Sessions collection, which is now complete - including all surviving records, an amazing 22 million of them, from 1828-1914. You can read more about the final release here.
From 1st January I'm either going to have to stop selling subscriptions to members who live in Ireland or in any other EU country (apart from the UK), or increase the cost by at least 20%.
Why? Because under new rules designed to catch companies like Amazon which set up in countries with low VAT rates I'm going to have to charge you VAT, even though the income that LostCousins receives is far below the VAT threshold in the UK.
If you live anywhere in the EU other than the UK, you might want to buy a LostCousins subscription now. If you want to save even more, by buying a subscription that last 2 years use the code VATFREE
The change I mentioned in the previous paragraph is also going to affect the cost of ebooks. Right now Amazon only charges 3% VAT on Kindle books, because that's the rate in Luxembourg - in future the rate will be the one that applies in the country where you live (20% in the case of the UK).
Even if Amazon don't increase their prices, authors are going to lose out - either because their share of the selling price goes down, or because less copies are sold because of the price increase. This probably doesn't matter if your name is JK Rowling, but for writers of genealogical mysteries such as Steve Robinson, Nathan Dylan Goodwin, and Stephen Molyneux it could make a big difference.
It's also going to affect the Society of Genealogists, whose My Ancestors Was.... series I wrote about at the end of last month (you'll find links to all the books here), and indeed if Amazon put the prices up it's going to affect every Kindle book sold in the EU (unless you happen to live in Luxembourg).
Here are links to all the genealogical mysteries written by the three authors I mentioned above - perhaps now would be a good time to fill in any gaps in your collection?
I used to have an Amazon credit card which gave me 1% back in Amazon vouchers on everything I spent (2% if I bought from Amazon).
When this offer ended I went to the Which? website to see what other cards they recommended - and, as I clear my credit card balance every month, the American Express Platinum Cashback Card comes out on top. Although there's a fee of £25 a year, the first year's fee can soon be recovered, because for the first three months you get an amazing 5% cashback (on up to £2500 of purchases); after that it's 1.25%, which is still pretty generous.
I did, of course, take a look at the Santander 1-2-3 card, but this also has an annual fee, and I donít spend anything in department stores, or very much on fuel or fares. I don't even spend that much in supermarkets (too canny!).
One of the other bonuses of the Amex card is the £25 bonus you can earn by recommending it to a friend (limit 5 per calendar year). So if you think the American Express Platinum Cashback Card might be the best choice for you, drop me a line so that I can 'refer' you!
The exclusive Genes Reunited offer that I arranged expires today - but it was so successful that Genes Reunited have a new offer, which runs until midnight (London time) on 24th December and gives a 50% discount on ALL subscriptions when you click here and use the code 12DAYS
Note: this offer isn't available to existing Genes Reunited subscribers; also your subscription will renew automatically at the full price unless you change the settings on the Subscription Details page. Please bear in mind that the Platinum subscription offers only a subset of the records available at Findmypast - it probably isn't suitable for an experienced researcher like you.
Finally, don't forget that the Family Tree DNA discount offer finishes at the end of this month. Whilst you don't have to return your sample(s) before the end of the month, you do need to place your order and pay if you want to benefit from the discounts. And do please use the link above if you want LostCousins to benefit!
Friday: as foreshadowed in previous newsletters, you can now search England & Wales wills from 1858 onwards online.
Tuesday: make triple-savings on wine for Christmas see my forum post (you don't need to be a member of the forum).
I'll be back in touch before the end of the month - in the meantime, please do your very best to win the Christmas Competition!
© Copyright 2014 Peter Calver
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