Newsletter - 10 November 2011



FREE Great War records at

Badges of Honour

FREE Canadian military records at

Military records at findmypast

Lowest ever subscriptions at findmypast

They really were free!

GRO certificate prices under scrutiny?

Vandals at it again

PayPal problem

Cousins and in-laws (continued)

It's official! Cheshire records at findmypast

The 'lost cousins' under your nose

Family Historian v5 announced

Genealogists for Families

Peter's Tips


About this newsletter

This is a Special Edition of the LostCousins newsletter, which is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 4 November 2011) please 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). When you click on a link a new browser window or tab will open so that you don’t lose your place in the newsletter - if nothing seems to happen then you probably need to enable pop-ups in your browser.


To go to the main LostCousins website click the logo at the top of this newsletter.


FREE Great War records at

Until 11.59pm (London time) on Sunday 13th November you can access many of Ancestry's World War 1 records completely free of charge, although you'll need to register at the site if you haven't already done so. The records available free are (click the link to go to the relevant Search page):


British Army WWI Service Records

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards

British Army WWI Pension Records


Unfortunately Ancestry's latest Great War release, the Silver War Badge records, are not included in this offer. See below for more information about these 'Badges of Honour'.


Trace your family's war heros!


Badges of Honour

If you watched the second series of Downton Abbey you'll have seen young men who weren't in the Army being booed and taunted. A white feather, the traditional symbol of cowardice, was often presented to those who were believed to be failing to do their duty.


King George V authorised the Silver War Badge in September 1916, and almost half of the 2 million military personnel who were discharged because of injury or illness applied for this honour, including many from the British Empire.


Click here to go direct to the Search page. Although you won't be able to see the records themselves, searching is free - I found my 2nd cousin twice removed.


Note: as LostCousins member Graham in Australia reminded me, about 70% of World War 1 army service records were lost or destroyed in World War 2. It's therefore likely that, for many of the recipients, the Silver Badge records are the only surviving documentation of their service. Information usually includes Name, Service Number, Unit, Rank at discharge, Age at discharge, Cause of discharge, and whether the individual served overseas.


FREE Canadian Military records at

Ancestry Canada are also providing free access to their military records until November 13th, but you'll probably find it simpler to access them through the UK site using the following links:


Canada - World War 1 Attestation Papers

Canada, Militia and Defence Forces Lists, 1832, 1863-1939

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919

Canada, CEF Burial Registers, First World War, 1914-1919


The WW1 Attestation Papers are also currently free at Library & Archives Canada, but this may not continue indefinitely as I believe they have funding issues.


Military records at findmypast

There are a LOT of military datasets at findmypast. The British Army Service Records 1760-1915 (otherwise known as the Chelsea Pensioner Records) are the most important because they cover such a long time period, and include over 1.5 million records and nearly 10 million images. Click here to see a full list of the military datasets.



Lowest ever subscriptions at findmypast ENDS SOON

The EXCLUSIVE offer announced in my last newsletter is continuing, but only until 11.59pm (London time) on Monday 21st November. Not only are the discounted rates for FULL subscriptions the lowest that findmypast have ever charged - you'll save over £50 compared to 2009 prices, even though there are now many more records on offer - you'll also get a discount when your subscription comes up for renewal next year (full details of the Loyalty Discount can be found here).


No doubt findmypast would love you to take out a 6 month subscription, because they work out more expensive, but my advice is to take out a 12 month subscription if you can afford it (in effect you get 2 1/2 months free, or 3 1/2 months free when you also take advantage of the LostCousins code).


Make sure you get the discount - the screenshot below shows the prices you should be paying. And make sure you qualify for a free LostCousins subscription (worth up to £12.50) by clicking on the screenshot below or on this text link immediately before you subscribe, and typing the Promotional Code COUSINS11X in the box at the left. You may need to register or log-in at findmypast before you can enter the code.


To claim your free LostCousins subscription - which will run for the same period as your findmypast subscription - send me a copy of the email receipt that you receive from them. If you are already a LostCousins subscriber I'll extend the expiry date by 6 or 12 months.


Note: your LostCousins subscription will be paid for by the commission we receive from findmypast - that's why it's important that you click the link above to go to the findmypast site. These offers do not apply if you are renewing an existing subscription at findmypast without a break (but you'll get your Loyalty Discount instead).


They really were free!

Things change quickly in the family history world: two of the resources that I wrote about in my last newsletter a week ago were definitely free at the time I wrote the articles on Thursday and Friday (I viewed several records to check), but were no longer free by Monday. Indeed, Essex Records Office had started charging for their online registers by last Friday afternoon - it's true that when I phoned them a few hours earlier I was told it was imminent, but I really didn't expect things to change quite that quickly.


The other resource that is no longer free is the records of Military Nurses at the National Archives. They were free at launch on Friday, but by Monday morning TNA were charging £3.50 for each record through their Documents Online service.


Yet another reason to read your LostCousins newsletters without delay!


Tip: if you want to be one of the first to receive my newsletter, make sure you log-in to your account at LostCousins from time to time - members who have logged-in recently are at the top of the mailing list.


GRO certificate prices under scrutiny?

Last week I had a brief opportunity to speak to Theresa May , the Home Secretary, about the cost of birth, marriage, and death certificates (the General Register Office is part of the Identity & Passport Service, which comes under the Home Office). When I mentioned that despite a 30% increase in price the income from certificates in 2010/11 was lower than in the previous year she raised her eyebrows - and she didn't disagree when I suggested that if raising the price resulted in a lower income, perhaps what they ought to have done was lower the prices instead.


I'm currently waiting for information that I've recently requested from the GRO under the Freedom of Information Act, and when I receive this I shall write to Damian Green, who is the junior Minister whose portfolio includes the GRO.


Vandals at it again

Criminals ripped 14 brass plaques from Carshalton War Memorial and are believed to have sold them as scrap for around £50 (see the report on the Press Association website).


Metal theft is an increasing problem, with railway commuters often affected by stolen power lines. Lord Jenkin (formerly Patrick Jenkin) has spoken out about this epidemic in the House of Lords, and there is a Private Member's Bill being debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday sponsored by Graham Jones MP.


However, Private Member's Bills are hardly ever passed unless the Government decides to support them, so I'd urge you to join me in signing this e-petition which calls on the Government to give their backing.


PayPal problem

You may have noticed that I recently added PayPal as a subscription payment option, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work. Hopefully the problem will be resolved soon, but if you want to purchase or renew a LostCousins subscription in the meantime you can use Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. All online payments are handled by WorldPay who also look after the GRO - that's why I chose them. This means I never see your card details, nor are they retained on file by WorldPay.


If you have a UK bank account you can also pay by cheque, in which case your subscription will commence either when I receive your cheque, or when your existing subscription expires, whichever is later (either way you'll get a full 12 months from that date).


Tip: you can save 75% on your spouse's subscription, because a joint subscription costs just 25% more than a single subscription. To link your spouse's account to your own simply enter their personal code in the appropriate box on your My Details page - you'll then be offered the choice of a single or joint subscription when you go to the Subscribe page.


Cousins and in-laws (continued)

The subject of half-cousins and double cousins certainly created a lot of interest, and most people who wrote to me find the terms useful. Of course, you can't really be a half-cousin any more than you can be half pregnant, but it is a handy way to describe relatives who share only half as many genes as normal.


A number of people echoed the occurrence in my own family tree of two brothers marrying two sisters, but Colyn in Australia went one better - in her husband's family tree there are three sisters who married three brothers! Jemima Harpham married George Cannon in 1902, Lily Harpham married William Cannon in 1904, and Lucy Harpham married Enoch Cannon in 1909 - if you search at findmypast you'll find that these are the only three Harpham-Cannon marriages since 1837.


I was impressed - and then she told me that it had happened all over again, though because the people concerned are still living I can't give you their names. I find it absolutely amazing that history should have repeated itself in the same family, albeit 70 or 80 years later.


Another intriguing story came from Sharron, who told me: "in Hackney in 1896 Walter George Morris married Ada Emily Wilson. In 1909, Ada's widowed father John Augustus Wilson married Walter's older sister Emma Catherine Morris.  Walter's sister therefore became both his mother-in-law and his wife's step-mother!


If that isn't complicated enough she then sent me a link to a YouTube rendition by Ray Stevens of I'm My Own Grandpa - which thankfully includes a stage by stage diagram of the family tree of the imaginary subject. You might well feel you need a diagram when I tell you about Amanda's family tree - and I'll need a deep breath before I start! Here goes....


Amanda's great grandparents were 1st cousins - they shared the same grandparents. One had a son and the other had a daughter who, of course, were 2nd cousins to each other. Those cousins obviously got on well because when they were old enough they married, and Amanda's father was born. With me so far?


Both of the great-grandparents were widowed, and they followed in the steps of their children by marrying each other - and as Amanda said "This left my grandparents in the unusual position of being simultaneously second cousins, step-brother and sister, and husband and wife. And created enormous difficulty for us descendants trying to explain our double relationships to each other!"


Finally, I had an email from Mike who tells me that the French use the same term (beau-père) for both father-in-law and step-father - so I wonder whether the similarly confusing English usage of the term father-in-law (discussed in my last newsletter) originates from the same source?


It's official! Cheshire records at findmypast

Three weeks ago I broke the news that Cheshire parish records, workhouse registers, and electoral rolls had turned up on the findmypast website, although they were only accessible through a link that I'd be sent by an eagle-eyed LostCousins member. Today, at long last, findmypast officially announced the release and posted a press release on their website.


Among the 10 million records you'll also find Non-Conformist and Roman Catholic records, and Marriage Bonds and Allegations. You'll find more details about the Cheshire Collection here.


The 'lost cousins' under your nose

When LostCousins member Kate was researching her mother's family recently she came across a marriage that involved a surname that seemed familiar - it was the same as the name of one of her son's friends. Guess what? A little bit of research later, and she'd managed to prove that "My son's friend is the 4th

cousin, 4 times removed of the wife of the 1st cousin, 3 times removed of my son!!!!".


When you consider that we all have thousands of living relatives who are 5th cousins or closer, it's hardly surprising that many of us will turn out to be linked with friends - or even enemies. I just hope that I never discover that I'm related to Jeremy Clarkson.....


Family Historian v5 announced

There's a new version of Family Historian coming out in the New Year - but you can buy it now! Starting today, when you buy the full version of Family Historian v4 from My-History you'll get a free CD upgrade to v5 when it is released.


I'm not going to attempt to tell you all the wonderful things about Family Historian v5, except to say that it's the most versatile version yet of the UK's most powerful genealogy software - to call it a family tree program would be a gross understatement, because it does so much more (which is probably why the research team on Who Do You Think You Are? chose it).


Genealogists for Families

Judy Webster, a professional genealogist in Australia, and a long-term member and supporter of LostCousins has set up Genealogists for Families, a group that works within the Kiva network that lends small amounts of money to poor people around the world.


I joined as soon as I heard about it (from another LostCousins member who was in the group) and made my first loan - of $25. It may not sound a lot to you, but believe me it's a lot of money to the people that we're helping. And it is a loan, not a donation - though when it comes back I'll simply lend it out to some other needy person.


Right now Genealogists for Families is a very exclusive group - just 67 people - although there were 637,379 lenders within the whole of Kiva when I checked just now. So every additional member makes a significant difference to what the group can achieve. Are you going to join the team?


Peter's Tips

My apologies if you tried to click on the Tesco links in my newsletter last weekend - for technical reasons they didn't work but I only realised (and corrected the fault) on Monday when I tried to place an order myself! The good news is that the offer which allows you to save £10 on a £75 purchase from Tesco direct continues until 1st December - just click here and enter the code TDX-NTRY at the online checkout. (As an added bonus I picked my purchase up from the local store so didn't have to pay postage.)



With Christmas approaching it's worth mentioning another Tesco offer, this time for online wine - click here and enter the code XXH7F6 at the checkout to save £10 on your first purchase of £50 or more. As there were lots of half-price wines on the site when I checked just now, you can now save twice over!


Although the weather in the East of England has been mild so far this autumn, I am sure that before long it's going to get very cold (though hopefully not as cold as the last two winters). So when I saw a buy-one-get-four free offer for loft insulation from Wickes I couldn't believe it (you'll even qualify for free delivery if you're within 5 miles of one of their stores). You don't need a code, all you have to do is click here!


Most of our windows aren't double-glazed and last winter we had bubble wrap over some of the windows to try to keep the heat in and the cold out - but this year we were aiming to do something a little less downmarket (but hopefully not much more expensive). Has anyone reading this tried any of the temporary double-glazing systems on the market? If so, your advice would be much appreciated!


This weekend I aim to make my Christmas puddings so that they have a chance to mature - and make my last batch of tomato jam for the year (not least because I've run out of jam jars). What will you be doing?


Stop Press

This where any last minute amendments will be recorded or highlighted.


I hope you've found my newsletter interesting, and that you'll keep writing in with tips of your own - many of the best articles in my newsletters are inspired by members.




Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins