- 11th December 2015
a peek at the 1939 Register SAVE 20%
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published
fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 27th 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
2012-14 click here. Or do what I do, and use the customised
Google search below (it only searches these newsletters, so you won't get
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 - you need to make the
LostCousins site an exception (or else use a different browser, such as
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!
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 Twelfth Night (Tuesday 5th January)
represents an entry in the competition. Shortly after midnight I'll start picking
relatives at random from all those entered during the period of the competition,
and the lucky members who entered those relatives will be able to choose a prize
from the list below (the first person out of the hat gets to choose first, the
second person has next choice, and so on).
This year's wonderful prizes
month World subscriptions to Findmypast, each one supplemented with 300 credits
to enable you to access the new 1939 Register (donated by Findmypast, Britain's
leading family history company)
With a World
subscription you can access any of Findmypast's historic records and newspaper
articles, as well as their modern (2012-14) UK Electoral Register - and you can
do this at any of the Findmypast's four sites around the globe.
Family Tree to the value of £45, showing up to 500 of your relatives (donated
by Genealogy Printers,
Britain's leading tree printing company)
If the winner
has wall space for an even larger family tree it will be possible to upgrade by
paying the difference. Genealogy Printers can accept files from just about any
family tree program - if your program isn't on the list just ask.
ONE copy of
Family Historian v6 (donated by Simon Orde, the
designer and lead programmer of Britain's leading family tree program)
If the winner
lives outside the UK the prize will be a downloaded copy; winners in the UK can
choose between a downloaded copy and a boxed copy (they function identically).
Check out Family Historian now with a free 30-day trial - just follow this link.
TEN 12 month
subscriptions to LostCousins
already have a subscription I'll extend it by 12 months
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!
unlike some websites, which update their databases at intervals, the
LostCousins database is updated instantly - there is no waiting, whether you're
entering a new relative or updating an existing entry.
This year the odds are better than ever
before - for example, when you enter a household from the 1881 England & Wales census there's 1 chance in 18 of an immediate
The more relatives you enter on your My Ancestors page between now and
Christmas, the better your chance of winning one of the 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 last time I checked there were only a
handful of LostCousins members who had entered more than a thousand from that
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
to ensure that you'll be matched with your cousin (and qualify for a prize if
your entry is picked out of the hat) make sure that your entries are correct by
carefully following the advice on the Add Ancestor form. It takes only a second or two to verify the census
references for relatives living in England, Wales, or Ireland - simply click
alongside the head of the household.
It's not only in England & Wales where
we need to ensure that the interests of family historians are taken into
account in the 2021 Census - Scotland are also considering the matter. There is
currently a consultation that will be open for comments until 16th January -
you'll find it here.
In most cases where multiple children in
a family are baptised with the same name they are 'replacements' for older
children who have died - but John came across a most unusual will, that of Raulfe Billott of Corsham, who in his 1566 will bequeathed legacies to "John
my eldest son, John my son which is called middle John, my son William and my
youngest son John".
John - the LostCousins member, not the eldest,
middle, or youngest - originally posted this information on the Society of
Genealogists mailing list, where there are some very interesting discussions -
indeed, for me it's one of the biggest perks of SoG membership. He wasn't the only SoG member to have discovered
something like this in his research - and I'm willing to bet he wasn't the only
LostCousins member, either!
Take a peek at the 1939
Register SAVE 20%
Thanks to the 1939 Register, which was
released last month, I've filled in lots of gaps on my tree (especially dates
of birth) and made some interesting discoveries - such as the cousin who was
living with a man who wasn't her husband....
I've also been able to add dozens of new
relatives, thanks to the marriages I've identified - and all of this has been
achieved without spending a penny on certificates, which at a minimum of £9.25
a time are a bit of a luxury at the moment.
However there are still a lot of people
who have yet to open up a record from the 1939 Register - if you've been
wavering, then you might like to know that you can purchase the 60 credits to
view your first household at a 20% discount by following one of the following
You may recall from the last
newsletter that I was a bit miffed not to have received an invitation to
the consultation meetings that the GRO are organising in Southport next Friday,
and in London the following Monday.† It
seems there was no need to worry - this week I received an invitation to a
third meeting which is being organised especially for people in the genealogy
This week Ancestry made the shock
announcement that they will stop selling Family Tree Maker at the end of this
month. They have pledged to support existing owners until 1st January 2017, but
whilst this sounds like a long time away, it's only just over a year from now.
I've never used Family Tree Maker myself,
though I've often recommended buying it purely to get the free 6 month Ancestry
subscription that is included with the Platinum and World editions -
nevertheless I can understand why some family historians found Family Tree
Maker and Ancestry an attractive combination.
Understandably publishers of other
family tree programs are keen to pick up the pieces - for example, Family Historian are offering
a 20% discount to users of Family Tree Maker until the end of January, which
gives you time to download the 30-day free trial and check it out first.
I had hoped to be able to provide some
definitive advice in this newsletter, but the information is constantly
changing. I would recommend that if you're affected by Ancestry's announcement
you follow this
discussion on the LostCousins Forum - but don't be panicked into taking precipitate
action because you have all of 2016 to get it right.
This is an updated version of an article published a year ago
If your family comes from England or
Wales, and you have either a Findmypast.co.uk or Ancestry.co.uk subscription,
you'll not only have access to fully transcribed GRO birth, marriage, and death
indexes but also to the complete England & Wales 1911 Census. By combining
these two resources you'll probably find that you can add dozens of new
relatives to your family tree - without spending a penny on certificates!
Here's how I generally go about it:
(1) Where there are married couples on
the 1911 Census and the wife is of child-bearing age (typically up to 47) I
search the birth indexes for children born to the couple using the family
surname and mother's maiden name. The rarer the surnames the more confident I
can be about identifying the entries, especially if I also take into account
the choice of forenames, the timing of the births, and the districts where the
births were registered.
Tip: even if the surnames aren't
particularly rare, the surname combination might be - a search for marriages
where the bride and groom have the same surnames will help you gauge how likely
it is that the births you've found belong to your couple.
(2) I then check to see whether I can
identify marriages involving relatives who were single in 1911. This is
generally only possible when the surnames are fairly uncommon (but see below).
(3) Having identified these post-1911
marriages, or possible marriages, I look in the birth indexes for children born
to the couple using the technique described in (1) above. Sometimes the choice
of forenames will help to confirm whether or not I've found the right marriage.
(4) I next look for the deaths of the
couples whose children I've been seeking. If the precise date of birth is
included in the death indexes, as it is for later entries, this often helps to
confirm not only that I've found the right death entry, but also - in the case
of a female relative - that I've found the right marriage. Even if I don't know
exactly when my relative was born, the quarter in which the birth was
registered defines a 19 week window (remember that births can be registered up
to 6 weeks after the event). Why does this work best for female relatives?
Because they will have changed their surname on marriage, so their birth will
be registered in one name and the death in another - and there will be a
marriage that links the two.
Tip: probate calendars can also provide
useful clues - often one of the children, or the surviving spouse, will be named
as executor or administrator. You can search the calendars from 1858-1966 at Ancestry, or from 1858-1959 at Findmypast; if you don't have access to
either of these sites, or want to search for more recent wills, you'll need to
use the free Probate Service.
(5) Now I start on the next generation,
the children who were recorded in 1911 or whose births I have been able to
identify as belonging to my tree. I look for both marriages and deaths, because
if I find the death of a female relative recorded under her maiden name, this
usually indicates that she didn't marry, and even for a male relative the place
of death might help to determine whether a marriage I've found in an unexpected
part of the country.
(6) Having identified marriages I then
look in the birth indexes for children born to those marriages - and continue
this process until either I reach the present day, or I get to a point where I
can't tell with reasonable certainty which entries relate to my relatives. Mind
you, when it comes to more recent generations there are all sorts of additional
sources of information - including social networking sites, Google, searches of
the electoral roll (see the next article) or even the phone book (not everyone
Here are some key dates to bear in mind
2nd April 1911 - Census Day
1st July 1911 - from this date the
mother's maiden name was included in the birth indexes
1st January 1912 - the surname of the
spouse was included in the marriage indexes
1st January 1966 - from this date the
first two forenames are shown in full in the birth indexes
1st April 1969 - the precise date of
birth was included in the death indexes and the first two forenames were shown
During the 20th century middle names
are more consistent than they were in the 19th century - there is less of a
tendency for them to appear or disappear between birth, marriage, and death.
Unfortunately, for more than half a century after 1910 only the first forename
was shown in full in the birth and death indexes, and the marriage indexes only
show one forename for the whole period after 1910 - so a perfect match on the
second forename is only possible if the relative was born before 1911 and died
after March 1969.
What can you hope to achieve by following
the techniques I've described? In my case I was able to extend some lines
forward by as many as four generations, although three is more typical. In the
process I added hundreds of 20th century relatives to my family tree, the
majority of whom were still living.
Since the 1939 Register was released I've been able to
extend my tree further by confirming that many of the marriages I'd noted as
possible marriages did indeed involve my relatives (the fact that precise
birthdates are given is a really big help).
One of the best things about the 1939
Register is the way that it continued to be used after the War - and so the
surnames of many women were updated to reflect marriages (and divorces) that
took place in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s or even later. This makes the 1939
Register more useful than a static census, and since it was released I've added
dozens more relatives to my tree, most of whom must
still be living.
Note: there will often be other resources that you can draw upon, including parish registers (some online collections extended beyond 1911), newspaper announcements (iannounce† is good for recent events, the British Newspaper Archive - also at Findmypast - for early 20th century events). Burials recorded at Deceased Online are another great source (for example, there may be other family members in the same grave). Historic Phone Directories up to 1984 are online at Ancestry. Ancestry and Findmypast each have historic Electoral Rolls - Findmypast covers much of the country, but Ancestry is best for London.
At one time you had to pay extra to
search the UK
Electoral Register at Findmypast, even if you had a
subscription - now this valuable feature is included in both the Britain and
The database covers the period 2002-14,
but many of the results you get will be for 2002, with no later record. This
isn't a fault - it's because after 2002 it was possible to opt out of the
published Electoral Register. Fortunately people haven't moved house as
frequently in recent years, so you'll often find that the 2002 address is still
current. Where a range of years is shown this relates to the person you
searched for - other occupants listed may not have lived there for the entire
period, and you'll need to search for them separately to confirm their years of
Tip: some records give full middle
names, most give only the initial; as long as you tick the 'name variants' box
(it's ticked by default) you'll find both when you search using the full middle
name. Sometimes an initial will be shown in the search results even though the
record shows the full middle name(s).
Where you see several different
surnames in a household this can indicate a shared house, but it may also
indicate a care home or similar residential facility. Googling the address will
often help you to discriminate between the two.
Note: the procedure for compiling electoral registers has just changed -
householders will no longer be responsible for signing up their households and in
future it will be up to individuals to register. This may well mean that the
information we see changes in format.†
Often an 'Age guide' is shown - this
seems to be present age, rather than age in 2002 (or whenever). It isn't always
accurate, but when it is, it helps to reduce the number of search results.
Bear in mind that if you decide to
contact a living relative you've identified in this way you're relatively unlikely
to find that they share your interest in family history - though there's a fair
chance that they'll be able to tell you of someone else in their part of your
tree who is
doing research. Be sure to approach them carefully and thoughtfully - there are
so many scams around that some people can be extremely hard to convince, so you
shouldn't be offended if they seem suspicious, or the initial exchange is
Of course, it's usually very different
when you find a living relative through LostCousins, because you know they're
interested in family history - otherwise they wouldn't have joined, and
wouldn't have had the necessary census information. Nevertheless you shouldn't
assume that the other member will be able to drop everything in order to reply
- don't ask too much, or you may find that they put your message on one side
until they have more time to spare.
Tip: always check the My Contact page for the relationship before making
contact so that you understand how the two of you are connected, and how
closely you are connected.
What do you buy for the man or woman who
has everything? Perhaps you might want to consider a gift subscription to the
British Newspaper Archive - it's something that will be of interest to many
people who are interested in history, but not necessarily family history.
You can currently get a 20% discount on
a Gift subscription when you follow this link
and enter the promotion code DASHER
(the name of one of Santa's reindeer, I believe). You'll be provided with a
voucher code to pass on to the recipient, and since the subscription won't
start until they activate it by entering the code, you can be certain that
they'll get a full 12 months.
even though you can also get access to the newspapers with a Findmypast
subscription, many people find that the search at the BNA site is more
Over 1.1 million individuals were
recorded in the New South Wales 1891 census, though unfortunately the household
schedules have not survived - only the Collectors' Books are available, †so the only names
listed are those of the heads of household (and there's also no personal
information, such as age or birthplace).
This census has been available unindexed
on New South Wales State Records website,
and indexed at Ancestry,
but the free access to indexed records and images at FamilySearch will
make it more readily accessible. I also noticed that there seem to be rather
more records at FamilySearch than at Ancestry.
The 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 New South Wales censuses haven't
survived in any form: 1841 is an exception but again, only the heads of household
are listed (although household schedules have survived for a couple of areas). This census has been indexed by State Records staff and can be
The December issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine has a three page
article on the Blitz, which began 75 years ago in the autumn of 1940.† The Bomb Sight project,
which I wrote about in December 2012, is still a key source of information -
its interactive map shows where bombs dropped on London and the suburbs between
7th October 1940 and 6th June 1941, and its significance has increased now that
so many of us know from the 1939 Register
where our relatives were living the year before.
I recently purchased a fascinating book from
the National Archives - The Battle of
Britain is a facsimile of the Ministry of Information's 36-page propaganda
booklet that sold for just 6d in 1941. The modern edition is priced at £4.99,
nearly 200 times the original price, though it's undoubtedly printed on better
quality paper than would have been available during the War. I bought mine in the
TNA bookshop's Black Friday sale, but they've now sold out - however you'll
find copies at Amazon
for as little as 1p (lower than the 1941 price), although this excludes
Anthony Adolph is a professional
genealogist who has written many family history books, but I wasn't quite sure
what to expect from his latest book, In
Search of Our Ancient Ancestors. Having read it I'm still slightly shell-shocked
by the range of topics that he covers, from the origins of the universe and
life on Earth to the present day DNA analysis that aims to answer some of our
questions about our past. And everything in between!
Underlying the book is the simple truth
that his ancestors are also our ancestors - we all share the same ancestors,
which means that the history of the human race and its predecessors is equally
relevant to all of us.
This isn't a book for the average family
historian - at times I felt as if I was on University
Challenge - but then LostCousins members aren't average family
historians. If you're looking for a book that will get you thinking - and,
perhaps, challenge some of your preconceptions about who we are and where we
came from - then this could be for you.
The latest Morton Farrier book from the
fingertips of Nathan Dylan Goodwin is The
America Ground, a story that centres on a piece of land in Hastings
that was at one time declared to be part of the United States of America by its
inhabitants. It's available either as a Kindle book, or
as a paperback - I read the Kindle version as I was travelling.
As the story begins Morton is at last planning
to explore his own family history, and hopefully discover who his father really
was - but everything changes when he's asked to help a friend of a friend
research the background to a painting from the early 19th century. At first it
seems like a simple assignment, but then he discovers that the woman in the
picture was murdered, and.... †well,
you'll have to read it yourself to find out what happened next.
Like most genealogical mysteries this
book has several threads, cleverly woven together by the author - and there are
plenty of surprises for the reader as the story approaches
its conclusion. A jolly good read!
if you decide to buy the book you can support LostCousins by using one of the
"Marianne was researching on behalf
of a friend who was trying to solve a 100 year-old family mystery about his grandfather
who had gone missing in the early 1900s, leaving his grandmother to raise two
daughters alone.† The story passed down
the generations was that his grandfather had been killed in a freak accident, but
this was unconfirmed.†
"Marianne recognised the names of
her friendís great grandparents in my book & contacted me. We exchanged information
& this resulted in the family mystery being solved after over a 100-year of
"So the Daddy of all Mysteries
found the granddaddy of all mysteries & Iím now in touch with relatives in
if you read my review of Jess's book you'll see that at the time it wasn't
available in Kindle format - but now it is (just follow this link).
I was touched by this story of the discovery by
workmen of a 5 year-old girl's letter to Father Christmas that had been in a
chimney since the late 1930s - especially when I realised that they'd found the
author, now a sprightly 82.
Tesco still can't get it right with
their discount coupons. Like many of you, I suspect, I have a bad cold at the
moment so the offer of £1 off when I spent £4 "on any cold and flu product
bought over the counter" seemed irresistible. The pharmacist recommended
Sinutab and I added a couple of packets of Paracetamol to bring the cost over
the £4 barrier.
But did my coupon work? I had no more
success than I did in the summer (see my August article).
To be fair, they didn't have to give me a coupon in the first place - it was
their choice - but why on earth do they choose to annoy customers by giving
them coupons that don't work?
At least there's one big organisation
that gets it right most of the time - Nationwide Building Society (I suspect
the fact that they don't have any shareholders helps). They've added yet
another benefit for holders of their main current accounts - a regular saver
account that pays 5% interest, a very attractive rate these days. If you'd like
to take advantage of this and the many other benefits that Nationwide offers
then I'd be very glad to refer you †- because
if you do open an account we'll each benefit to the tune of £100. It's not a
fortune, but as Tesco used to say, "every little
That phrase also explains how I've
managed to lose over a stone in weight since the summer, bringing my Body Mass
Index into the Healthy range for the first time in years. Although exercise has
helped, to lose even one pound would require me to exercise vigorously for 5 or
6 hours, so cutting down my food (and drink) consumption by reducing the size
of portions has been a much more significant factor. And, actually, it wasn't
very difficult - I soon became accustomed to the smaller helpings.
Finally, if you're starting to plan next
year's holidays look out for my next newsletter, when I hope to feature an exclusive
discount offer at the beautiful Rocha Brava resort where Genealogy in the Sunshine was held in March 2014 and March 2015.
This is where any last minute updates
and corrections will be highlighted - if you think you've spotted an error
(sadly I'm not infallible), reload the newsletter (press Ctrl-F5) then check here before writing to me, in case
someone else has beaten you to it......
© Copyright 2015 Peter Calver
do not copy any part of this newsletter without permission. However, you MAY
link to this newsletter or email a link to your friends and relatives without
asking for permission in advance - though why not invite them to join
LostCousins instead, since standard membership, which includes this newsletter,