Updated Newsletter - 31st March 2020

 

 

Help yourself!

An Easter Egg hunt that we can ALL safely take part in WIN $1000

Findmypast offer 20% discount BREAKING NEWS

Birth registrations delayed

No birthday guests for the oldest man in the world

Colour tithe maps for Essex

Time to contact your cousins?

Happiness and second thoughts on DNA

Spanish Princess is first Royal to succumb

Double-counting in the census

Coronavirus in Ambridge - but not until May

Review: Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown

Review: A Hidden History of the Tower of London

Review: The Krays' London

Review: Scotland Yard's Flying Squad

Historical information relating to the Metropolitan Police

Peter's Tips

Stop Press

 

 

The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 23rd March) click here; to find earlier articles use the customised Google search between this paragraph and the next (it searches ALL of the newsletters since February 2009, so you don't need to keep copies):

 

 

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!

 

 

Help yourself!

At this time many of us are being forced to choose between helping ourselves and helping others - should we risk infection in order to assist others who are older and frailer? It's quite a conundrum when we're fighting an enemy that we canít see.

 

Fortunately there's one activity that doesnít involve difficult choices - you can do an enormous amount of good, and help yourself at the same time. Best of all, itís totally risk-free because you can do it from the comfort and safety of your own home!

 

Want to know more? Here's the email I received from Vanessa at the weekend:

 

Inspired by your last newsletter, I decided to add more ancestors to my account so that I could qualify to join the Lost Cousins Forum. I also encouraged my husband to register, so that I can help him add his ancestors.

 

I would highly recommend adding your ancestors to LostCousins. Finding and connecting with new cousins is really exciting. I connected with a new 3rd cousin on the day I first registered. This week I have a connection with a new cousin. My husband has found connections for 2 new cousins and 1 possible relative. 

 

There are other benefits. Adding more ancestors, has also given me the opportunity to revisit and review the information I have about my ancestors and those of my husband. It is several years since I first researched my direct ancestors, during which time more records have become available online. By adding information from the 1881, 1841 and 1911 English census to LostCousins, I am now discovering details I had not noticed before about my ancestors and those of my husband. I am also updating and adding missing information in our family trees.

 

That's just one side of the story - by making those connections Vanessa has also brightened up the lives of her cousins (and her husband's cousins too - does your partner have a LostCousins account?).

 

We all have thousands of living cousins but, of course, they're not all researching their family tree. Adding the details of our relatives who were recorded in the 1881 Census allows us to connect to the ones who share not only our ancestors, but also the wonderful hobby that helps to preserve their memory.

 

 

An Easter Egg hunt that we can ALL safely take part in WIN $1000

Cadbury Creme Egg 40GWhy should Vanessa and her cousins be the only ones to have fun? No reason at all - anyone reading this could follow Vanessa's example. But to make it an extra special experience I've come up with a unique idea, one that will enable LostCousins members like you to find cousins, have fun, and win prizes.

 

I've hidden 100 Easter Eggs in the 1881 Census. There are 90 LostCousins subscriptions, 9 Ancestry DNA tests, and the Grand Prize of $1000 (or Ä1000 or £1000, whichever is the winner's local currency).

 

The Easter Eggs have been scattered across the three 1881 censuses that we use at LostCousins: the England & Wales census (which includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), the Scotland census (which includes the Scottish islands), and the Canada census. Each Easter Egg is associated with an individual recorded in the census - half of them are male, half female.

 

All you need to do to have a chance of winning one or more of those prizes is to add your relatives from the 1881 censuses to your My Ancestors page - every single relative you enter from 1st April until the competition ends is not only a potential link to a 'lost cousin', itís also a potential prize-winner.

 

Click the Search button at any time to find out whether you've hit the jackpot. If you've got new matches go to your My Cousins page and take a look in the New Contacts section - the initials of the person youíre matched with will be shown. If they appear as EE, well - you could have a cousin called Egmont Everyman, or Elspeth Expert - but there's a good chance that you've been matched with a dummy account I've set up called Easter Egg, in which case (unless someone else got there first) you've won a prize!

 

Terms & conditions: prizewinners will need to demonstrate how they are related to the person they've entered in order to claim their prize (although in practice I'll probably only ask you to do this if you've won one of the bigger prizes). Automated means of adding relatives are banned, unless you're a user of Family Tree Analyzer, in which case you can utilise that program to add relatives from your tree (but please remember to check your entries against the census transcript). Each prize can be won only once, by the first member to enter the relevant person from the census (click the tick against that person on your My Ancestors page to check whether anyone else, apart from EE, is linked to them).The competition is currently scheduled to end on April 14th but might be extended (or shortened).

 

 

Findmypast offer 20% discount BREAKING NEWS

Until 14th April you can save 20% on any 12 month subscription at Findmypast's UK site when you follow this link (if you can't see the wording 20% discount applied below the subscription prices enter the code FMPEASTER20, but it should be automatic when you follow my link).

 

This discount brings the cost of a PLUS subscription (British and Irish records) down below £100, and means that a PRO subscription (which includes virtually unlimited access to ALL of Findmypast's billions of worldwide records as well as their entire newspaper collection), costs only about 5% more than the normal price of a PLUS subscription!.

 

Please note that this offer is open to lapsed subscribers as well as new subscribers. And you can also secure a FREE LostCousins subscription when you support LostCousins by using the link above (and making sure that your purchase is tracked as coming from this newsletter by following the advice that follows). You'll get a 6 month LostCousins subscription when we receive commission on your purchase of a PLUS subscription, and a 12 month LostCousins subscription if you choose a PRO subscription.

 

HOW TO SUPPORT LOSTCOUSINS AND GET A FREE LOSTCOUSINS SUBSCRIPTION

 

Unfortunately simply clicking one of my links doesnít absolutely guarantee that you'll be supporting LostCousins when you make your purchase, because these days quite a few people use adblocking software, or have disabled tracking in their browser. Whether you've done this deliberately or inadvertently, it can have a big impact on small independent websites like LostCousins - in effect youíre telling the big website that you're buying from to ignore the information about which site you just came from. This prevents them from paying any commission on your purchase - great news for the big website, since it adds to their profits, but very tough on the small genealogy websites that depend on that income.

 

If you help LostCousins then LostCousins will help you. Your subscription will commence on the day you bought your Findmypast subscription unless you already have a LostCousins subscription, in which case I'll extend it by 6 or 12 months, as appropriate.

 

Tip: if you are also researching on behalf of your partner or another family member you can link the two accounts together and get a joint subscription covering BOTH accounts. Simply enter the other person's Membership Number (found on their My Summary page, or in a Password Reminder email), in the relevant box on your My Details page.

 

First make sure that your purchase is going to be tracked. If you normally use Firefox, Opera, or Safari I suggest you load up this newsletter in a different browser, such as Chrome or Microsoft Edge, before clicking the link above and making your purchase. All major browsers are free, so it makes sense to have a choice (many problems can be solved by using a different browser).

 

Tip: it's well worth installing multiple browsers as some websites for newspapers and magazines only allow a limited number of free articles each month; if you have two browsers you can usually have a double helping!

 

I also suggest you use a computer rather than a smartphone or tablet, but whatever device you choose, stick to it - clicking my link on one device and making your purchase on another won't work.

 

You'll find the 'Do not track' switch under Privacy & Security settings in Chrome - the default setting is OFF, as shown below, and this is what you want:

 

 

The switch should be to the LEFT and appear grey. If the switch is to the right (and blue) then please move it to the left.

 

In Edge you'll find the switch under Privacy & Security settings, and it works in the same way. If it appears blue with a white dot, move it to the left so that it is grey with a black dot.

Once you are satisfied that your purchase is going to be tracked, click the link and make your purchase, noting the EXACT time of the purchase, without which I cannot confirm that you qualify. You may receive an email receipt for your purchase from Findmypast - if so you can forward this to me to claim your free LostCousins subscription. Otherwise send me an email quoting the precise time (and date) of your purchase (including the time zone), and stating the price you paid for your subscription.

 

IF IN DOUBT PLEASE CHECK WITH ME BEFORE MAKING YOUR PURCHASE - AFTERWARDS WILL BE TOO LATE!

 

 

Birth registrations delayed

Since 1st July 1837 parents in England & Wales have been expected to register births within 42 days - but now many Register Offices are refusing to register births.

 

To give just one example, in Essex (where I live) the Registration Service is only registering deaths and stillbirths, and only at three locations across the county. The Essex website doesnít indicate that the 42 day limit has been relaxed (nor does the GRO website, as far as I can ascertain), but the Derbyshire and Surrey websites do.

 

In Essex new bookings for marriages arenít going to be taken before 1st July and, because of the need to clear up the backlog of marriages that have been postponed, ceremonies not already booked wonít take place before 1st September.

 

Fortunately children who are born prior to their parents' marriage can be legitimated by the subsequent marriage, but it's inevitable that there will be more children born outside marriage as a result of the pandemic. Yet another complication for the family historians of the future!

 

Local register offices are not going to be providing copy certificates while Government restrictions are in place, but the General Register Office is continuing to take orders, though they have asked for non-essential orders to be delayed:

 

 

Note that they donít distinguish between orders for certificates and orders for PDFs. I recommend deferring all orders until restrictions are lifted - and who knows, in the interim you might find that one of your distant cousins already has a copy of the relevant register entry?

 

Scotland is also affected see this page for more information.

 

 

No birthday guests for the oldest man in the world

At 112 Bob Weighton is not only the oldest man in Britain, but the oldest man in the world. But while he lived through Spanish Flu and other epidemics he's not able to celebrate his 112th birthday because of the coronavirus outbreak (see this BBC article for more information).

 

Let's hope that Bob is able have an extra special celebration in a year's time!

 

 

Colour tithe maps for Essex

The Genealogist has added colour tithe maps for Essex to a collection that also includes colour maps for Bedfordshire , Warwickshire, Rutland, Huntingdonshire, Buckinghamshire, City of York, Middlesex, Northumberland, Surrey, Westmorland, and the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire (as well as black and white maps for most of England).

 

You can save on a subscription to The Genealogist, and get a free subscription to Discover Your Ancestors online magazine if you follow this link.

 

 

Time to contact your cousins?

Finding new cousins is exciting, but we mustn't forget the cousins we already know - some of whom are likely to be enduring particularly difficult restrictions at this time.

 

At a time when many of us are 'confined to barracks' exchanging hints and tips makes a lot of sense. There's bound to be someone who has a recipe that'll make use of the items you've just found at the bottom of your freezer, or the back of your store cupboard.

 

Emails and other electronic messages are a boon at a time when we're being advised to quarantine incoming post - I generally leave paper items for 3 days and plastic items for 7 days before opening them, and even then I'm very careful to avoid touching my face before I've thoroughly washed my hands.

 

 

Happiness and second thoughts on DNA

Ann in Canada sent me this story of her DNA experiences - I hope it will encourage you to think carefully about how secrets revealed by DNA testing might affect others:

 

"A few years ago, I had my DNA done. I sat back and waited for Ė well, I donít know what I thought would happen!! For months and months, I had matches with folks I either knew Ė cousins I was in touch with on a regular basis or I had matches with cousins so remote that it did not really matter that much.

 

"Then, I had a match which seemed a bit odd. I had a missing branch in one of my trees and this person had a man in her tree which seemed to fit. I contacted her. The man in her tree was the long lost brother of my great grandmother. He had gone to the US from Canada and had fought in the Civil War there. His offspring remained in the USA. WOW!! Pretty cool!! But there were more surprises to come.

 

"About 4 months ago, I had a match show up for a person I did not know but it was a match closer to me than any other I had seen Ė including a great nephew. I had no idea who this person was. I looked at her tree online and there were no common names. There was also no information on her fatherís side of the family. I contacted her and got one of the biggest surprises of my life.

 

"After confirming our suspicions by having her fatherís DNA done Ė I have a half brother!!

It seems that my father (who has been dead for more than 50 years now) had a relationship before he married my mother. Not surprising. He was a handsome and personable man. Whether he knew or not, we will never discover but that relationship produced a son. At the age of 70 plus, I have acquired a new brother who is now almost 90. I will be meeting him this summer. I am delighted and (although a bit overwhelmed I am sure) I think he is delighted as well.

 

"This whole wonderful and happy experience made me think about the ramifications of DNA testing and posting matches etc. I wondered about two girls I knew who had had babies in the 1960s. Both had given them up for adoption Ė that was the way of things then. One was desperate to locate her son after all the years had passed. He was the only child she ever had. She was not successful via official channels.

 

"Perhaps she would have found him if DNA testing had hit its current popularity while she was still alive. She died before that could happen.

 

"The other girl is the one whose situation is a bit more concerning to me. She married, had children and told no one about her child. I doubt that even her younger siblings know. It started me wondering Ė what would happen if one of her children or a niece or nephew had their DNA done and got a match like I did. A close match to a person whose existence was unknown to them. What then?

 

"My situation has a happy ending. But would a frightened and likely traumatized girl who was more or less forced to give up her child at birth be happy to have her ďshameful secretĒ made public? I doubt it. And what would it do to relationships within her nuclear family?

 

"DNA testing has come a long way and will go a lot further. Having your DNA potentially help to identify a killer you did not know was a 4th cousin is not too traumatic. But having a past you had carefully hidden for 50 years explode into the public domain - well, that is a whole different kettle of fish."

 

Remember that if you test youíre in a good position to manage any awkward situation that might arise. But if someone else in your family tests, perhaps unbeknown to you, you might not find out until too late. Forewarned is forearmed!

 

 

Spanish Princess is first Royal to succumb

You may recall that when I wrote about the origins of the term 'Spanish Flu' two weeks ago I mentioned that King Alfonso XIII of Spain was one of the first high profile figures to contract the disease.

 

Thankfully he recovered - just as Princes Charles, the current Prince of Wales, has recovered from COVID-19 - but a distant relative of King Alfonso, Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma has not been so fortunate, dying from the coronavirus infection on 26th March at the age of 86.

 

You can read more about this story here, on the CNN website.

 

 

Double-counting in the census

It's not at all unusual to discover that a relative has been counted twice in the census, but to find one who is recorded twice in the same household is quite remarkable.

 

In 1881 Mary Barron (formerly Barke) was living with her husband William and their infant son, also William, at 5 Sebbon Street, Finsbury - she was recorded as 19 years old. But as you can see from the census schedule her parents and siblings were living at the same address, and Mary is also recorded in their household - though she's shown as only 18 years old.

 

© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England

with the permission of Findmypast

 

Incidentally, can you find Mary Barke in the GRO birth indexes? I found her, but I suspect you will find it more difficult than you expect!

 

Tip: if one of your relatives appears twice in one of the censuses we use at LostCousins you can - and should - enter them twice on your My Ancestors page. The LostCousins system matches census entries, not individuals, so if a relative appears on more than one census you can enter them twice (or even three times).

 

Mistakes continue to be made in the censuses, even in modern times. This article from The Guardian illustrates how many people were missed or double-counted in the US 2010 Census - and with an epidemic across the nation it could be even more challenging in 2020.

 

This page has links to the latest information about the US Census, which takes on 1st April.

 

 

Coronavirus in Ambridge - but not until May

The world's longest-running radio drama series is going to feature coronavirus - but not until May.

The Archers, which was first broadcast in 1951 as a way of informing farmers about the latest methods, is recorded several weeks in advance - so until 4th May Ambridge (set in the fictional county of Borsetshire) will be a haven of tranquillity for those of us plagued by coronavirus.

 

I first heard The Archers about 60 years ago - long before I discovered that most of my ancestors were farm labourers - and have met several of the actors over the years, but as far as I know there's only one member of the cast who is a LostCousins member, and that's Timothy Bentinck, who plays David Archer.

 

Tim Bentinck is a man of many talents, as you can see from his Wikipedia page - and he's also the Earl of Portland, and a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, which means that his family tree is rather more interesting than most!

 

 

Review: Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown

The only exam I've ever failed was History 'O' level - it was a subject which, at the time, I found both boring and meaningless - so it's somewhat ironic that I now spend a lot of my spare time reading (and enjoying) history books!

 

I should stress that I'm talking about history, not historical fiction - the latter doesn't interest me in the slightest since the real thing is just as exciting as any novel, provided itís told by someone who really knows the subject.

 

Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown: The Kings and Queens Who Never Were, by the pseudonymous J F Andrews, is just the sort of history book that would have maintained my interest as a schoolboy, if only it had been on the curriculum at the time. Then I only learned about the Princes in the Tower, Perkin Warbeck, and Lambert Simnel - all of whom do feature in this book, but only at the end. Here's an example of what's in store....

 

Everyone knows that William the Conqueror was succeeded by his son, who became William II - but very few people know that William wasn't the eldest son. Indeed, he wasn't even the eldest surviving son!

 

The eldest son of William the Conqueror was Robert - known as Robert Curthose, a nickname inspired by his lack of height. Robert was put in charge of Normandy in 1068, 2 years after his father conquered England - he was just 16 years old, but no doubt anticipated that in due course he would be Duke of Normandy, and eventually King of England. Provided he outlived his father, of course.

 

But he didn't become King when his father died in 1087 - that prize went to his younger brother William Rufus. Nor did Robert become King when William II died in 1100; his youngest brother Henry got the job instead - and this is just part of the first chapter of this fascinating book!

 

There are many more revelations, such as the time when there were two Kings of England, or the occasion when the reigning monarch attempted to bring rival factions together with a peace march. Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown takes us on a circuitous route from Hastings to London, or to put it another way, from 1066 when William the Bastard became William the Conqueror, to 1499 when Edward, Earl of Warwick, undeservedly lost his head at Tower Hill.

 

If you like history you'll love this book - and no doubt you'll have your own opinion as to which of the heroes and villains would have made good monarchs. I read the hardback version, and whilst the Kindle version is cheaper, bear in mind that this is the sort of book that you'll want to lend to others (just make sure you get it back!). Highly recommended, even at the full published price of £19.99

 

Amazon.co.uk†††††††††††††† Amazon.com†††††††††††††††† Amazon.ca†††††† ††††††††††††† Amazon.com.au††††††††††††††††††††††††† Wordery

 

Note: I've included a link to Wordery, even though they are currently out of stock, because they ship worldwide.

 

 

Review: A Hidden History of the Tower of London

Several of the key characters in Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown spent time in the Tower of London, and so also turn up in John Paul Davies' book A Hidden History of the Tower of London: England's Most Notorious Prisoners.

 

Unfortunately, whilst the author clearly knows his topic, I didnít find this book nearly as readable - there was a little too much detail for my liking, and not enough of a story to hold it all together. But I'm clearly in the minority, because everyone who has reviewed it on Amazon so far has given it a glowing review and a 5 star rating (perhaps the fact that I havenít visited the Tower of London for a long time puts me at a disadvantage).

 

I'd always thought that Rudolf Hess was the last person to be held in the Tower, but on the last page of the last chapter I discovered that the twins who are the subject of my next book review were held there in 1952, after deserting from the army during National Service, then punching a policeman.

 

Amazon.co.uk†††††††††††††† Amazon.com†††††††††††††††† Amazon.ca†††††† ††††††††††††† Amazon.com.au

 

 

Review: The Krays' London

I'm not quite sure why Ronnie and Reggie Kray, two of London's most notorious gangsters, have been the subject of so many books and films, but youíd certainly think that all angles had been covered.

 

However Caroline Allen, the author of The Krays' London: A History and Guide may have found a new angle - she has chosen to focus on the buildings that featured in the Krays' life, even though many of them are no longer standing. I suppose itís intended a guide book for those who get a frisson of excitement when they visit a location where something horrible happened. And, to be fair, in normal times there are plenty of tourists who'll sign up for a walk around the sites where Jack the Ripper's victims met their end - so perhaps there is a market for this sort of thing.

 

Although Caroline Allen writes frankly about the crimes that the Kray twins and their associates committed, she's clearly proud of the fact that her grandfather (or perhaps her great-grandfather - the book is imprecise on this point) was Ronnie and Reggie's hairdresser. But I see it as a dubious connection to an infamous couple - not something to get excited about.

 

Carrying out a bit of research of my own I discovered that in 1939 the Kray family were living at 218 Hackney Road, Bethnal Green - an address that doesn't feature in the book. According to the author the family moved from Stean Street in Hoxton, said to be their birthplace, to Vallance Road in Bethnal Green when the twins were 6 years old. Looking at the 1939 entries for Stean Street suggests that part of the road had been recently redeveloped, which might explain why the family moved.

 

 

Glancing at the image above you might assume that the notes in black ink at the right relate to Reginald Kray, but the two pages are slightly out of sync - itís actually 'See page 16' in red biro that's relevant (at Findmypast you'll find the continuation on image 12 out of 14). Continuation entries were used when the right-hand side of the page filled up.

 

By the way, the Tower of London doesnít feature in the book - but according to Wikipedia the Kray twins were indeed the last people to be held prisoner in the Tower. "Infamy, infamy..." as Kenneth Williams famously proclaimed in Carry on Cleo (1964).

 

Amazon.co.uk†††††††††††††† Amazon.com†††††††††††††††† Amazon.ca†††††† ††††††††††††† Amazon.com.au

 

Note: Barbara Windsor, who was one of many minor celebrities to associate with the Krays, claimed to have been offered the role of Cleopatra in 'Carry on Cleo', although this has been convincingly disputed. But one actress who did have a part in that film was Sheila Hancock, who in 1969 married actor John Thaw, whose first big role was in The Sweeney - which neatly leads into my next review.....

 

 

Review: Scotland Yard's Flying Squad

Known in Cockney rhyming slang as "The Sweeney" (for "Sweeney Todd"), the Flying Squad came into being just over a century ago. In those days the Metropolitan Police area was divided into 20 divisions, and officers were only supposed to investigate crime in their own division - which, as you can imagine, made it rather difficult to pursue criminals who didnít respect the dividing lines!

 

The inspiration for the Flying Squad, a unit that could follow criminals across the entire Metropolitan Police area, came from Chief Inspector Frederick Wensley - who 30 years earlier had been pounding the streets of London chasing Jack the Ripper, so might conceivably have known Inspector Frederick Abberline, who was in charge of the Ripper enquiry (and also happened to be married to my 1st cousin 4 times removed).

 

But when Wensley came up with the idea in 1916 Britain was engaged in the greatest conflict the world had ever known, so it wasn't until 1919 that his plan came to fruition.

 

The Flying Squad took a pragmatic approach to policing, employing informants to snitch on fellow miscreants - but by most accounts they ended up crossing too many boundaries, and in the 1970s 'Operation Countryman' was set up to investigate police corruption. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dick Kirby - the former Flying Squad officer who wrote this history - has nothing but contempt for the members of the Countryman team, and he takes a similarly dim view of the investigation that brought down Ken Drury, the Flying Squad commander, in 1972. Anyone who has watched Line of Duty will have seen the same attitude, albeit in a fictional setting.

 

Note: this article from The Guardian records how efforts were allegedly made to prevent the true scale of wrongdoing from coming to light.

 

But much as I enjoy watching crime series on TV, I wouldn't want to do the job myself, and I suspect that goes for most of you. Law enforcement necessarily involves dealing with people whose morals and manners are far removed from our own - people like the Krays (although they hardly feature in this book). If you're interested in real life crime, rather than crime fiction, this book will be right up your street - all of the reviews at Amazon give it 5 stars!

 

Amazon.co.uk†††††††††††††† Amazon.com†††††††††††††††† Amazon.ca†††††† ††††††††††††† Amazon.com.au

 

 

Historical information relating to the Metropolitan Police

In researching the reviews above I stumbled across a PDF document containing lots of information about the history of the Metropolitan Police including details of what records are held and where. It seems that it used to be available at the Met's own website - but is now only online because of a 2017 Freedom of Information request.

 

You'll find the document here - I have a suspicion that even if you donít have relatives who were in the Met you'll find it interesting.

 

 

Peter's Tips

Talking about the Met Police reminds me that another Met, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, are offering free streaming of some of their past productions during the pandemic - you can find out more here.

 

MET is also an abbreviation for 'Metabolic Equivalent of Task' a measure of how much energy is expended compared to the body's resting rate. I first encountered the term when I bought Wii Fit, the exercise program for the Nintendo Wii, and in fact I still use Wii Fit Plus and Wii Active as a means of getting exercise indoors. As a result I know that since I began self-isolating 16 days ago I've lost 6lbs in weight, bringing my Body Mass Index down from 25.50 (Overweight) to 24.74 (Healthy). So itís not all bad news at the moment!

 

By the way, most of the weight reduction isn't the result of exercising more, but of eating less - something that's a lot easier to do when you know that you've only got a limited amount of food in the fridge, freezer, and store cupboard. Eating a third less doesn't sound a particularly attractive option until you reframe it as making the food you've got last 50% longer!

 

Are you getting enough exercise? Last week was sunny so we were out in the garden, but this week is going to be cold, so we're converting our dining table into a table tennis table. It's what we did when I was a boy, so why not do it now? It's not as if we're going to be having friends round for dinner in the foreseeable future! I already had the equipment, but you can buy sets quite cheaply on Amazon - though the delivery times are quite long, so I suspect most of them are coming from China (the one place that seems to have got the virus really under control).

 

If you can manage it safely, running (or even walking) up and down stairs is great exercise. But if walking on the flat is all you can manage, try to up the pace - according to an article in New Scientist two weeks ago walking at 5mph uses as much energy (8 METS) as running at the same speed, but without the same risk of injury.

 

My wife and I started self-isolating on Sunday 15th March, the day we were due to fly to Portugal for a holiday at Rocha Brava - the beautiful resort which hosted Genealogy in the Sunshine in 2014 and 2015. Everything was booked, including the taxi to the airport, but when I woke up that morning I knew what we had to do, even though at that point there was only one confirmed case on the whole of the Algarve.

 

As you would expect I've marked the start of our 'holiday at home' on my calendar, but I've also recorded who I came into contact with in the preceding week (as far as possible - I donít know the names of the other shoppers when I made my last trip to the supermarket on 9th March). You might find it useful to do the same - who knows when this information might come in useful, whether for contact-tracing or simply for reassurance that youíre free of the virus.

 

Over the years I've heard the saying "You canít be too careful" on numerous occasions, but at a time like this it really is true. And because what we do will impact on others as well as ourselves, only the most selfish (or the most stupid) people are going to ignore the guidelines. I doubt that anyone reading this newsletter comes into either category - most of us are old enough to know better!

 

One thing that does seem to worry a lot of people is how best to handle shopping - I found this YouTube video by a medical doctor very reassuring (thankfully I was already doing most of the right things). But do please note the updates he has posted just below the video.

 

Finally, a tip from my sister - she's discovered that Delia Smith's 1978 cookery series is available on the BBC iPlayer (provided you live in the UK). I've got the books of the series, which I still use - but I might watch it anyway, for old times' sake.

 

 

Stop Press

The newsletter was updated on the morning of Wednesday 1st April to include the Findmypast offer - which isn't, I'm assured, an April Fool's prank! I also added a note about the YouTube video recommended in Peter's Tips.

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Also I've been told that because most public libraries are closed, some of them are allowing users to access online resources which are normally only available in the library, such as Ancestry and Findmypast. I don't intend to publish details as this could overwhelm the services - check your library's website to find out what arrangements, if any, they are making in your area. In most cases you will need a libary card number, but you might be able to register online. Even if you already have subscriptions to the major sites, now's a good time to find out what else your library offers. Most online resources are ALWAYS available from the comfort of your own home!

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I hope you've enjoyed this newsletter - and if you have, do please tell other family historians about the benefits of LostCousins. It's always free to join, but now's an especially good time, because there are prizes to be won in the Easter Egg Hunt and the site will be completely free over the Easter period. I'll announce the precise dates in my next newsletter, but donít wait until then to complete your My Ancestors page.

 

Speak to you again soon - in the meantime, look after yourself!

 

 

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Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins

 

© Copyright 2020 Peter Calver

Please do NOT copy or republish any part of this newsletter without permission - which is only granted in the most exceptional circumstances. However, you MAY link to this newsletter or any article in it without asking for permission - though why not invite other family historians to join LostCousins instead, since standard membership (which includes the newsletter), is FREE?