Newsletter – 27th November 2020



Celebrate with the British Newspaper Archive SAVE 25%

When was the first Black Friday?

Last chance to save on Ancestry DNA ENDS MONDAY

Whiskey galore

Don't just hope, check!

Would you like to work on the 2021 England & Wales census?

Scottish monumental inscriptions go online

Peter's Tips

Stop Press



The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 22nd November) 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!



Celebrate with the British Newspaper Archive SAVE 25%

Ten years ago the British Newspaper Archive was created to bring the British Library's enormous collection of historic newspapers to the people - not just family historians, but also local historians, social historians, and other researchers.


In 2010 the goal was to digitise 40 million pages over the following 10 years – and this month the British Newspaper Archive reached that target. But they're not stopping, they're going to keep going, and that's why it’s so useful to be able to restrict your searches to articles added after a particular date – and why I wish other websites would provide a similar option for searches of their records.


You can access the same newspapers if you have a Findmypast Pro or Ultimate subscription, but Findmypast doesn’t provide the same search capabilities. If searching British newspapers is an important part of your research, it's worth paying a little more.


Right now you can save 25% on any British Newspaper Archive subscription using the code SAVE25 – but the reduction only applies to your first payment, so if you can afford a 3 or 12 month subscription the saving will be much higher, especially since the longer subscriptions always work out much cheaper (12 months at the discounted rate costs less than 5 months at the monthly rate). All subscriptions renew automatically by default, but you can change this.


However you'll only be supporting LostCousins if you use the link below, or the advert above (if you can see it):


British Newspaper Archive – SAVE 25% until 30th November with SAVE25





When was the first Black Friday?

The term Black Friday has been used many times over the years – it is only relatively recently that it has come to refer to the day after Thanksgiving, a uniquely American celebration (though the first celebrants were English colonists).


One of the earliest references I found was in The Ipswich Journal of 22nd March 1788, where it is explained as referring to the day each year when the freemen of [Great] Yarmouth were able to ask questions about items and balances in the accounts of the corporation (the local council).


(Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Used by kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive)


More recently the term was used by Mrs Pankhurst, the suffragette, in a court case reported in the 24th May 1912 issue of Votes for Women. But there are many other ways in which the term has been used over the years, and whilst you might find some of them by Googling, searching historic newspapers is likely to provide wider, more historically-focused results.



Last chance to save on Ancestry DNA ENDS MONDAY

Irrespective of which site you prefer to use when searching records, there's only one provider of autosomal DNA tests that you should be considering. Ancestry not only has the largest database by far, the only way to get access to the database is to test with Ancestry – most other providers allow uploads of raw data from other companies.


But that's not the only reason Ancestry is ahead of the field – they have an even larger collection of family trees, and ThruLines makes use of these trees to help you knock down your 'brick walls'. If you have an Ancestry subscription you'll also benefit from Common Ancestors, which combines multiple trees to show how you are related to DNA matches – in other words you’re not dependent on recognising the names in the tree of your match, which in some cases might only go back two or three generations.


Of course, Ancestry trees aren't always correct, but when there's a DNA connection it increases the chances that the tree makes sense. Nevertheless there's still plenty for you to do – but the whole process is made so much easier by Ancestry doing what they're good at.


Currently Ancestry have their lowest prices of 2020 in both the UK and Australia/New Zealand – but these Black Friday offers are due to end on Monday 30th November. Bear in mind that there is no need to decide who will be testing before placing your order - autosomal tests are suitable for both males and females – but you should aim to test people from the earliest surviving generations, even if they are not in your direct line. For example, if your parents have passed away but they have surviving siblings, their DNA will be far more useful than your own. And you should usually only consider testing your offspring if you have spare cash and are trying to interest them in family history.


Please use my links so that you can support LostCousins when you make your purchase. If you don’t see the discounted price at first, log-out from your Ancestry account and click the link a second time. (UK only) – reduced from £79 to £49 (plus shipping) until 30th November (Australia/NZ only) – reduced from $129 to $85 (plus shipping) until 30th November


Shipping works out cheaper when you buy multiple tests – I always stock up at this time of the year because that way I can afford to test more cousins over the succeeding 12 months. Some of them end up as Christmas presents, of course…..



Whiskey galore

A New York family who had been told their house was built by a bootlegger discovered 66 bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey hidden in the walls. In my experience most discoveries during home renovation are unwanted and expensive to resolve – but these bottles could fetch up to $1000 each, according to this CNN article.


The article reminded me of an incident almost 40 years ago (when I was a rich young software publisher – those were the days!). I'd just committed to buying a house when the sellers admitted that the previous owner, a gentleman of dubious character, had been found dead in the swimming pool, and that 10 years earlier the police had searched the house unsuccessfully looking for ill-gotten gains. Fortunately there were no skeletons in the closet – but nor did I discover any hidden treasure.



Don't just hope, check!

When you enter relatives from the British censuses on your My Ancestors page you can quickly and easily check that the census references are correct by clicking the grey arrow symbol. If you do this after entering the first person in a household there will only be one entry to alter in the event that you've made a mistake.


The checking arrows can also be used to check the names and dates of birth that you've entered, but please bear in mind that the search results shown are based on the transcript, whereas in 1841 and 1911 you should use the handwritten census as your source – so if there's a minor discrepancy between your entry and the search results it won't necessarily be you that has made a mistake.


Why the difference in the way we use different censuses at LostCousins? My aim has always been to use free census information so that cousins around the world can connect irrespective of means – and 7 of the 9 censuses we use are free online. If only the indexed transcript is free, we use that. If neither the images nor the transcripts are free, as in the case of the 1841 and 1911 censuses, we use the images.


Of course, you don’t have to remember any of this – the Add Ancestor and Edit Ancestor forms show the relevant information for each census.


Note: you can check your entries using the arrows at any time, but obviously the sooner you correct any errors, the better.


Would you like to work on the 2021 England & Wales census?

There are still lots of vacancies for census workers, and the good news is that in many cases the work won't commence until mid-March at the earliest, so if you're concerned about COVID-19 (as you should be) it’s likely that many of the most vulnerable members of the population will already have been vaccinated.


When I worked as an enumerator in 1971 it was a case of tramping the streets, but things have changed quite a bit since then! For more details of the vacancies and the duties involved please visit:


Please note that applications for census area support roles close today (Friday 27th), though might be extended if there are still vacancies in some areas. Closing dates for other jobs are further away.


Personally my thoughts for 2021 are less about vacancies, and more about vaccines and vacances (if you'll excuse my French) - 2020 has been a very tough year for many of us, and there are only so many 12-hour days I can manage. But I really enjoyed working on the census half a century ago, so if you or any of your family are able to get involved, it's a great opportunity to play a part in what might be the last census of its kind – apart from the admin and managerial posts there are tens of thousands of jobs 'in the field'.



Scottish monumental inscriptions go online

Just as I was finalising this newsletter I learned that Findmypast have added over a million Scottish monumental incriptions – please follow this link to find out more.



Peter's Tips

There are all sorts of offers around, but are they bargains? Some certainly are  this is the laptop I bought earlier this year for £549, but you can get it for £50 less (when they're back in stock). Even better – judging from the 5* Computer Shopper review - is the new Magicbook Pro, which they reviewed at £850, but is currently £50 cheaper (and in stock when I just checked).


I have to say that if the Pro had been available earlier this year when my old laptop was threatening to give up, I'd have been sorely tempted – it makes such a difference having a really fast computer (though even the one I did buy is slightly faster than my overclocked, water-cooled tower PC).


Losing data is every computer user's nightmare, and the best solution is to have backups - ideally multiple backups. This solution isn't going to be suitable for everyone, but at nearly 40% off for Black Friday week it's cheaper than many less capable alternatives. With a capacity equivalent to 800 Blu Ray discs, or nearly 5000 DVDs - but much, much faster - it's just what I need.


I'll update this article if I spot any other bargains that I think might be of interest, so check back occasionally (but remember to refresh the page).



Stop Press

This is where any major updates and corrections will be highlighted - if you think you've spotted an error first reload the newsletter (press Ctrl-F5) then check again before writing to me, in case someone else has beaten you to it......



Description: Description: peter_signature


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? To link to a specific article right-click on the article name in the contents list at the top of the newsletter.