Newsletter - 8th February 2019

 

 

Competition success spans the world

ScotlandsPeople add an extra year's worth of records

Over 30 million pages from historic newspapers now online

Save 30% at British Newspaper Archive ENDS WEDNESDAY

Opinion: All Is True

What's it all about? Accuracy!

Research from the 'other side of the desk'

Something in common with Facebook

Safeguarding your privacy

Storm hits Houston

Discounts on DNA tests UPDATED

Lexicon

Adoption Matters

Baby found abandoned in freezing park

Review: Punctuation Without Tears

Follow-up: who was Kate Luard?

Peter's Tips

Stop Press

 

 

The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous newsletter (dated 24th January 2019) 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!

 

 

Competition success spans the world

Over 1800 members entered my New Year Competition, which must be the highest number of entries for any competition in the history of LostCousins. Between them they added so many relatives to their My Ancestors pages that the number of 'lost cousins' who found each other rocketed.

 

Tip: even if you didn't take part in the competition you may have been matched with a 'lost cousin', and itíll only take 15 seconds to find out whether you are one of the lucky ones. Simply log-in to your LostCousins account and click the Search button on your My Ancestors page; even if no new matches are reported check your My Cousins page, because there are thousands of members who have 'old' matches that they havenít acted on. Are you one of them?

 

Entries for the competition came from around the world, and the distribution of prizes was very much in line with the geographical distribution of the LostCousins membership: 2 of the top 4 prizes were won by members in the UK, 1 by a member in Australia, and 1 by a member in Canada.

 

Similarly, 5 of the 10 runners-up live in the UK, 2 in Australia, I in New Zealand, 1 in Canada, and 1 in the US. All 14 of the prize-winners have been notified and most are already enjoying the fruits of their efforts!

 

But it's not just the members who collected prizes who are the winners - hundreds of members have discovered new relatives during the period of the competition, or will do when they next log-in (see the Tip above). One industrious member has 16 'new contacts' - their family tree is going to be growing like Topsy!

 

Note: have you ever wondered where the phrase 'grow like Topsy' came from? Topsy was a female character in Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book that would probably be condemned as reinforcing racial stereotypes if it was published today, even though it was an anti-slavery novel.

 

 

Many thanks to Findmypast, British Newspaper Archive, Family Historian, and author Nathan Dylan Goodwin for generously providing such amazing prizes.

 

 

ScotlandsPeople add an extra year's worth of records

If you have Scottish ancestry there's a site that you simply can't ignore. Whilst ScotlandsPeople doesnít offer a subscription, you can get digital copies of historic birth, marriage, and death register entries for the equivalent of £1.50 each, far less than you would pay if your ancestors came from England or Wales.

 

Each January access opens up to a new year's worth of digitised registers - this year there are birth registers for 1918, marriage registers for 1943, and death registers for 1968 (around 200,000 new entries in all).

 

One of the entries is for Muriel Sarah Camberg, born 1st February 1918, and better known as the author Muriel Spark - I invited Dame Muriel to join LostCousins when we started in 2004 and she sent me a very nice reply (which I still have).

 

 

Over 30 million pages from historic newspapers now online

The British Newspaper Archive has reached a significant milestone - there are now over 30 million pages in the archive and, by my calculations, not far short of 400 million articles in total.

 

Though covering the period from 1710-2007, the archive really comes into its own in 1855 when the abolition of the Newspaper Stamp Duty (which took effect from 1st July in that year) led to rapid growth in the number of newspapers and in their circulations.

 

So many of the stories sent in to me by members include newspaper cuttings - often they provide vital clues to our ancestors' lives, recording the sort of information that would never be recorded in official records. For example, I found my uncle's exam results, and discovered that one distant cousin had been fined for speeding, whilst another had been sued for divorce.

 

Reading a local paper from a century ago can also help to provide a better perspective on our ancestors' day to day lives - it may even prompt memories of stories that we were told in childhood, or explain the background to the ephemera that we discovered in the attic. And as so often happens, one thing will lead to another - itís a veritable treasure trove!

 

 

Save 30% at British Newspaper Archive ENDS WEDNESDAY

If you have a Pro or Ultimate subscription to Findmypast you'll already be familiar with the breadth of the newspaper archive, but you may not realise that searching at the British Newspaper Archive is much more powerful. For example, you can restrict your search to articles added to the archive between specific dates - this avoids the problem of having to plough through hundreds of search results you've seen before in the hope of finding a handful of new ones.

 

Until midnight London time on Wednesday 13th February you can save a hefty 30% on the cost of a 12 month subscription to the British newspaper Archive - bringing the cost down to little more than £1 a week. Please use this link so that you can support LostCousins, and enter the code BNA30MIL so that you can secure your 30% saving.

 

Note: there are also savings on shorter subscriptions, but over the course of year they'll work out 2 or 3 times more expensive (since the discount only applies to the first payment). Do the sums before making your decision!

 

 

Opinion: All Is True

A new film about William Shakespeare, starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh, focuses on a period of Shakespeare's life that has previously come in for little attention - his retirement from London to his home and family in Stratford-upon-Avon.

 

It's unlikely that any dramatic work ever tells the whole truth, nor is every part that is told completely true, and this film is no exception - see this scholarly review by an Oxford professor. But when we go to the cinema or theatre, we expect to be entertained, and an element of poetic licence (or licentiousness) is to be anticipated. I doubt that Shakespeare's history plays are any more accurate than this movie - they were, after all, written to please the monarch of the day.

 

However, when we come to write our own histories, the stories of our ancestors, weíre not generally writing to entertain others - isn't our mission primarily to inform our relatives by recording our discoveries in more readable format.?

 

I, for one. feel very uncomfortable about the use of invented dialogue, or the suggestion that a particular ancestor "must have felt" like this or that, when our modern lives are so far removed from theirs that most of us cannot possibly comprehend how they would have responded.

 

Whilst I enjoy reading genealogical mysteries - as I know many of you do - itís the modern day storyline that fascinates me, because I can put myself in the shoes of the hero or heroine, and challenge myself to solve the puzzle. The historical thread of the book is merely a device to inform, and perhaps, tantalise the reader - it would be possible, though probably not nearly as entertaining, for us to uncover the solution in the same way as the investigator.

 

If you are writing a book about your ancestors try to separate fact from fiction - the present generation might not thank you for it but, believe me, future generations will. Are you writing for posterity or for pleasure? If you can do both without compromising youíre a better writer than the Bard!

 

 

What's it all about? Accuracy!

There are many ways to connect with people who might be relatives, but there's only one site that aims for 100% accuracy - LostCousins. There hasn't been a single occasion since the site opened in 2004 when the matching algorithm has failed, and only a few dozen cases where - because a member had identified the wrong family on the census - two members were matched when they shouldnít have been.

 

You might think it strange that on the one hand I talk about accuracy, yet on the other you're instructed to enter what the transcript says, even when itís wrong.

 

Note: this only applies to the 1880/81 censuses - for other census years you're asked to enter what the householder or enumerator wrote down.

 

It's all about money - your money. And cousins - your cousins. The 1880/81 censuses that we use were all transcribed by volunteers on behalf of the LDS church, which means they're all available online completely free of charge. Using this free data as our key source allows everyone with an Internet connection to access the data, irrespective of their means (and in the days when many were dependent on dial-up connections it also saved a lot of time compared to downloading images).

 

We now use a total of 9 censuses, covering 7 countries (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Newfoundland, and the US). 7 of those 9 censuses are free online, including at least one from each country.

 

Note: apologies to Burt Bacharach and the estate of the late Hal David for plagiarising the first line of their wonderful song.

 

 

Research from the 'other side of the desk'

We might not spend as much time visiting records offices as we did 10 years ago, but when we do we're often reliant on the experience and knowledge of the archivist(s). But whatís it like being on the other side? This fascinating article by an archivist allows you to walk in their shoes.....

 

 

Something in common with Facebook

Both Facebook and LostCousins are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year, so I thought it would be interesting to offer my perspective on what the two sites offer.

 

Facebook is designed to help you keep in touch with the people you know, even if you may have lost contact over the years - whereas LostCousins connects cousins who didnít know of each other's existence.

 

Facebook users often share the minutest details about their lives - at LostCousins all you find out is the name of your cousin, which relatives you've both entered from the census, and whether your cousin has already taken a DNA test, or is considering it.

 

Facebook shows you targeted advertising based on algorithms that analyse you and your friends - advertising slots are sold to the highest bidders; at LostCousins everyone sees the same advertisements, almost all of which are for products or services that I've bought personally and can thoroughly recommend.

 

Facebook gets paid just for showing adverts, but at LostCousins the advertisers only pay when members buy something (or, occasionally, when they sign up for a free trial).

 

It's hard to be a regular Facebook user without people finding out your birthday, and your age, or knowing who your friends are - at LostCousins we don't even know when your birthday is, or how old you are.

 

At Facebook people expect to see a photo - the clue is in the name - and even non-members of the site might be able to see your profile photo. But at LostCousins there are no photos, and even at the LostCousins Forum (where there are profile photos) members use a photo from childhood, or a photo of an ancestor, so there is no chance of them being identified.

 

Although people share photographs and stories on Facebook they're usually quickly forgotten (at least, until you apply for a job, or stand for public office); at LostCousins we share information

about our ancestors which is valued and recorded in our family trees or other archives.

 

But there is one thing the two sites have in common - in each case the typical user is around the same age as the founder. It's just that I'm twice the age of Mark Zuckerberg.....

 

Note: as I was writing this newsletter I read that a British government minister has called for ther full force of the law to be used against social media companies if they fail to remove content that is harmful to children or vulnerable people - I saw it in The Times, but it has been widely reported elsewhere.

 

 

Safeguarding your privacy

Is your journey really necessary? This World War 2 poster campaign reminds me of the key principles of data protection - is it necessary to collect information, is it necessary to keep it, and is it necessary to disclose it?

 

When I created LostCousins 15 years ago I was determined that members should have control over their own information, and that's exactly how it works - even after you've been matched with another member they canít see what you have entered. All they know is which of the relatives they have entered on their own My Ancestors page also appear on your page (and in broad terms how each of you are related to each of them, ie direct ancestor, blood relative, marriage etc).

 

It's up to the members who have been matched to decide what information, if any to share with their new-found relatives. But even if you wanted to, you couldnít press a button and give your 'lost cousin' access to the information you've entered.

 

Interestingly, companies that offer DNA tests to genealogists have a very similar system. Even after you have been matched with a genetic cousin you can't see their raw DNA results - all you know is which segments of your DNA match which segments of theirs.

 

Where LostCousins and the DNA test providers part company to an extent is that some of them allow their users to upload public family trees. But it isnít compulsory to do this at any of the major sites - itís entirely up to each user. (Personally I prefer sites like Ancestry which give their users the choice of having a public tree or a private tree - better a private tree than no tree at all!)

 

People who havenít tested their DNA often donít realise how little information they would be revealing if they were to test - a typical autosomal DNA test looks at just one-fortieth of 1% of the 3 billion pairs of bases in the subject's DNA, and almost all matches with cousins involve common segments which total less than 1% of the DNA that has been tested. It's a minuscule fraction of the information in your DNA.

 

It IS possible to download your raw data from the company that tested your DNA and share it with anyone you choose, but that is entirely YOUR decision. It's also possible at some sites to give other users full access to your DNA account - but this is a feature that should only be used to allow a family member or trusted adviser to manage a test.

 

People who get het up over supposed breaches of privacy related to DNA testing are often making a mountain out of a molehill. There are important issues, it's true, but we need to keep things in proportion.

 

 

Storm hits Houston

Companies that offer DNA tests, but also allow uploads of data from their competitors are more likely to be used by investigators trying to track down criminals. Last year GEDmatch (which doesn't offer tests, but allows uploads of autosomal tests from every other major provider) made its position clear, and now Bennett Greenspan, the founder of Family Tree DNA (based in Houston, Texas), has written to users explaining the company's position - you can read the letter here.

 

Not everyone is happy about the situation, but the reality is that we give away DNA samples every day just going about our everyday lives. If somebody really wanted to get their hands on our DNA it wouldn't be difficult - but why would anyone bother? DNA is full of clues to our ancestry, but to construct a family tree based purely on DNA would be pretty difficult - and why go to these lengths, when so many people publish their tree online for anyone to see?

 

That's why I feel that family historians ought to be more cautious about publishing their trees online - they give away far more personal information than our DNA. For example, if you're English and have a public tree at Ancestry (even under a pseudonym), other users could well find out your name and address simply by using the GRO indexes and the electoral registers (just so long as your surname isn't too common).

 

Combine it with information from the Land Registry through the RightMove website and they can find out when you bought your house, how much you paid for it, and how big it is. Go to Google Streetview and they can probably see the frontage of your house - they might even find out what car you drive. Switch to aerial view and now they can see your back garden.

 

And they could probably do this not just for you, the person who published the tree, but also for your siblings, cousins, and maybe your children and parents too. All without resorting to Facebook or LinkedIn....

 

So, in my view, when it comes to the privacy of family historians and their families, DNA isnít very high on my list of concerns - and I donít think it's something you need to lose sleep over, either. But public family trees are something that you need to think very carefully about, because you're not only compromising your own security, but that of your nearest and dearest.

 

 

Discounts on DNA tests

Family Tree DNA are currently discounting their Family Finder (autosomal) DNA tests - the price is reduced from $79 to $59 (plus shipping in either case).

 

But I generally recommend Ancestry DNA because they have a much larger database, and whilst it might be more skewed towards North American customers than the databases of some other providers, I've still found more cousins in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand through Ancestry than any other site.

 

Another key factor is that Ancestry do NOT accept transfers of results from other providers. If you want to search for genetic cousins in the world's biggest database - by far - there's only one way to do it, and that's to test with Ancestry.

 

Nevertheless, if you have recent ancestors from continental Europe you might want to consider the two big companies that sell their tests (almost) anywhere - Family Tree DNA and My Heritage, both of whom have Valentine's Day offers that have already commenced.

 

Family Tree DNA (worldwide) $59 plus shipping (reduced from $79) ENDED

 

 

My Heritage (UK) £69 plus shipping (free when you order 2 or more tests)

 

My Heritage (Australia) $89 plus shipping (free when you order 2 or more tests)

 

My Heritage (US) $69 plus shipping (free when you order 2 or more tests)

Note: please use the links or click the adverts in this newsletter to support LostCousins - it wonít cost you any more, but you'll be helping to keep this newsletter independent. I will update this article if new offers are announced before the next newsletter is published.

 

 

Lexicon

When I was young I was fascinated by the contents of my parents' bureau. One of the items stored there, but which we never used, was a Lexicon card game, produced by Waddingtons (you can see vintage examples here).

 

From now on I'm going to be publishing occasional articles about words and phrases whose origins seem lost in the mists of time - I think you'll find them as fascinating to read as I'm finding them to research and write.

 

 

Adoption Matters

The stories in this issue weren't written by the adoptee, an adoptive parent, or a birth parent - but another family member, Nevertheless, there's still a lot we can learn from them.

 

The first tale is a very sad one - but itís not nearly as sad as when I first heard it last year, because Geoff, the member concerned was, through dogged research, eventually able to identify the couple who adopted the child:

 

"A great-aunt of mine, Edith Birkett, became pregnant while still a teenager in 1898, soon after her family had emigrated to Johannesburg - the father was a miner, who immediately disappeared from her life.

 

"Her father (my great-grandfather) reputedly tried to horsewhip her, but had the whip turned on him by her. She was not allowed to have the child in Johannesburg, but was sent to England with Mary Ann Birkett, her stepmother, while still pregnant. The boy was born and baptized on board ship (the SS Narrung, sailing between Australia and England), off the coast of West Africa, and was given the name of the ship for his middle name.

 

 

"I originally guessed that he might have been placed with relatives either of the family or of the stepmother, but found after searching that this was not the case. In fact he was adopted by a childless gas fitter and his wife, not - so far as I can tell - related to the family in any way.

 

"Mary Ann, the stepmother, must have had her work cut out to arrange this so quickly over Christmas and New Year 1898/99: they docked in England in November 1898 and sailed back to South Africa in March 1899 (accompanied on the voyage by a 20-year-old nephew of hers, apparently only for moral support).

 

"There may well have been a payment to the adoptive parents, besides the cost of travel for Mary Ann, Edith, and the nephew - so my great-grandfather must have incurred a big financial cost. But the emotional loss to Edith, my great-aunt, was clearly much greater. We have an ancient commonplace book of hers (inherited from previous owners in the early 19th century), and once back in South Africa she copied verses with a distinctly personal ring into it.

 

"The Second Boer War broke out in October of that year, and the entire family became refugees, as Johannesburg was in Boer territory and all foreigners were obliged to leave. War was declared by the Boer republic on 11 October 1899; the deadline for departure was 18 October, and they left on 16 October, by which time only open trucks were available on the railways. They left most of their possessions in their house in Johannesburg, and this was damaged some months into the war, in a huge explosion in central Johannesburg on 24 April 1900, then stripped by looters.

 

"I doubt my great-aunt and her two sisters ever forgave their father for uprooting them from England, one way and another. After his death - he was run over by a tram in 1918 - the whole family moved away from Cape Town, but Edith stayed, living entirely alone, and she never married, dying in 1946.

 

"Meanwhile John Narrung Routledge grew up and fought in the Great War before marrying and producing a family. He initially followed in the footsteps of his adoptive father, becoming a gas fitter, but he eventually became chief clerk in Carlisle Corporation.

 

 

"It seems unlikely that there can have been any contact between him and his birth mother, or other members of his birth family."

 

After sending me that updated version of the story Geoff discovered that Tina, John's grand-daughter, was one of this DNA matches at Ancestry - so at long last the two sides of the family had been reunited!

 

The second story comes from the US - and DNA was once again a factor. All of the names have been changed:

 

"It was the week from hell: I crashed my car, the vet diagnosed my beloved cat with a heart condition, my uncle died, my apartment flooded, and now I had this document in my hands. I felt devastated!

 

"We knew my dadís mother was a floozy - Grandpa Blake divorced her for running around with other men. Sheíd divorced multiple times before her death at age 39 Ė all back in the Ď30s when divorce was rare. But never had we suspected this!

 

"As part of my genealogy research Iíd googled her name and discovered a marriage licence application for the year before my dadís birth. However, Iíd never heard this groomís name! Yet the following yearís census showed the 17-year-old groom at home with his parents and my dadís mother nowhere in sight. Maybe the wedding fell through and sheíd married Grandpa Blake instead? I ordered the document to see if the marriage had occurred or not.

 

"I received a licence for a marriage to a Mr Richards. Yes, theyíd married Ė 36 weeks before my dadís birth. Since conception to full-term birth averages 38 weeks, either my dad was a honeymoon baby born two weeks premature, or his mother had been pregnant on her wedding day. And what woman knows sheís pregnant at only two weeks? Maybe sheíd slept with Grandpa Blake and Grandpa stepped in when Mr Richards discovered the child wasnít his? Or, perhaps Grandpa Blake wasnít my real grandfather?

 

"Eventually, I found Mr Richardsí name in his brotherís second wifeís family tree on Ancestry. She said, yes, Mr Richards had married my dadís mother and she bore a child. But theyíd divorced and Mr Richards had remarried. Mr Richards had died around 1973 and his sister-in-law gave me the names of some of the children from Mr Richardsí second marriage, but she knew nothing of Grandpa Blake.

 

"Iíd waited to be certain before I informed my family of this discovery. However, Mr Richards appeared to be my dadís biological father instead of Grandpa Blake, so I called my parents. 'I know what I want for my birthday Ė a DNA test.' My mom reacted: 'What?!'

 

"I explained my discovery and the possibility of contact with some of Mr Richardsí other children. A DNA test could reveal Mr Richards as my dadís father. My dad didnít say much, but did agree to a DNA test. We hung up.

 

"Within minutes my mom called back. Sheíd googled Mr Richardsí name, and discovered a Mr Richards, Jr. Iíd just moved 4,000 miles across the country and Junior lived only 30 miles from my new home! Facebook revealed this oldest son from the second marriage, who called himself Greg. This man looked just like my dad, and there was a business phone number, too!

"I called him: 'You donít know me, but your dad may have married my dadís mother before he married your mother.' Greg replied, 'I knew I had an older brother - is his name Spike? I think his nameís Spike.' I said, 'No, that was the dogís name. His name is Rob.'

 

After a short conversation Greg gave me his sisterís number: 'She knows more about the family. Call her.'

 

"Gregís sister, Jane, said, 'Oh, Iíve searched for our brother, but could never find him. Is his name Robert Ricardo Richards?' I said, 'No, itís Robert Ricardo Blake.' But despite the surname difference, I knew we were talking about the same person. Jane asked, 'Is your father still alive? I know he had health issues as a child.' There was no way she could have known that without legitimate knowledge of my dad.

 

"I asked Jane, 'Do you know why your dad left my dadís mother?' 'Oh, he found her in bed with another man.' Ah! The right grandma! Jane even knew my dadís motherís name.

 

"Then, the genetic tooth anomaly question. No one in Grandpa Blakeís line nor my dadís motherís branches knew of anyone with a baby tooth without an adult tooth underneath, like my dad had passed down to me and my brother. But when I asked Jane, she said, 'Oh, yes, my sister has that.' I no longer required a DNA test as genetic proof!

 

"Jane then emailed a picture of her father. She didnít say which of the two men in the picture showed her father. However, I instantly recognized which man looked just like my dad.

 

"Jane also sent me a family medical history. Her father, as well as five of the seven kids from the second marriage had experienced cancer. My dad said, 'Iím not sure I want to be a part of that family!' However, I found the medical history to be invaluable since Iíd already experienced pre-cancerous conditions for two of the cancers listed.

 

"While waiting for the DNA results, my dad discovered Grandpa Blake had lived in a distant state during the time of my dadís conception and birth. So that ruled out the theory that my dadís mother slept with Grandpa Blake before or during the marriage to Mr Richards.

 

"The DNA results showed that Greg and my dad shared around 25% of their DNA - exactly what you would expect for half-siblings. But my dad said Grandpa Blake was the man who raised him, so my dad would always consider Grandpa Blake as his father.

 

"My dad later discovered many of Grandpa Blakeís clan knew my dad had been adopted. However, Grandpa Blake swore heíd never tell my dad (I already knew heíd never told his three daughters from his second marriage that their mother wasnít my dadís mother and the girls only found out by accident when the youngest was 17!). Grandpa said heíd carry that information to his grave. And to the grave Grandpa went without confessing, even when during his last year of life someone in the know asked probing questions on video.

 

"At first Greg and Jane interacted with my dad frequently, but eventually the emails and phone calls died down. My dad thought the novelty had worn off and felt they shared nothing in common since they hadnít grown up together. However, since I live so close to Greg, he and I see each other frequently and talk on the phone almost daily.

 

"So, imagine you are 79 years old and you just heard for the first time that you were adopted?! However, I'm certain my dad was better off as things worked out. Iím grateful Grandpa Blake adopted my dad and took custody after the divorce. Iím so glad my dad is the man Grandpa Blake raised, and not the man Mr Richards might have raised. I am happy I am a Blake, even though I could have been a Richards!"

 

So, one family was reunited after nearly 80 years, the other after 120 years - isn't it wonderful what we can achieve when we turn our minds to it? There's so much negativity these days, especially in the mainstream media, that itís easy to forget how powerful positive thinking can be - given the chance to flourish!

 

There will be more stories in the Adoption Matters series in future issues.

 

 

Baby found abandoned in freezing park

At the end of January, as icy temperatures gripped Britain, a mother left her baby in a play area in Roman Road, East Ham. You can read more about this shocking story in this BBC News article.

 

In some countries there are baby hatches where mothers can abandon a child anonymously, but without endangering the life of the child - I wrote about these briefly in 2012, but you'll find more information in this Wikipedia article.

 

 

Review: Punctuation Without Tears

Punctuation isnít what it used to be. When I was at school we were taught that there were hard and fast rules (just as there supposedly were for spelling) but even during my lifetime punctuation has evolved.

 

For example, I was told that when typing one should always leave two spaces between the end of one sentence and the start of the next, but when word processing came in that went out of the window.

 

I still canít get out of the habit of using hyphens instead of dashes, and in truth there's a good reason to continue with my 'bad' habit - the HTML editors I use donít support them. I'm also a fan of the 'Oxford comma', which some people reckon is unnecessary, but to my mind it is all but essential - although, to be fair, this isnít what I was taught at school (it was something I picked up along the way).

 

I'm probably not going to change the way I punctuate as a result of reading this book, mainly because most of the recommendations match what I'm already doing. I've certainly cut down on my use of commas, although even now my wife usually deletes a couple when proofreading the newsletter - sometimes I acquiesce, sometimes I don't.

 

And it was good to know that itís OK to begin a sentence with 'and'. Or to write a sentence that doesn't include a verb. Hurrah! I found the book sensible in its advice, and it was good to know that if Shakespeare had been at school with me he wouldnít have scored very highly for his punctuation, which by modern standards is quite idiosyncratic.

 

I bought the Kindle version of this book, which was remarkably good value at a trifling £1.19 - the paperback is lot more expensive. Remember - you donít need to have a Kindle or even a tablet to read Kindle books, because there is a wide range of free reader software available from Amazon.

 

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

 

 

Follow-up: who was Kate Luard?

In the last issue I reviewed Unknown Warriors, the book compiled from the Great War letters home of nurse Kate Luard. At the end of the review I mentioned that I'd been unable to find her birth registration, and it seems that nobody else has been able to find it either.

 

It also appears that the births of some of her brothers and sisters weren't registered either - all a little strange, donít you think, considering this was the family of a vicar?

 

I wonder if there is more to the Luard family than meets the eye? I'm tempted to contact the author and former BBC journalist Tim Luard, Kate's great-nephew - but surely the combined brains of the LostCousins membership can figure it out? I shall start a discussion on the LostCousins forum - all contributions will be welcomed (it's much better to share your suggestions and discoveries there - don't send them to me).

 

 

Peter's Tips

If you can get hold of it, thinly sliced Black Forest Ham (Schwarzwšlder Schinken) is wonderfully versatile. For example, for breakfast or lunch start with half a muffin, spread it with low-fat Philadelphia, add a slice of Black Forest Ham, then top with a poached or scrambled egg - itís as delicious as Eggs Benedict, but much more healthy.

 

Or for a slightly-naughty, but very delicious, lunch start with a piece of baguette, a panini, or a slice of artisan bread, spread it with Brie or Camembert, add a slice or two of Black Forest ham, then top with a thin slice of low-fat mature cheddar, Heat in the oven until the cheese is gooey, and enjoy. Given the smoky taste of the ham, Lapsang Souchong tea is a wonderful accompaniment.

 

The other day I found some turkey (left over from Christmas) in the freezer, and decided to make risotto. I adapted a recipe for chicken & bacon risotto, using turkey and - you've guessed it - Black Forest ham, and when I realised I didnít have any chestnut mushrooms (or, indeed, any mushrooms at all) I raided the store cupboard for a vacuum pack of peeled chestnuts and used them instead. It was wonderful combination of flavours, and fairly healthy too.

 

 

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......

 

 

Although the competition is over, the opportunity to connect with cousins who are researching your ancestors is still there - simply complete your My Ancestors page, entering as many as possible of your relatives who were recorded in the 1881 Census. Remember, ALL of your living cousins are descended from the branches of your tree, so the more branches you track through to 1881 the more new cousins you'll find.

 

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Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins

 

© Copyright 2019 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?