Newsletter - 17th April 2015
Great news: half-price offer extended EXCLUSIVE
See your ancestors in colour COMPETITION
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 10th April) 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 use the customised Google search below (that's what I do):
Whenever possible links are included to the websites or articles mentioned in the newsletter (they are highlighted in blue or purple and underlined, so you can't miss them). 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 Chrome).
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!
Great news: half-price offer extended EXCLUSIVE
The response to the Findmypast offer I announced a week ago has been so good that I've been able to persuade them to extend the offer until the end of April!
Remember, apart from securing yourself a half-price Annual subscription, you can claim a free LostCousins subscription with my compliments, provided you use the special link when you subscribe (simply using the offer code is not sufficient, unfortunately, so send me an email if you run into problems).
You can save as much as £77 provided you act before midnight on Thursday 30th April - don't leave it till the last minute just in case you run into any problems and need my advice.
All the details, including the Terms and Conditions (which you ought to read), and the special links, are in my last newsletter - which you'll find here. Whilst this exclusive offer applies at all four Findmypast sites around the world, you must use the relevant link when subscribing.
Note: if you want to share news of the offer with friends or relatives who don't belong to LostCousins please send them a link to this newsletter. This will not only ensure that they have all the right information at their fingertips, it might encourage them to open a free LostCousins account, so they get their own copies of the newsletter in future.
Everyone knows that the 1921 Census is due for release in 2022, but did you know that there's another, much more recent, census that should be released around the same time?
The 1946 Family Census sampled less than 10% of the population, but for some of us it will fill in some gaps - and there might even be some revelations. Here's how this extra census is described on the National Archives site:
"In 1944 a Royal Commission on Population was appointed by royal warrant to examine the post war population trends in Great Britain, to investigate the causes of those trends and to consider what measures, if any, should be taken in the national interest to influence the future trend of population and make recommendations. Arrangements were made by the commission to take a sample family census in January 1946 because some of the most important demographic questions with which the commission was concerned could not be answered in any other way. There had not been a fertility census since 1911 and vital statistics under the Population Statistics Act dated only from 1938. The sample was representative of 10% of all women who were or had been married and 10% of those who did not say whether or not they were married and was drawn from the reference leaves of ration books returned to the food offices at the exchange of ration books in 1945.
"The sample was taken on 7 January 1946. Enumeration took place between 21 January and 16 February 1946 and the following questions were asked: marital status; date of birth; date of marriage and, if applicable, its termination; date of birth of every live born child; number of children who had not yet reached their 16th birthday; husband's occupation. The name of the recipient was on the reverse."
There's no mention of address, but presumably this must be in the records somewhere, otherwise the enumerators wouldn't have known where to go. According to the National Archives this unusual census is subject to 75 year closure, rather than the 100 year period that applies to normal censuses, but it's possible that the Data Protection Act might prevent some of the information from being released.
It's not exactly a census, but the surviving token books of St Saviour Southwark - which cover most of the period 1571-1643 - are not a bad substitute. Until I discovered this unusual online resource I hadn't even heard of token books, which recorded the purchase of communion tokens.
The Book of Common Prayer stated that everyone who had reached the age of 16 should take communion three times a year:
If you want to know more, there's a lot of information about tokens and the surviving records here, on the London Metropolitan Archives website - but most importantly you can view the token books for St Saviour online, and search them by name. There are about 130,000 entries - many of which will refer to the same people, of course - but it is the most complete record for any parish with such an early starting date.
Although you probably won't have ancestors who lived in the parish of St Saviour Southwark - at least, not ones that you have identified - you might be inspired to find out whether any similar records have survived for the parishes where your ancestors lived.
Lynne, who I met last month at Genealogy in the Sunshine 2015, kindly sent me some photographs that she took on her first day at the Show, so that I could share them with you. The first photo shows the 1939 Tea Room which Findmypast are using to promote their forthcoming release of the 1939 National Register (another member, Sheridan, tells me that the teas are very tasty and excellent value, though sadly they're not at 1939 prices!):
The next two pictures show some of the eminent speakers we listened to in Portugal - John Hanson, and Professor Rebecca Probert (who seems to have a new book out - I'll hopefully be able to tell you more in the next newsletter):
The date of next year's show has already been revised - it will take place from 7th-9th April (and not 28th-30th as previously announced). Once again it will be at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham. I hope to be there in person next year - perhaps I'll see you there?
You can access millions of immigration records at Ancestry.com completely free until Monday 20th April (though you will need to register to see the results). Click the link below to search for your relatives.
Free access to immigration records! 4/16-4/20
The Genealogist have been adding to their collection of tithe records and tithe maps, and to coincide with this week's show they have announced the addition of tithe maps for Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lancashire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire & Yorkshire together with tithe apportionments for Wales.
I haven't had a chance to look at the new records yet, but I'd certainly like to know about where my great-great-great grandmother was living in Hertfordshire - it would be wonderful to find out whether it is still standing today.
I don't have any Irish connections - that I'm aware of - but I know how difficult it is to carry out Irish research. I was therefore delighted to learn from LostCousins member Chris about this free index, which has over 175,000 entries.
The project aims to index all of the names that appear in the memorial books at the Registry of Deeds. The Registry of Deeds is located in Henrietta Street, Dublin, Ireland and is a repository of records of wills, land transactions in Ireland and other deeds from 1709.
I hate pay-to-view only websites, but when Scotlandspeople give away credits my stance softens a little. Thanks to an offer arranged by the Scottish Daily Record you can claim 20 free credits (said to be worth £4.50) - and it seems to apply to existing users as well as new ones.
Of course, like me you may have no Scottish ancestors - but bearing in mind that there were over 80,000 people on the 1881 Scotland census whose birthplace was given was England (plus thousands of others who named a specific county or town), and over 200,000 whose birthplace was given as Ireland, it's surely got to be worth claiming your credits just in case some of your missing relatives can be located north of the border?
You'll find details of the offer here.
Findmypast have today added nearly 2 million baptism, marriage, and burial records from Derbyshire parish registers. Although these records are already available at FamilySearch, if - like me - you find FamilySearch rather difficult to use, being able to search them at a different site could prove advantageous (it also means that some researchers will discover these records sets for the first time). These links below will take you direct to the relevant search pages:
Even if you find the record you're looking for at Findmypast, you'll need to go to FamilySearch to view the register pages - Findmypast only has transcriptions - and even at FamilySearch you can only view them when you are logged-in.
Tip: it's free to create a FamilySearch account, and you won't be pestered as a result of joining. This is the first time I've discovered images that I could only view by logging-in (there are other images that I can't view even if I am logged-in - that's because I'm not a member of the LDS Church).
Findmypast already had nearly 400,000 transcribed records from Derbyshire, which are still held as separate record sets (they were provided by Doncaster Family History Society). I haven't carried out a full comparison, but there are definitely records in the smaller collection that aren't included in the FamilySearch collection, even where both include the same parish. You'll find these record sets here:
Tip: I found these additional transcriptions by choosing 'A-Z of Record Sets' from the Search menu, then putting 'Derbys' in the Search box. I almost always research this way, so if you're not getting the results you want from your Findmypast searches I suggest you follow my lead.
Iceland's groundbreaking DNA study
Whilst many family historians can make their mind up whether or not to test their DNA, in Iceland one-third of the population has been tested, and the genomes of 2,636 people have been fully sequenced. By the end of next year, deCODE genetics (the company running the project) hopes to have decoded 20,000 entire genomes, about 6% of the population, and to have less detailed data on 150,000 people, almost half the population.
The company is looking for genetic differences that are linked to disease, and in the process they have discovered that 8% of the people they've tested have at least one gene that doesn't work.
This week I found the link to one of my Family Finder matches - a 3rd cousin once removed who shares my great-great-great grandparents.
Although one cousin doesn't make a family tree, there are some unique advantages to finding cousins through DNA. One is the validation it provides for our paper-based research - because no matter how carefully we investigate the records, there's always the possibility that the records are wrong; another is the way in which we can begin to reconstruct our ancestors' DNA.
For example, in this case my cousin and I share a large segment of DNA on Chromosome 2, as you can see:
Note: I've only shown the first 5 chromosomes, but as it happens that's where all of our matches occur.
If I discover that any of my other matches share this particular segment there will be a good chance that we're connected through the same line - so at least I'll know where to look.
Incidentally, the amount of DNA that I share with my 3rd cousin once removed is far higher than would normally be expected for that relationship, so after talking to DNA expert Debbie Kennett (another Genealogy in the Sunshine speaker, and author of The Surnames Handbook) I'm trying to find out if there are any cousin marriages that may have brought us (genetically) closer together.
Note: this table on the ISOGG site provides a very useful guide to the amount of DNA you might expect to share with a cousin, depending how close the relationship is.
This time it wasn't difficult to see how we connected, but it won't always be that easy, as I discovered when I investigated one of my other promising matches.....
I have another match that I've been following up this week. Once again there was a surname that stood out, but this time we didn't have the documentary evidence to demonstrate how we connect - so I've been trawling Findmypast's Canterbury Collection trying to find the connection.
Tracing back from 1807 I managed to get back one generation, but then ran into a problem - I couldn't find the next baptism. Fortunately there was a big clue - a very unusual forename, one that I felt sure must be derived from a surname. So my next step was to search for a marriage that involved both surnames - the one that appeared in both our trees, and the one that had been used as a forename.
I hit the jackpot - not only did I find such a marriage, the groom was someone who was already on my tree, the brother of my 6G grandfather. So at this stage it looks as if we may be related through my 7G grandparents - which would make us 8th cousins.
There's just one problem - if we really are 8th cousins, the match shouldn't have shown up at all. The ISOGG chart I linked to from the previous article shows that such distant cousins share so little DNA that it shouldn't even register as a match. Clearly I'll have to look for other connections!
Sue posted an interesting story on the LostCousins Forum this week:
"One of my Great Great Aunts on my mother's side had compiled a family tree which was totally believed by all her family and descendants.....until the current generation. My elder cousin started poking at the facts and discovered some 'embellishments' and flights of fancy when it came to our ancestors. I became interested and worked on it as well. The tree was a fairy tale based on (mostly) correct family names which was perpetuated in obituaries and oral stories handed down. Some of the older generation didn't believe us when we told them the truth and stuck to the line 'My Mother told me, so our ancestry must be true'.
"Sorting out this puzzle was enthralling and I was hooked! However it taught me early on to check, check and check again, cite sources and leave notes for future generations of anything I am even slightly unsure about."
It's a salutary tale - if you want to have a fairy-tale ending, make sure you don't have a fairy-tale beginning!
Note: admission to the LostCousins Forum is by invitation only - check your My Summary page to find out whether you have been invited.
Although we all know how important it is to cite our sources, a lot of us struggle when it comes to census references, perhaps because very few of us have ever handled the original records. Because those references are absolutely crucial to the LostCousins system, I suspect that some members have been discouraged from entering relatives.
Fortunately it's now amazingly easy to check the references you've entered from the England & Wales censuses - in fact, it only takes one click. This means it's possible to check hundreds of entries in minutes, eliminating the possibility that you might miss a match because of an inadvertent error.
Look for the arrow symbol alongside the England & Wales entries on your My Ancestors page - it automatically carries out a census reference search at Findmypast and presents the results in a different browser tab (so that it doesn't interfere with what you're doing). The good news is that you don't need a Findmypast subscription for this to work - search results at Findmypast are free!
You probably wouldn't think of the information at FamilySearch as 'big data' - indeed, you might think the term sounds rather scary - but for historians who are trying to learn more about people who lived in centuries past, it's a god-send, as this article on the London School of Economics website explains.
See your ancestors in colour COMPETITION
Wouldn't it be great if you could take your digital camera back in time to your grandparents wedding? When my grandparents married in 1915 it was a simple affair - there was a war on, after all - so only one black and white photo survives to commemorate the day.
When James at Repixl was looking for a sample photograph to demonstrate the benefits of their new colourisation service, which will initially be offered only to readers of this newsletter, I jumped at the chance to send him this picture of my grandparents, Frederick and Mahala - and you can see immediately what an incredible difference the colour makes!
The Repixl artists have done a wonderful job of bringing the picture to life - it's almost like being there.
As you'll know from my last newsletter, Repixl are running a competition for LostCousins members - all you need to do is submit a digitised photo of your ancestors, together with a few sentences that explain why it's so special to you. 10 lucky winners will get a free colourisation after the competition closes on 30th April - and you could be one of them!
Thinking of publishing an ebook?
There was a time when self-publishing was better known as vanity publishing - but these days self-published books can be every bit as good as conventionally published titles, especially when they're published electronically.
But whereas you might once have delivered a sheaf of typewritten pages to a publisher, these days you're more likely to submit a Word file. You'd think that turning a Word file into a Kindle book would be easy - but, as I've recently discovered, there are all sorts of pitfalls to avoid. Some of these arise because there are so many Kindle models, some because of quirks in Word, and some because of inconsistencies between Word and Kindle. I'm sure most of us have bought Kindle books where things just didn't look right...
This week I read a book that all aspiring Kindle publishers should read: From Word to Kindle by Aaron Shepard. It costs under £1, so it was hardly a big investment, but even if I never publish a Kindle book it was worth it for what I learned about Word. In fact, I'll save about 10 minutes every time I write a newsletter from now on, and whilst that isn't a long time, when you multiply that by the 25-30 issues I publish each year it's a very worthwhile saving.
Reading it I was reminded of the old joke, where a stranger asks a local the best way to his destination, only to be told "I wouldn't start from here if I were you". In other words, don't wait until you have a Word file that you want to convert to an ebook before buying and reading this book - you'll find it 10 times easier if you follow the advice when you create the Word document in the first place.
Many of the attendees at Genealogy in the Sunshine 2015 rented cars (it's so cheap at that time of the year - I paid less than £5 a day) and most of them had brought their satnavs with them, so that they could find their way around more easily.
I'd be lost - literally - without my TomTom, but I thought the trick they tried to pull recently was a bit mean. My annual map subscription came up for renewal, and the email reminder I received last month offered a 40% discount, reducing the cost from £59.95 to £35.97 but stating "This exclusive offer is only available via this email". Fortunately I didn't act immediately - I'd just downloaded a new map, and the next update wasn't going be available until May - so it was only yesterday that I decided to act.
The first thing I did was check how much I paid last year. Hmmm.... I discovered that last year I got a 50% reduction, so maybe 40% wasn't as generous as it sounded? So I thought I'd log-on to the TomTom website to see what price I'd be quoted if I didn't use the link in the email:
Whoops! It turned out that I could save even more by NOT taking up the 'exclusive' offer in the email. It just shows that you have to keep your wits about you. (Most of the satnavs on sale now, including TomToms, come with life-time maps, and some of them also come with life-time traffic information - a far better arrangement, I think.)
Although there's an area on the LostCousins Forum called Anything BUT genealogy there are two things that are banned from the discussions - religion and politics. Right now, with the British General Election less than 3 weeks away, it's probably just as well - since one person's aspirations can be another person's nightmare.
However, I'm going to slightly overstep the boundary just for a moment, because there were two big stories in the news yesterday which involved politicians, and I found it amazing that nobody seems to have perceived any links between them.
First we had the announcement that the alleged child-abuser Grenville Janner - a member of the House of Lords since Tony Blair came to power in 1997 - won't be prosecuted, because at the age of 86 his dementia would prevent him from getting a fair trial. Then we had the announcement that the former pornographer Richard Desmond has donated £1 million to one of the smaller political parties (the leader of which is against immigration from Europe, even though his own great-great grandparents arrived from Germany 150 years ago!).
No doubt some will argue that there is no connection between pornography and child-abuse, but I nevertheless felt distinctly unhappy about this awkward juxtaposition of events.
Now back to genealogy - thank goodness! Malcolm wrote to let me know that if you're in the UK you can currently buy Family Tree Maker World Edition - which includes a free 6 month World subscription to Ancestry.co.uk - for £53.99, which compares very favourably with the normal cost of a World Subscription (£19.99 for 1 month, or £179.99 for 12 months). I've never used the software, but I have taken advantage of previous similar offers just to get an Ancestry subscription. This link will take you to the right page at the Amazon site.
This is where I'll post any last minute additions.
© Copyright 2015 Peter Calver
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