Newsletter - 25th August 2016
Celebrate the Olympics with 33% off at Findmypast ENDS SATURDAY
Free access to Findmypast's Australian records ENDS MONDAY
Preview: The Spyglass File EXCLUSIVE
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 16th August) click here; to find earlier articles use the customised Google search below (it searches all of the newsletters since February 2009, so you don't need to keep copies):
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!
Team GB put in an amazing performance at the Rio Olympics, winning more medals than at any time since 1908, and securing 2nd place in the medals table. Now it's your opportunity to put in a superlative performance, not by leaping over hurdles but by knocking down 'brick walls'.
You can save almost one-third on Britain subscriptions at Findmypast.co.uk - and while this offer was supposed to end on Saturday it's still available right now (9pm on Monday)! For example, a 12 month Britain subscription - which provides virtually unlimited access to all Findmypast's British records, INCLUDING the 1939 Register, as well as their amazing collection of historic British newspapers - will cost just £80.37, equivalent to just 22p per day (the full price is £119.50).
Note: whilst you can also save one-third on a 1 Month subscription, the saving only applies to the first month - and the 1 Month subscription DOESN'T include the 1939 Register. All Findmypast subscriptions are renewed automatically unless you change the Continuous Membership setting (in the Personal Details section of My Account).
There's a similar offer at Findmypast.ie - a 12 month Ireland subscription providing access to all of Findmypast's Irish records will cost a mere €76.72, compared to the full price of €114.50
To take advantage of these offers (and support LostCousins) just click on the appropriate link below:
Note: these offers are for new and lapsed subscribers only - they do not apply to renewals.
I suggest you record the exact time of your purchase in case the email receipt from Findmypast doesn't arrive (if it hasn't arrived with 60 seconds then, take my word for it, it isn't coming). You'll need the precise time of purchase in order to claim your bonus - see the next article.
If you take out a new subscription to Findmypast using one of the links above then I'll reward you with a free LostCousins upgrade (paid for by the commission we receive from Findmypast). Simply forward to me a copy of your email receipt from Findmypast, making sure that it shows the precise time and date.
Fittingly members who cross the line first will get the biggest rewards! Team GB won 27 Gold medals, so the first 27 members to claim will get a 12 month subscription; they won 23 Silver medals, so the next 23 members to claim will get a 9 month subscription, and they won 17 Bronze medals to the next 17 members will get a free 6 month subscription. In the unlikely event that there are more than 67 members claiming then the remainder will get a 3 month subscription.
WARNING: if you use an adblocker, have disabled tracking in your browser, or use a link other than those above then sadly we won't receive commission from Findmypast and you won't qualify for your bonus.
Your LostCousins upgrade will commence from the day you purchase a qualifying Findmypast subscription - unless you're already a LostCousins subscriber, in which case I'll extend the expiration date.
Team GB won a gold medal for synchronised diving - it was an amazing performance by Chris Mears and Jack Laugher. Watching it reminded me how often cousins are simultaneously searching for the same records, or trying to knock down the same 'brick walls'.
But there are no prizes for synchronised searching - quite the reverse, in fact. We're likely to make better progress when we co-ordinate our research with our cousins so that we're not going over the same ground.
Of course, co-ordination depends on communication, which means that we need to find our cousins first - and this is where LostCousins can help. Finding your cousins through the 1881 Census is easier now than it has ever been - but I can only connect you with your cousins based on the entries on your My Ancestors page.
Because cousins come from collateral lines - indeed, that's what makes them cousins - the relatives most likely to connect you to your 'lost cousins' are the members of your ancestors' extended families. So don't stop when you've entered your direct ancestors from the 1881 Census - add their brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and cousins.
Free access to Findmypast's Australian records ENDS MONDAY
Until midnight (AEST) on Monday 29th August you can get free access to all of Findmypast's 70 million Australian records simply by following this link (you'll need to register, if you haven't already done so, but you won't be required to enter your credit card details).
Finding the burial places of our ancestors, even relatively recent ancestors, can be very challenging - because in Britain a person's final resting place wasn't specified on their death certificate (update: some early Scottish certificates do give this information). Indeed, the certificate won't even tell you whether they were buried or cremated - and cremation has become increasingly popular since it was declared legal in 1884.
Although the Cremation Society was formed in London in 1874, the first person to be cremated in Britain was Jesus Christ - I'm referring, of course, to the illegitimate son of the Neo-Druid Dr William Price and his housekeeper. Restrained by outraged locals from burning the paraffin-doused body of the infant on a hilltop near the Welsh town of Llantrisant, Dr Price ended up in court, where he succeeded in convincing the judge that, as there was no statute which outlawed cremation, it must be legal.
Note: although I haven't yet found the birth and death of the infant in the GRO birth indexes, this unusual story is confirmed by a court report in the Banbury Advertiser on 21st February 1884 (you'll find it in the British Newspaper Archive at Findmypast).
However, as you'll see from this 2009 BBC article on cremation, it wasn't until 1902 that cremation was legally regulated. Since then the proportion of people choosing cremation has steadily climbed: according to a survey published last week, most Britons would opt for cremation, and 79% of them would prefer their ashes to be scattered (only 7% would want them to be kept).
The General Register Office is organising another informal meeting for stakeholders to discuss their plans for future products and services - which family historians hope will provide improved access to birth, marriage and death records for England & Wales.
Whilst I will be at the meeting, which takes place at the end of next week, I won't be able to disclose the outcome as attendees will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement. Whilst this may be frustrating for readers of my newsletter, I hope that simply knowing that the GRO are actively progressing the issue, and that I'll be there representing your interests, will give you some comfort.
People Count was the title of Muriel Nissel's fascinating 1987 history of the General Register Office, and it was an appropriate title because the censuses from 1841 onwards were carried out by the GRO (which is why most of them have an RG reference at the National Archives - for example, the 1921 Census, which we hope to see in January 2022, is RG15).
And people DO count when it comes to censuses, because the value of the census depends on the population being prepared to answer the questions truthfully, and to the best of their knowledge.
Yet, as readers of this newsletter will know, when family historians tried to persuade the Office for National Statistics (who are now in charge of the census) that the 2021 Census, quite probably the last ever England & Wales census, should include a single question of great interest to the historians of the future, we got the brush off. You can read a very comprehensive report here, on the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine website.
Of course it isn't possible to include in the census every question that members of the public might suggest, but wouldn't it be a good idea if this final census included at least ONE?
After all, if it wasn't for us, there wouldn't be a census!
The Summer Sale at Family Tree DNA is still continuing but I've just heard that it ends on Wednesday 31st August - so make sure you order your Family Finder test(s) before then. At $69, reduced from $99, it's the lowest price I've ever seen for an autosomal DNA test, and when you consider that they test around 690,000 base pairs it means you're getting 100 tested for every cent you pay.
At the current exchange rate the cost for a UK customer will be about £63 including shipping; when the price goes back up it will be about £86. (Update: I should make it clear that they sell worldwide - I gave an example in UK currency because two-thirds of the readers of this newsletter live in the UK)
Tip: you'll only be supporting LostCousins when you use this link or the one above (or an equivalent link in an earlier newsletter).
If you're not sure who should test I'll do my best to advise you - drop me an email, but make it quick!
This article was contributed by LostCousins member Peter King - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
My first tape recorder, reel to reel of course, I built from a kit in 1961.
To test it, I had my mother reciting poetry, father singing a song and my brother chatting. Mum & Dad liked doing amateur entertaining, proved by an entry in a local newspaper of 1923 (thanks to Findmypast). Those recordings I have until this day -and of course they're priceless. Christmas gatherings over a number of years were also recorded.
The day that I registered my father's death in 1967 was the day that my interest in Family History began; my mother had died 2 months before. Like so many of us, I had left it too late to ask them family history questions. Some years later, I recorded a chat with a WW1 comrade of my father's, who he met in France and was responsible for bringing him to Cornwall. That was an eye-opener!
My father was one of 7 siblings and as he moved from London to Cornwall, a lot of the relations came to Cornwall on holiday and that's how I met one of his sister's and many first cousins. I found more first cousins through my own research.
In the 70s and 80s my wife and I would go on holiday by car and visit or stay with relations, taking my big tape recorder with me and would chat to my first cousins and ask them about themselves and the family, helped by photos and other memorabilia. It became easier when the cassette recorder came on the market. Those earlier reel to reel recordings I gradually copied to cassettes and now from the cassettes I make CD's and send them to the next generation. A first cousin once removed in San Francisco, couldn't believe some of the things that her mother talked about with me. By the way, many of the relations came to stay with us.
You cannot separate family history from local history and so I recorded chats with family friends and colleagues who had left my birth area, as I had done. I even recorded a chat to one of my Dad's bosses. The last service in two of our local chapels and two researchers of my birth area from America visiting, I also recorded. An elderly family friend of many years, who used to live near where I was born, I drove around the area for two consecutive days and as we chatted in the car, I had a recorder going. His family love those recordings and I learnt a lot more local & family history.
On retirement, we travelled to Australia and a friend in Victoria had found me a new cousin just after we left home so I visited him and this time it was recording with a camcorder.
Over a period of about 40 years, I made nearly 100 recordings and spoke to first cousins & spouses from all my Dad's siblings and many relations on my Mother's side as well and indeed also my wife's family. I'm sitting on a huge Treasure Trove and often find out something new as I replay them. Most of the people that I've recorded are no longer with us. Material from the recordings has helped to turn my genealogy into family history.
Recording devices, even with video, are so small nowadays and inconspicuous that if you have the opportunity, go for it!
Originally published in 2006 when a handful of the contributors would still have been alive, this book now stands as a memorial to men and women whose remembrances are presented, without comment.
Rather than take us through the life of each person in turn, we get snippets - some a few pages long, most just a paragraph - which focus on a particular aspect of life in the Edwardian era (1901-10). Most are ordinary men and women - the only thing that distinguishes them is the fact that they survived long enough to record their reminiscences, unlike the many brothers and sisters who died as infants, the mothers who died in childbirth, or the men who were killed going about their work.
The chapters are thematic: under the headings 'Childhood', 'Work', 'Home', 'Daily Life', Travels & Excursions', 'Politics & Suffragettes, and 'Military' we learn about different aspects of Edwardian life - and from many different angles.
There have been many books of this type, but Lost Voices of the Edwardians extends to more than 400 pages, and has a very comprehensive index (which I found extremely useful). I bought a second-hand hardback copy from Amazon which cost me just £2.62 including delivery, but when it arrived it looked almost brand new, so I was extremely pleased. However it's also available on Kindle if you prefer.
Anne Harvey, the author of Bittersweet Flight is best known for the articles she writes for family history magazines, but when I reviewed her first book, A Suitable Young Man in January 2015 I was full of praise for the way in which she recreated the atmosphere of the mid-1950s (you can read that review here).
In Bittersweet Flight we meet many of the same characters, but the main character is different, which means that we begin to perceive some of the events of the first book from an alternative viewpoint. You don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this one, but it would be an awful shame if you missed out!
Both books are available in paperback format, but I read the Kindle versions (which are also cheaper). They're not genealogy mysteries, like many of the books that I read for pleasure, but they're just as enjoyable - family history is about people, after all!
As I came to the end of the book the only question in my mind was "Will there be another book in the series"? I certainly hope so, because the characters that Anne Harvey has created deserve another outing!
Update: I've just heard from Anne that she does plan at least one more book in the series - hurrah!
Note: you can support LostCousins when you buy these books (or any other Amazon items) using the links below:
Preview: The Spyglass File EXCLUSIVE
The new Morton Farrier genealogical mystery from Nathan Dylan Goodwin will be out on Thursday 1st September, but you can pre-order the Kindle version now if you follow this link.
But whilst it hasn't been published yet, I was privileged to be the first to receive a preview copy of the book - so I know that it's a real corker. In fact, the first page was so overwhelming that I had to stop for breath, and when I handed it to my wife to read she said it was the most powerful description of the Dunkirk evacuation that she'd ever read.
The Spyglass File is the 4th novel in the Morton Farrier series - and whilst you don't need to have read the first three books, why wouldn't you? You can see all of the books in the series, plus the novella that features LostCousins, if you follow this link.
When Jeni Stepien walked down the aisle on 6th August she was accompanied by the man who received her father's heart in 2006, after he died in a car crash - you can read more about this heart-warming story here.
But this wasn't the only donated organ in the news this month - a lady in County Durham still has her mother's kidney, which is going strong even though it's now 100 years old! Sue Westhead was just 25 when she was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1973, and her mother - then 57 - agreed to donate one of her own kidneys so that her daughter could live. I found this story on the BBC News website.
Also in the news was the bride in Wiltshire who had a ghostly image of her recently-deceased brother added to her wedding photos - it's not something I'd personally recommend, but you can see the outcome and read more the story here.
Coincidentally - or perhaps not - a joke about organ donation was voted the funniest of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. According to this BBC story Masai Graham won with the gag: "My dad suggested I register for a donor card, he's a man after my own heart."
But as a family historian I preferred the joke (relayed to me by a friend who attended the festival) about the failed conjuror who had two half-sisters....
In the 10 days since my last newsletter was published I've been busy picking blackberries and elderberries - and I've made loads and loads of jam, including one old favourite (Blueberry & Orange), and three that are new to me. The first new venture was a simple adaptation of the Blackberry & Elderberry jam that I made for the first time last year - this time I added the grated peel and juice of an orange, and I certainly feel it is an improvement.
The next experiment was an adaptation of a recipe for Spiced Blackberry & Apple jam which I found here - I added some sultanas, and upped the cinnamon, in order to give it a more Christmassy flavour. Finally, after potting most of the batch I added a couple of thinly sliced Scotch Bonnet chillies to the remaining mixture and heated it up again. The end product was somewhat milder than I expected - which was possibly a good thing!
Of course, I've not just been making jam - stewed Blackberry & Apple is delicious for breakfast with a spoonful or two of low fat natural yoghourt. And as the wild Shepherd's Bullaces are starting to ripen much of my spare time is going to be spent foraging and cooking for weeks to come!
Coopers of Stortford is a national company operating by mail order which just happens to be based in my nearest town - so I sometimes go to their shop to browse or pick up a household item or two. This weekend (from Friday 26th to Monday 29th) they are offering 15% off everything, but for mail order customers only. Follow this link and use the discount code IAW6H1
Finally, if - like me - you're wondering why it was 'Team GB' and not 'Team UK' which came second in the Rio Olympics there's a very detailed explanation here.
Friday 26th: you can get free access to Ancestry's UK & Ireland records until Monday 29th when you click here (although you'll need to register - if you haven't already done so - but you won't have to provide credit card or bank details). The offer only applies at Ancestry's UK site.
That's all for now - I'll be back next month with more news from the wonderful world of family history.
© Copyright 2016 Peter Calver
Please do not copy any part of this newsletter without permission. However, you MAY link to this newsletter or any article in it without asking for permission in advance - though why not invite other family historians to join LostCousins instead, as standard membership (which includes this newsletter), is FREE?