Newsletter - 30th December 2016


Why wasn't the 1939 Register destroyed?

Everything you need to know about the 1939 Register

Last chance to save at Findmypast ENDS FRIDAY SUNDAY???

'Hidden' Ancestry offer ENDS MONDAY???

National Archives end of year clearance

More information about YOUR cousins NEW

Fantastic prizes to be won in our Seasonal Competition

Which son was the father? When Y-DNA isn't good enough

Peter's Tips - Best of 2016 (part two)

Stop Press


The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 26th December) 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):



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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!



Why wasn't the 1939 Register destroyed?

It's amazing what you can find on the Internet. Recently I came across a PDF document prepared for the Census Bicentenary in 2001 which can still be found on an archived copy of the Office for National Statistics website at the National Archives - you can download it here.


The document lists the first 7 Registrars General for England & Wales, detailing the key achievements of each. For example, the 7th Registrar General, Sylvanus Percival Vivian took charge just before the 1921 Census, having been involved in the production of the 1915 National Register, which no longer survives. Whoever wrote the document was clearly under the impression that the 1939 National Register had also been destroyed, because the final sentences read:


"Vivian was still Registrar General during the Second World War, when, for the first time the decennial census, due in 1941, did not take place at all. Instead, Vivian oversaw the system of National Registration, and the production of National Identity Cards for the entire population. Unfortunately, the records of this ‘census substitute’ were destroyed, so they will not be available to the historians of future generations."


Thankfully the 'death' of the 1939 Register was exaggerated. By February 2007 when I asked to inspect the 1939 Register they had clearly realised that not only had it survived, it was in their possession - because they refused me access. The reason it survived, and continued to be updated - even after Identity Cards were abolished in the early 1950s - was because it formed the basis of the National Health Service Central Register!


Everything you need to know about the 1939 Register

Although the 1939 National Register is the closest there is to an England & Wales census for the period between 1921 and 1951 there are some really big differences - so earlier this year I published a Special Edition of this newsletter detailing all the information I had been able to discover.


Like all issues of this newsletter since February 2009 it's still available online - you'll find it here.


1921 Census delayed

Apart from the 1841 Census, which was collected in June, censuses in Britain have always been planned for the end of March or the beginning of April.


But the 1921 Census was taken on 19th June, having delayed by 2 months because of a strike by coal miners. Having been nationalised during the Great War the coal mines were handed back to the private sector in April 1921, prompting a strike by miners, who initially expected the support of railwaymen and transport workers - though in the event they decided not to take part.


Note: you can read more about these events here, on the National Archives website.


Unemployment was high following the return of soldiers from the Great War, and doubled between December 1920 and June 1921. At a meeting in Bath in February 1921 it was proposed that the role of census enumerator should be taken by unemployed ex-servicemen rather than being given to those who already had good jobs.


I'm not sure that call was heeded. As recently as 1971, when I worked as an enumerator in Dagenham, the jobs seemed to be handed out to council employees - I was working for the local council at the time (though only on a temporary basis, because I was still at university).


The release of the 1921 Census is unlikely to be delayed - it is anticipated that it will be available from 1st January 2022.



Last chance to save at Findmypast ENDS FRIDAY SUNDAY???

You've got just hours to take advantage of Findmypast's discount offer and claim a free LostCousins subscription when you follow the link in my last newsletter - you'll find full details here.


And even if you missed my past newsletter you really mustn't miss my Masterclass which explains how to get the best results from Findmypast - or my secret strategy for supercharging baptism searches.


Tip: the British Newspaper Archive offer which should have ended yesterday was still available when I checked just now - you'll find the details here.


'Hidden' Ancestry offer ENDS MONDAY???

If you go to the Ancestry.co.uk website and click Subscribe the price quoted for a 12 month Premium subscription will be £119.99


But if you follow this link and log-in before clicking the Subscribe link you'll be offered a much lower price - but only until Monday 2nd January.


Tip: if you still don't see the offer try this link (which was still working on Tuesday).


National Archives end of year clearance

You can save up to 70% on books from the National Archives in their clearance sale. I haven't had time to look through all the books on offer, but I suggest that when you find something of interest you check the reader comments at Amazon.


More information about YOUR cousins NEW

You can now see more information than ever before when you connect to your cousins: just click on your cousin's name to display the My Contact page for the relationship.


For example, here's what I see when I click one of the dozens of names on my own My Cousins page:



I can see precisely how my cousin and I are related - in this case our common ancestors (Robert and Ann Wells) were still alive in 1881 but, even if they hadn't been, I would know that my cousin had Alfred Wells in position 8 on his Ancestor Chart, so I'd be able to work it out. This information is particularly helpful when you find a new cousin.


Tip: You can download a blank Ancestor Chart from the LostCousins home page, or from your My Ancestors page; filling out the Ancestor Chart is a great way to ensure that you don't forget to enter one of your lines.


Some members haven't yet entered the Ancestor Numbers for their direct ancestors: whilst optional it's highly recommended - not only because it helps your own cousins, but also because it allows me to give you better help and advice.


Fantastic prizes to be won in our Seasonal Competition

It has been great to see so many of your taking part in this year's competition, particularly since it has already resulted in a sharp rise in the number of matches being made between cousins (which, of course, is the aim).


To enter you only have to do what comes naturally - search for your 'lost cousins'. Every direct ancestor or blood relative you enter on your My Ancestors page before midnight (London time) on Tuesday 31st January 2017 represents an entry in the competition, and for each one you enter from the 1881 Census you'll get a bonus entry.


Tip: a 'direct ancestor' is someone from whom you are descended, such as a great-great grandparent - most people just call them ancestors; a 'blood relative' is a cousin, ie someone who shares your ancestry.


Shortly after the competition closes I'll start picking relatives at random from all those entered during the period of the competition, and the lucky members who entered those relatives will be able to choose a prize from the list below (the first person out of the hat gets to choose first, the second person has next choice, and so on).


Here's what YOU can win:


This year's most valuable prize is a 12 month World subscription to Findmypast, offering unlimited access to over 8 billion records and news articles, including the 1939 Register for England & Wales (normal price £155.95)


(generously donated by Findmypast, Britain's leading family history company)


With a World subscription you can access any of Findmypast's historic records and newspaper articles, as well as their modern (2002-14) UK Electoral Register - and you can do this at any of Findmypast's four sites around the globe.



Living DNA's autosomal test offers the highest resolution analysis of your British ancestry (normal price £120)


(kindly donated by Living DNA, Britain's most innovative DNA company)



Also on offer is a 12 month Britain subscription to Findmypast, offering unlimited access to over 8 billion records and news articles, including the 1939 Register for England & Wales (normal price £119.95)


(donated by Findmypast, this year's leading sponsor)




ONE copy of Family Historian v6 (kindly donated by Simon Orde, the designer and lead programmer of Family Historian)



If the winner lives outside the UK the prize will be a downloaded copy; winners in the UK can choose between a downloaded copy and a boxed copy (they function identically). Check out Family Historian now with a free 30-day trial - just follow this link.



You can also win 900 Findmypast credits (usual cost £54.95), sufficient to unlock 15 households from the 1939 Register (although you can also use them to access other records).




TEN 12 month subscriptions to LostCousins


If you already have a subscription I'll extend it by 12 months


Even if you don't win one of these prizes there's a far greater reward at stake, and it's one that everyone can win - you could find a 'lost cousin'. Every single relative you enter is a potential link to another researcher who shares your ancestry - and whenever you click the Search button the LostCousins computer will compare every single entry you've made against the millions of entries made by other members!


Tip: unlike some websites, which update their databases at intervals, the LostCousins database is updated instantly - there is no waiting, whether you're entering a new relative or updating an existing entry.


This year your chances are better than ever before - for example, when you enter a household from the 1881 England & Wales census there's 1 chance in 17 of an immediate match!


If you're new to LostCousins, or have forgotten how easy it is to enter relatives, see the Getting Started Guide on the Help & Advice page.


Which son was the father? When Y-DNA isn't good enough

Because Y-DNA is passed from father to son virtually unaltered it has long been regarded as the perfect solution to paternity mysteries - and we all have mysteries of this sort in our tree. But the very fact that Y-DNA is unaltered can be a disadvantage - brothers typically have precisely the same Y-DNA, so identifying which son was the father of an illegitimate child can be a real challenge.


I was reminded of this conundrum this week when I received an email from a LostCousins member trying to identify which of three sons was the father of an illegitimate - and fortunately I was able to suggest a solution.


Whilst sons inherit the same Y-DNA from their father, unless they're identical twins the autosomal DNA they inherit will be very different. That's because we only inherit half of our father's autosomal DNA, and which bits we get from each of our paternal grandparents will vary considerably from one child to another.


Provided there are living descendants (male or female) of all the sons, and at least one descendant of each son is prepared to provide a DNA sample there is a very good chance of identifying which of the sons was the father of the illegitimate ancestor - it will be the son whose descendant is the closest match.


Note: I'm assuming that the descendants who provide samples are all from the same generation - if not then it gets slightly more complicated.


By the way, you've still a day or two to order DNA tests from Family Tree DNA at their sale prices - see the article in the last issue for full details (and remember that you'll only be supporting LostCousins when you use one of my links).


Peter's Tips - Best of 2016 (part two)

AllBeauty is the website my wife and I go to for perfumes, aftershave and many other cosmetics - and it seems we're not the only ones. In the November 2016 issue of Which? the site came top in a survey of online retailers - ahead of bigger sites like Amazon and even John Lewis. I've written about them on many occasions, pointing out that their prices are usually cheaper than the so-called duty free shops you'll find at the airport - and you don’t have to worry about finding space in your hand luggage. Their Winter Sale has just started, and continues for the next 2 weeks.


Which? is one of the few magazines I subscribe to - and it's the only one that I've been reading for over half a century (my mother was also a subscriber). Almost every appliance in our new kitchen was chosen after reading their reviews - it was only when it came to cooker hoods that we had to look further afield. In the latest issue they have a review of security software - and the program I recommended in this column at the beginning of December was also their favourite (you can read my advice here).


There aren't many purchase decisions which have life or death consequences, but buying a carbon monoxide alarm is one of those rare occasions. Which? found that 20% of the alarms they tested simply weren't safe - the alarm I chose was their cheapest Best Buy, at under £18 (you'll find it here at Amazon.com.uk). Not a lot to spend on something that might save a couple of lives, is it?


In the next issue I'll write about my favourite books of 2016 - both physical and electronic.


Stop Press

The Findmypast offer was officially extended to the end of the year, but unofficially it was still available on Sunday 1st!


That's all for now - but I'll be back in the New Year with more news from the world of family history.


Description: Description: peter_signature


Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2016 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