Newsletter - 26th January 2016


Secure a quadruple saving with Findmypast offer ENDS SATURDAY

Embroidering family history

Would you sell your baby for 50 - and a pig?

Rutland parish registers online?

Using Family Tree Analyzer to spot errors in your tree

Are you on the mailing list?

Your Family Tree is now Your Family History

Save at Genes Reunited

Mother Goose?

Beatrix Potter story rediscovered

The Flying Scotsman

Algarve holiday offer ENDS 31ST JANUARY

Peter's Tips

Stop Press


The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 20th January) 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. However I strongly recommend that you do what I do, and use the customised Google search below (it only searches these newsletters, so you won't get spurious results):



top 100 genealogy website 2015Whenever 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!



Secure a quadruple saving with Findmypast offer ENDS SATURDAY

I mentioned last week that I would try to negotiate a discount on Findmypast subscriptions offer for members ahead of next month's 20% price rise - and I'm delighted to tell you that I've persuaded them to come up with an offer which applies to all new 12 month subscriptions.


It starts with a 10% discount, which might sound modest, but because it's 10% off the current price it represents an enormous saving compared to the price that new subscribers will be paying from the middle of next month (the new rates are about 20% higher).


But that's not all - when you take up this offer you'll qualify for the same price protection offered to existing subscribers, so when your subscription comes up for renewal in 12 months' time it will be based on today's rate, not the new higher price. You'll also qualify for a 10% loyalty discount - which means that if you renew, the price you pay next year will be exactly the same as the one you're paying now!


And remember, from Tuesday 16th February Findmypast subscribers with 12 month Britain or World subscriptions will get free access to the 1939 Register - so that's yet another saving.


Finally, when you take up Findmypast's offer you can claim a free LostCousins subscription that runs for 6 months when you take out a Britain subscription or 12 months when you take out any World subscription - provided you follow the instructions below carefully (ask for my advice if you're not sure what to do).



Your LostCousins subscription will be paid for by the commission we receive from Findmypast, which means that you must use the appropriate link from the list below. Also, if you've configured your browser to prevent tracking, or if you use two different devices (or two browsers), then sadly your purchase won't be credited to LostCousins, and you won't get your free subscription.


You've got until midnight (London time) on Monday 15th February to take advantage of Findmypast's generosity (but see below). When you make your purchase you will receive an emailed receipt from Findmypast - forward this to me as I'll need to know the date, precise time, and timezone in order to verify your entitlement. Your LostCousins subscription will run from the date of the receipt, so get your claim in right away!


Embroidering family history

We've all got examples in our tree of family stories that have been enhanced, often unwittingly, as they have passed down the generations - so when I came across a 19th century sampler on which the birthdates of a family of 12 had been embroidered it seemed quite appropriate!


The earliest surviving British sampler dates from 1598, but most surviving samplers are much more recent. Most of those I've seen bear an alphabet and a quote or verse from the Bible - many don't indicate when they were stitched, or who by. So to discover this wonderful example from 1838 on sale at my local auction rooms was a very pleasant surprise:



Godwin is quite a common surname, and there's no indication where the family lived, so you'd think it would be quite a challenge to track the family down.


But amazingly I was able to find the answers in a matter of minutes using Findmypast - you can read all about it here, in my guest posting on their blog (you don't need to be a subscriber, by the way - and there are lots of other interesting articles).


Would you sell your baby for 50 - and a pig?

No, I'm not going into the child-trafficking business - this is a true story that I heard this week from a LostCousins member.....


When Daphne was born in 1933 a local farmer offered her parents 50 (upwards of 3000 in today's money) plus a pig, in exchange for their new daughter. I understand this was a perfectly serious offer, and Daphne said to me yesterday that "although my mother did not accept it, I believe that at times during my teenage years she wished she had!!".


It was only when the Adoption of Children Act was passed in 1926 that adoption was put onto a proper legal footing - prior to 1927 adoptions were arranged by adoption societies, or privately between individuals. But it seems that the Act didn't immediately stop the private trade, judging from this question asked in the House of Commons on 7th April 1927:


Colonel DAY asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the failure of the Adoption of Children Act, 1926; and if he will consider introducing legislation to amend this Act so as to make its conditions compulsory and prohibit all advertisements with reference to child adoption?


Adoptions under the Act gradually increased in the years after it became law, as this 1932 parliamentary exchange demonstrates:


Mrs. TATE asked the Home Secretary how many children have been adopted under the Adoption Act, 1926, in each of the years from that date to 1931?


Sir H. SAMUEL: I am informed that the numbers of entries made by the Registrar-General in the Adoption Register for the years 1927 to 1931 inclusive are as follow:


1927 2,967

1928 3,303

1929 3,307

1930 4,517

1931 4,128


You can find out more about adoption (and particularly adoption records) in this Norfolk Record Office information leaflet. Whenever you visit a record office (or record office website) check to see what free research guides they have available - you might be surprised! The National Archives website is another great source of research guides, and not just for the records that they hold themselves - there were 351 guides listed when I checked this morning!


Rutland parish registers online?

England's smallest county was at one point subsumed into Leicestershire, and the county's archives service is run jointly with Leicester and Leicestershire - so I was very surprised when LostCousins member Barrie wrote from Australia to tell me that he had found several Rutland parish records amongst the Northamptonshire parish registers at Ancestry!


For your convenience I'm repeating the links from the article in which I announced the Northants records:


Northamptonshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1532-1812

Northamptonshire, England, Marriages, 1754-1912

Northamptonshire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912

Northamptonshire, England, Burials, 1813-1912

Northamptonshire, England, Confirmations, 1870-1911


Although Ancestry don't provide a handy list showing the parishes and years of coverage, you can get to the information indirectly by choosing the Browse this collection option on the right-hand side of the search page:



Uppingham, is of course in Rutland. Other Rutland parishes I spotted during a quick check included Ayston, Barrowden, Belton, Bisbrooke, Braunston, and Burley - and that's just looking at the As and Bs. Although the records are only Bishop's Transcripts, not original registers, in most cases the entries will be identical - indeed I've seen some BTs where errors in the original registers had been corrected.


Tip: always search individual datasets when you can, rather than searching all parish records or all records - this applies whether you're using Ancestry or Findmypast.


I was also slightly taken aback to see Peterborough amongst the Northants records, but I'd completely forgotten that Peterborough - now in Cambridgeshire - used to be in Northamptonshire.


Using Family Tree Analyzer to spot errors in your tree

No matter how careful we are, it's inevitable that mistakes will arise in our family tree. There's a great article in the latest (February 2016) edition of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine which demonstrates how you can use the free Family Tree Analyzer program to identify all sorts of problems in your family tree.


Family Tree Analyzer was written by a LostCousins member and it has been enhanced by the addition of several features designed to make it easier to complete your My Ancestors page - it works with GEDCOM files so it doesn't matter which family tree program you use.


You can download Family Tree Analyzer here; it's completely free, but it's for Windows only. Should you need support or advice you'll find a lot of discussions on the LostCousins Forum, and you can also report bugs or suggest new features here. Please don't contact me - my days of software support are long over!


Are you on the mailing list?

Although anyone can read this newsletter by going to the LostCousins website and clicking the Latest newsletter link, only registered members of LostCousins are sent an email when a new edition is published.


Sometimes the emails I send don't arrive - this will usually be because your email provider rejected it as spam, or simply lost it. At the moment it seems that Talktalk users are experiencing particular problems, but some Yahoo and AOL users are also affected. When an email of mine is rejected as spam there is nothing I can do - because if I were to send it again your email provider would become even more convinced that I was spamming you!


However, there is something you can do - put LostCousins' email address in your address book. This will demonstrate that you are interested in receiving mail from me, although sadly some providers might still block incoming emails which refer to special offers (even though those are most likely to be the ones you wouldn't to miss).


Note: I don't publish the LostCousins email address online, otherwise I'd be swamped with spam, but you'll find it in the emails you have received in the past (there's a different address for emails that are generated automatically such as password reminders). I never send emails from addresses that don't accept incoming mail, so you can always click 'Reply' to respond to one of my emails (but please change the title of the email so that it relates to the subject of your email).


There is no need to contact me to confirm that you are on my newsletter mailing list. Simply log-in to your LostCousins account and go to your My Details page:



If Receive our email newsletter is set to No, then change it to Yes - this will add you to the mailing list with immediate effect.


Your Family Tree is now Your Family History

From next month Your Family Tree magazine will be known as Your Family History, but otherwise it won't change (the new name is already used overseas).


Save at Genes Reunited

Until 9th February new subscribers can get a 1 month Platinum subscription to Genes Reunited for 4.95 - a 75% discount on the normal rate. Simply follow this link and enter the code PLAT75 on the same page where you input your credit card details.


Note: this offer applies only to the monthly Platinum subscription - if you choose any other subscription you'll pay the normal price. At the end of the first month your subscription will renew automatically at the full price - if this isn't what you want just select the 'Auto Renew Off' option on the Subscriptions Details page (under My Account).


For most LostCousins members a Findmypast subscription will provide better value - Genes Reunited offers access to a more limited range of records, and is better suited to beginners.


Mother Goose?

When we find the right entry in the GRO indexes we tend to stop searching - after all, you're not going to find two entries for the same person, are you?


Actually you might - especially if the entry you've found looks like this one for Mary Goose, which I came across when helping a LostCousins member:



If you look closely you'll see that she isn't indexed as Mary Goose, but as Mary Goose GOOSE. What's going on here?


We've all come across relatives in our tree who have a surname as a middle name - sometimes it's a way of preserving a family name, as in the case of my grandfather, Harry John Buxton Calver. But often it's the only way that the mother of an illegitimate child can get the father's name on the birth certificate - so my instinct told me that if I looked again, I'd find another entry for Mary Goose XXXXX, where XXXXX was the mother's surname:



Bingo! The same birth, with the same page references, has been indexed as Mary Goose NORFOLK.


Searching the 1861 Census at Findmypast I soon found this entry - it's the only household with both the Goose and Norfolk surnames:


Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England with the permission of Findmypast


In the 19th century many better-off widowers and unmarried men would form a relationship with their housekeeper - and here we've got an unmarried farmer of 112 acres, a sizeable farm for those times, whose unmarried housekeeper has three young children. I'm sure the locals knew precisely what was going on at the farm: "Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more" to quote Monty Python.


Ten years later there's still only one household in the entire census with the surnames Goose and Norfolk, but this time Farmer John has been rather more open with the enumerator about his relationship to Laurinda Norfolk:


Crown Copyright Images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England with the permission of Findmypast


It's fairly unusual to find such candour in a 19th century census.


Tip: these days illegitimacy is so common in Britain that the birth indexes are packed with duplicate entries - thought it isn't always obvious that there's a second entry to find.


The moral - or immoral - of the story is that we shouldn't stop looking just because we find something that seems to fit. This applies particularly to baptisms - you wouldn't believe how many people pluck a baptism out of the IGI without even looking at a map to make sure it isn't at the wrong end of the county (or even the country).


Now, if was one of those writers who takes every opportunity to make a pun or a weak joke, I'd probably conclude by saying that Mary wasn't the daughter of Mother Goose, but one of the Norfolk Geese....


Beatrix Potter story rediscovered

The BBC reported today that a long-lost Beatrix Potter story, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, has been found and will be published in September. The fact that a work by a major author could have been lost for a century, then rediscovered, gives me hope that some of the missing records that frustrate our searches might one day turn up. For example, I'm sure there are some parish registers in private hands - and there could well be more laying undiscovered, perhaps miscatalogued or misfiled, in public archives.


You will recall that I wrote recently about the 200 year-old registers that were discovered in Kent; and just a few years ago LostCousins member Donald Davis found household schedules from the 1841 Census in the Shropshire Archives (if only I'd thought to look when I visited the archives in 2005).


And of course there are more personal records - like the sampler I wrote about earlier, which will hopefully be reunited one day with William and Mary Godwins' descendants.


The Flying Scotsman

Earlier this month it was announced that the Flying Scotsman, possibly the most famous locomotive in the world, would be returning to service following a 12-year renovation program that is reported to have cost 10 million.


Built in 1923, the engine didn't acquire its distinctive moniker until the following year. In 1934 it was the first steam locomotive verified to reach 100mph (though some consider that City of Truro reached the mark 30 years earlier), and by the time it retired from regular service in 1963 it had covered over 2 million miles.


Sadly this month's return has been delayed - the brakes need some fine-tuning - but this is a minor mishap compared to 1926, when the Flying Scotsman was derailed by striking miners. There's a photo of the scene here - miraculously nobody was killed. (In the interests of accuracy I should point out that on this occasion the Flying Scotsman train was being hauled by a different locomotive.)


I'm sure that many readers of this newsletter will have travelled on trains hauled by the Flying Scotsman - I'd be interested to hear your stories!


Algarve holiday offer ENDS 31ST JANUARY

Last month I announced that I'd negotiated an exclusive discount for LostCousins members who want to stay at the Rocha Brava Village Resort on Portugal's Algarve cost - the venue in 2014, 2015, and (hopefully) 2017 for Genealogy in the Sunshine.


What I didn't explain properly is that if you book before the end of January you can get a double discount, because the prices on the official website currently include early booking discounts. For example, a one-bedroom apartment which sleeps up to 3 people is currently just 64 per night in April, and you'll pay only 57.60 (about 44) after deducting your LostCousins discount (which is 10% in April and June, and 5% at other times of the year).


My wife and I have stayed at Rocha Brava in every month of the year apart from July & August - which would be far too hot for us (June and September are quite hot enough). There's a covered heated pool available from October through to April, so we can swim all year round - and we get to play far more tennis than we would in England. Oh, and almost everyone speaks English - which is why in 20 years of going to Portugal I've only learned half a dozen words of the language.


Follow this link to re-read my December article - and drop me an email if you have any questions.


Peter's Tips

If you met me at Genealogy in the Sunshine last year you probably wouldn't have thought of me as fat, but since last summer I've lost about 20 pounds in weight simply by doing a little more exercise and consuming a little less food - and drink.


You might think it's easy to lose weight through exercise, but believe me it isn't - to lose a pound you have to burn up about 1600 extra calories, and avoid rewarding yourself with drinks and snacks after the sessions.


So my main focus has been on portion control. For example, I bought a pair of 25cl bottles with swing stoppers so that I could make a single bottle of red wine last for three evening meals - they weren't cheap, but nor is wine (unless you're somewhere like Portugal, where you can get great wine for under 1 a bottle if you know where to look). So I didn't feel quite as bad when the latest advice on drinking alcohol came out....


One of the best things about losing weight is being to fit into clothes that I couldn't otherwise wear, like the jeans I bought in Chicago when I was in my late 30s (over a quarter of a century ago, in other words). Or another pair of jeans which I bought 10 years ago in Spain, but had never ever been able to fit into, even when I bought them (just as well that, being a typical man, I hadn't allowed them to be thrown away or recycled). I even had to buy a gadget to make extra holes in my leather belts!


Now, of course, I wish I'd done it years ago - but better late than never!


Finally, Linda wrote to tell me that she was at both of the 1965 concerts I missed (see this article in last newsletter). Not one, but both - some people have all the luck!


Stop Press

This is where any last minute updates and corrections will be highlighted - if you think you've spotted an error (sadly I'm not infallible), reload the newsletter (press Ctrl-F5) then check here before writing to me, in case someone else has beaten you to it......


Description: Description: peter_signature


Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins