Newsletter - 23rd March 2018
LostCousins will be FREE this Easter START NOW!
Ancestry DNA FLASH SALE
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous newsletter (dated 13th March) 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!
LostCousins will be FREE this Easter START NOW!
From Good Friday until Tuesday 3rd April the LostCousins site will be completely free. This means that you will be able to initiate contact with relatives shown in the New Contacts section of your My Cousins page whether or not you have a LostCousins subscription.
Tip: it doesn't matter if your relative doesn't respond immediately - provided you click 'Make Contact' during the offer period.
You can start taking advantage of this opportunity right now by adding more relatives from the 1881 censuses to your My Ancestors page. If you have an average family tree of 1500 relatives between 250 and 300 of them would have been alive in 1881 - so if your ancestors were British, or mostly British, that's the sort of target you should be aiming for.
Even if your direct ancestors left these shores before 1881 they will have left behind numerous relatives - and itís the relatives who stayed in Britain who are the links to your living British cousins.
How long will it take? Well, if you have all the census information to hand you should be able to enter between 150-200 relatives in an hour, even if you're a clumsy two-fingered typist like me. That's because once you've entered the first relative in a household most of the information is filled in automatically - normally you only have to add the forename and age.
Of course, if you donít already have the census information it will take you a bit longer, especially if you've yet to track some of your relatives down in 1881.
Tip: donít worry too much about the few relatives you can't find in 1881 - focus instead on the many you can find. Because all of your living cousins are descended from the branches of your tree you should aim to include as many of the branches as possible.
Please note that during the offer period the Subscribers Only page will, as usual, only be available to Subscribers.
I often get emails from members saying "I donít want to find any more cousins - I already know lots and none of them are interested in family history".
Paradoxically this is precisely why you should search for your 'lost cousins'. Every LostCousins member has an interest in their family tree - otherwise they wouldn't have joined.
Sometimes people tell me that they've had bad experiences with cousins they've found at other sites, and that's why they don't want to find any more cousins.
Once again, this is precisely why you should search for your 'lost cousins'. The way that LostCousins works, requiring members to enter precise information from the censuses - the sort of information that you can't nick from someone else's family tree - discourages selfish, lazy, careless and ignorant people from taking part in the LostCousins project.
Indeed, this is probably why, in nearly 14 years since the LostCousins site opened, I haven't had a single complaint from a member about a 'lost cousin' behaving badly!
Others, mindful of the danger that the Internet poses (just look at the troubles that Facebook have got themselves into) say that they don't want to put their family tree online.
Again, that is precisely why you should make use of LostCousins. Nobody but you (and me) can see your entries, and I'll only look at them in order to help and advise you. The matching system is completely automatic, something that can only be done accurately when everyone enters precisely the same information about the same people. That's why the LostCousins matching system itself is 100% accurate, and why - despite the occasional errors made by members who have found the wrong person on the census - the overall accuracy rate is still over 99%.
Did you realise that even after you have been matched with a cousin they can't see your My Ancestors page? And that this still applies even after you have agreed to correspond with them? All they will know is which of the relatives they themselves have already entered also appear on your page (and how each of you are related to them).
It's all these reasons that make LostCousins unique. There is no other site that can connect you with people researching your ancestors confidentially and accurately - believe me, if there was a better system I'd be using it!
Tip: at LostCousins the members who make the most matches are the ones who have entered the most relatives - that's why, when you find a 'lost cousin', the chances are that they will be considerably more experienced than most.
Four years ago I wrote in this newsletter about vaccination registers - a useful source of information - but it was only recently that I first had sight of a vaccination certificate, thanks to LostCousins member Mark. And I'm glad to say that he has kindly allowed me to share this rare items with you:
As you can see, there was previously a second part to the form - I presume that the other half would have been retained by the Registrar of Births and Deaths.
Note: although this particular certificate comes from northern Ireland itís likely that the certificates and procedures in other parts of the UK would have been similar.
In the last issue I reproduced a page from the 1939 Register which had several unusual features. For example, most of you commented on the fact that there were no closed records, which implied that everyone on the page was deceased, even though some were infants in 1939 - had the street been wiped out in a bombing raid?
Others spotted that there was a divorced woman listed - there were very few divorcees shown in the 1939 Register, something that Andrew Marr commented on at the official launch, though (as I pointed out to him) this isn't surprising given that people who divorced might well have remarried.
Many commented on the two women who engaged in 'Paid domestic duties' - that's certainly something I've not seen before ('unpaid domestic duties' was the description normally used for housewives).
But there was something even more unusual about that page, something that only three readers figured out - and to avoid spoiling the challenge for those who haven't yet had a try I've posted the answer on the LostCousins forum - you'll find it here.
Note: you don't need to be a member of the forum to find out the answer, although if you have been invited I would encourage you to join. (If you have been invited there will be an access code and a link on your My Summary page.)
An eagle-eyed LostCousin member noticed something interesting about one of the marriages in this snippet from the GRO marriage indexes which featured in my first newsletter of the month (the article was entitled Who wants to be a millionaire?).
Can you spot the marriage that George found so interesting? And if so, can you tell me why it might remind you of a Royal house? Please note that you don't need to look at the rest of the page, but you may need to think laterally!
Note: this would probably make a good question for 'Round Britain Quiz', first broadcast in 1947, and now the oldest quiz programme still broadcast on British radio.
Last Saturday I gave a presentation on Genetic Genealogy to Stansted U3A - but the bit that really made an impact wasn't anything I said, it was this video.
Whilst the main focus of the video is ethnicity - which isn't the reason most family historians take DNA tests - there's that lovely scene towards the end when you suddenly realise what it is all about.†
Ancestry DNA FLASH SALE
This weekend readers in Canada, the UK, and Ireland can buy an Ancestry DNA test at the best price of 2018!
It's possible that by the time you read this the offer will have been extended to some other territories so I'm including links to the US and Australian websites as well. All prices are exclusive of shipping (which is not reduced in the sale, but you may be able to save by ordering multiple kits at the same time).
Ancestry DNA UK £59 (usually £79) offer has begun
Ancestry DNA Ireland Ä70 (usually Ä95) offer has begun
Ancestry DNA Canada $99 (usually $129) offer starts shortly
Ancestry DNA US $79
Tip: using these links will support LostCousins - even if you use them to make a purchase after the offers have ended.
You don't need an Ancestry subscription to make use of your DNA results, but you may well find that you are offered one at a heavily-discounted price after purchasing your DNA test. That would be a bonus!
When you take your DNA test the results could take 6 to 8 weeks to come through, though in my experience the waiting time is usually less (4 weeks Is typical). But there is plenty to do while youíre waiting:
1. Update your My Details page at the LostCousins site to show that you have tested (you'll need to know your password, but you can get an instant email reminder - there's no need to write to me). Cousins you are matched with will be able to see that you have tested - knowing which cousins have already tested is invaluable.
2. Update your My Ancestors page to include the Ancestor Numbers for your direct ancestors - you can read them off this Ancestor Chart. Including this information not only allows me to offer you better advice, it is a courtesy to the cousins you are matched with, allowing them to work out more precisely how you are related - even before you've made contact!
3. Check the entries on your My Ancestors page using the grey arrow symbols (you only need to
click one for each household). If your entries don't match the census then they
won't match your cousins' entries either - so it's worth spending a few seconds
checking each household. Clicking the arrow performs an automated census search
at Findmypast, Ancestry, or FamilySearch (depending on the census); if you
donít get any results this usually means that you've used the wrong census
Tip: Ancestry's transcription of the 1841 England & Wales census often gives the wrong folio numbers, usually for odd-numbered pages, See this FAQ for help.
4. Make sure you've entered on your My Ancestors page everyone you possibly can from the 1881 censuses.
Searching for documented cousins is not only much easier and less
time-consuming than trying to figure out how you are related to your genetic
cousins, it will help you when you are analysing your DNA matches. A good
strategy for finding your cousins in 1881 is to start in 1841 (or earlier, if
you can), and trace each family member through the censuses.
Tip: the new GRO birth indexes are a great help in tracing female relatives who married.
Written by professional genealogist and LostCousins member John Wintrip (whose previous book got a glowing review in this newsletter a year ago), Tracing Your Georgian Ancestors 1714-1837 is one of those books that everyone should have on their shelves. Indeed, I see I made the same comment about his earlier book!
You might think that having read Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors there would be little more you could learn from the new book, but that certainly isnít the case - my copy is adorned with PostIt notes highlighting things that were new to me, and this is reinforced by the expansion of the bibliography from 2 pages to 6 1/2. This reflects a change in focus from research methods (the previous book was subtitled A guide to research methods for family historians) to sources.
Of course, you're not going to find all of the answers in a book of little more than 200 pages - but you will find the pointers you need, sometimes to specific records in particular archives, though more often to specialist publications that provide a comprehensive list of surviving records of a certain type and where they can be found.
There are also numerous pointers to online sources, mostly at the major sites, but sometimes at obscure sites that I would otherwise never have discovered. I haven't had a chance to follow up on any of the new leads (hence the PostIt notes!), but I would be surprised if they don't help me make discoveries that, whilst they may not break down any 'brick walls', will provide insight into the lives of some of my ancestors.
It's important to remind ourselves that prior to 1813, when the newly-introduced baptism registers included a column for occupation we often have no idea what our ancestors did for a living. We might surmise that they were farm labourers, or that they followed the same profession as their descendants, but with neither parish registers nor censuses to guide us we're usually only guessing.
The book is primarily intended for those researching in England & Wales; there are a few references to Scotland and Ireland, but in the context of records that might be found there which relate to inhabitants of England or Wales. If you have English or Welsh ancestors this book is well worth buying (and if you use one of the links below you can not only save money, but help to support LostCousins):
Tip: Wordery and The Book Depository offer free worldwide delivery - this could be of particular interest if the book has not yet been released where you live.
I think most of us think of the First World War as the 'Great War', and in this newsletter you'll often find the terms used interchangeably. But one of the interesting discoveries I made in John Wintrip's book was that when people in the 19th century talked about the 'Great War' they were talking about the period from 1793 to 1815.
And whilst in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s we talked about WW1 as the 'Great War', in the US it was referred to as the 'European War'. I suspect that it was only when the Second World War was well under way that most people thought to refer to the 'First World War' or 'World War 1', although interestingly - as you can see if you follow this link - the former title was used as long ago as 1920.
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......
The next issue will be the bumper Easter edition - see you then!
© Copyright 2018 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?