Newsletter - 27th April 2017

Members in Australia & New Zealand

received an earlier version dated 25th April


Celebrate our 13th birthday - it will be lucky for some!

Findmypast offer the world for less SPECIAL OFFER

How to get a FREE LostCousins upgrade

Free access to Findmypast - ideal for beginners ENDS MONDAY

Was your ancestor in the militia?

Ancestry DNA pass 4 million mark

Last chance for DNA offers END TODAY

Family Tree Maker 2017 latest

An unusual cause of death

Peter's Tips

Stop Press


The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 20th April) 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!



Celebrate our 13th birthday - it will be lucky for some!

The LostCousins website opened on 1st May 2004 - when Tony Blair was in Downing Street, George W Bush was in the White House, Donald Trump was a reality TV star, and Jimmy Savile was a much-loved celebrity. How things have changed!


It was a very slow start - although I handed out 800 leaflets to people queuing for the annual Society of Genealogists show there were only 12 users at the end of the first day (and one of them was me). But great oaks from little acorns grow, and with a little help from a new TV programme called Who Do You Think You Are? (which launched in the autumn of 2004) LostCousins has become one of the biggest and best INDEPENDENT genealogy sites.


In some countries 13 is regarded as a lucky number, but in Britain it's often thought to be unlucky. So I decided to celebrate our 13th Birthday with a competition where the lucky winner will get an unlucky prize - a losing lottery ticket. But this isn't any old lottery ticket - this is a 221 year-old lottery ticket, for the English State Lottery of 1796.



This particular ticket would have sold for the princely sum of £1 in 1796 - more than a week's wages for most - even though it represents only a one-sixteenth share of ticket 37,812 (note the use of the lower case 'm' rather than a comma - I suspect that this was intended to reduce the opportunities for forgery). There were just a small number of authorised ticket sellers, and this example is signed by William Nicholson of 16 Cornhill, London - right opposite the Royal Exchange. You can see a list of authorised sellers for the 1799 lottery in this page from the London Gazette - there were very few, most of them in London.


I've had this ticket in my personal collection for nearly a quarter of a century - and as you can see, it is in fabulous condition for its age. Now I'm going to pass it on to the lucky winner of our Birthday Competition. I'm also giving away 12 LostCousins subscriptions for the runners-up, so there are 13 prizes in all - lucky for some!


How to enter the competition

To take part in my competition you need only do what comes naturally - add relatives to your My Ancestors page. Every direct ancestor or blood relative you add between 20th April and midnight (London time) on Wednesday 31st May will count as an entry in the competition, but those from the 1881 Census will count double.


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 at least one of your direct ancestors.


Shortly after the competition closes I'll start picking relatives at random from all those entered during the period of the competition, then I'll contact the winner and runners-up by email - so please ensure that I've got your current email address (if not simply log-in and update your My Details page). But it's not just about winning prizes - every time you enter a relative on your My Ancestors page you're increasing your chances of connecting with the other members who are your 'lost cousins'.


Tip: whilst it's natural to start with your direct ancestors and their immediate families, in practice the relatives most likely to connect you to your cousins are the members of your ancestors' extended families - their grown-up brothers & sisters, their nephews & nieces, and their cousins.


When you enter relatives from the 1881 Censuses you're maximising your chances of finding cousins - partly because we started with the 1881 Census in 2004, but also because it's free online (so all your cousins need is a computer with an Internet connection).


Findmypast offer the world for less SPECIAL OFFER

By a happy coincidence Findmypast have come up with an offer to tie in with our birthday celebrations - until midnight (London time) on Sunday 7th May you can save 10% on a 12 month World subscription at Findmypast's UK, Ireland, and US sites.


(There's a similar offer at their Australian site which started a couple of days ago and ends on Sunday 30th April - I wrote to members in Australia & New Zealand separately to let them know.)


With a World subscription you'll get virtually unlimited access to all 8 billion records in Findmypast's worldwide collections! The 2 billion British records include the 1939 Register for England & Wales, one of the most exciting and revealing releases of recent years, all the censuses (apart from the Scotland 1911 census, which is only available at ScotlandsPeople), and parish registers for Cheshire, Devon, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Plymouth & West DevonRutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire Westminster, most of East Kent, large parts of Yorkshire, and much of Wales. There are also tens of millions of transcribed parish register entries including the National Burial Index (which extends to 37 counties).


You also get unlimited access to the UK Electoral Registers for 2002-14 to help you track down living relatives - I use it all the time to track down LostCousins members who have forgotten to tell me about their change of email address.


Your World subscription will also give you access to the best online collection of Irish records, as well as nearly 100 million records from Australia & New Zealand, plus US records which include all the censuses, and millions of marriage records that you won't find anywhere else. If you're not already convinced, perhaps I should remind you about the more than 200 million newspaper articles in the British Newspaper Archive (to subscribe to the BNA on its own would cost nearly £80 a year)?


Should you decide to take out a subscription please use the appropriate link below to ensure that LostCousins benefits and that you have a chance of getting a free LostCousins upgrade (see the next article for full details). ††††††† (ends 7th May) †††††††††††††† (ends 7th May) ††††††††† (ends 7th May) ††† (ends 30th April)


Note: Findmypast's offer is for new and lapsed subscribers only - but don't worry, if you are an existing subscriber you are entitled to 10% Loyalty Discount when you allow your subscription to renew automatically.


How to get a FREE LostCousins upgrade

When you buy a new World subscription from Findmypast using the link above you can get a bonus - a free LostCousins subscription. You can qualify for a 12 month subscription (worth up to £12.50) when you take up Findmypast's offer, but I'll add an extra month as a 13th Birthday bonus if you claim your subscription before the end of April - so your total savings could be in the region of £30!


To claim your LostCousins upgrade forward the email receipt from Findmypast, making sure that the time and date are clearly shown (and time zone, if it isn't London time). You can send it to any of the LostCousins email addresses, including the one I wrote from when telling you about this newsletter.


Please read the important advice below before you make your purchase, and make a note of the precise time of your purchase in case the email from Findmypast doesn't arrive.


Terms & conditions: your free LostCousins subscription will be funded by the commission that Findmypast pay us; if we don't receive any commission on your purchase then unfortunately you won't qualify. If you use an adblocker the link may not work; if tracking is disabled in your browser the link will work, but Findmypast won't know that you clicked it, so won't pay us any commission. Don't use more than one device, and to give yourself the best chance of qualifying use a computer rather than a tablet or smartphone. Commission isn't paid on renewals or purchases that Findmypast regard as renewals, eg when a subscription has recently lapsed. You might qualify if you upgrade, but there are no guarantees. If you already have a LostCousins subscription it will be extended; otherwise your subscription will run from the day you purchased your Findmypast subscription.


Free access to Findmypast - ideal for beginners ENDS MONDAY

From 10am on 27th April until midnight (London time) on Monday 1st May Findmypast are offering free access to census and BMD records at their UK, Ireland, and US sites.


This is an ideal opportunity for beginners to 'have a go' - there's absolutely no obligation and the only danger is that, like you and me, they might get hooked on family history! They will need to register, but won't be asked to provide credit card or bank details.


Please ask them to use the relevant link below so that Findmypast know that they've come via this newsletter - it might earn me some brownie points!


Was your ancestor in the militia?

The Militia Act of 1757 was passed during Seven Years War, and provided for one or more regiments to be established in each county, raised from volunteers and conscripts who were chosen by ballot. Those whose names came out of the hat in the ballot were expected to serve for 3 years or 5 years, but could find a substitute or pay a fine of £10 (a substantial sum in those days).


Even if your ancestors didn't serve in the militia, it's likely that they were liable to be called up - indeed, according to Tracing Your Army Ancestors, during the Napoleonic Wars all adult men were liable for conscription, though by the middle of the 19th century the militia was entirely composed of volunteers.


Don in Australia inherited this wonderful document from his great-great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Hunt, who was in the Somerset Militia. As you can see, it's dated 23rd April 1802, which means it is almost exactly 215 years old - and it shows it, although it was restored on Don's behalf by the Queensland State Archives. We're used to seeing documents like this in record offices and archives, but to have something so old in our possession is really special.


Militia lists and musters can be used as a census substitute - in Militia Lists and Musters 1757-1876 Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott state that "The militia ballot lists should therefore in theory be complete annual censuses of all men aged 18 to 50, from 1758 to 1762, and aged 18 to 45, from 1762 to 1831" although they give reasons why this might not in practice be the case.


The surviving lists are held by local record offices - details of the holdings are given in the Gibson & Medlycott book, but you could also try searching the online catalogues of the record offices that are relevant to you.


You'll find further information about militia in this Research Guide on the National Archives website.


Ancestry DNA pass 4 million mark

Ancestry now have more than 4 million people in their autosomal DNA database, more than all the other companies added together - and at the current rate they could reach 6 or even 7 million by the end of the year. This is great news for family historians, though as with any boom in family history it's partially fuelled by newcomers - so you could find yourself matched with a DNA cousin who knows little or nothing about their family tree (contrast that with the cousins you'll find at LostCousins, where almost everyone has years of experience, decades in many cases).


Indeed, I myself have been matched with a DNA cousin who knows little or nothing about his family tree - but itís not all bad news, because he's an expert in genetics!


Last chance for DNA offers END THURSDAY

Here are the details of the offers that are still running - both end today, but at different times:




There are substantial discounts until midday (London time) on Thursday 27th April - the expiry date has been extended by 24 hours from the original deadline, but you'll have to be VERY quick! Please use the link for the area where you live:


USA                     Canada                            UK                       Europe               Australia


Best for: people with British, or mostly British, ancestry who have already tested elsewhere but are looking for a more refined analysis of their origins





FTDNA are slashing $20 off the price of Family Finder, bringing it down to just $59 (plus shipping), and there are also reductions on most of their Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. The offer ends at 11.59pm (Central Time) on 27th April - please click this link so that you can support LostCousins.


Best for: those who want to get involved in the 'nitty gritty' of DNA, using the Chromosome Browser to look at shared segments across multiple cousins; the only major company offering tests worldwide at the same price to everyone


Note: you can test with Ancestry and transfer your results to Family Tree DNA - but you can't go the other way.


Family Tree Maker 2017 latest

Software MacKiev are still not completely happy with the tree-syncing, but they've decided that it is sufficiently robust to expand the trial to include 25,000 ordinary users who have ordered FTM 2017. If you placed a pre-order you may have received an email from them - I certainly have, although I won't be taking part (as I don't actually use FTM).


You'll find all the latest information here.


An unusual cause of death

LostCousins member Lynn sent me this death certificate for one of her husband's relatives - note the cause of death, "Shot, justifiable homicide":



It transpires that he was involved in the Battle of Bossenden Wood, an uprising led by one John Tom, who used the alias Sir William Percy Honeywood Courtenay. Having murdered a parish constable sent to arrest him he led his followers in a battle with a detachment of soldiers, leading to another 11 deaths, including that of the unfortunate George Griggs.


All this took place not very far from where some of my Kent ancestors lived, but thankfully none of them seem to have been involved. You can read more about the battle here, and also on Wikipedia.


Peter's Tips

Which? magazine has just published its latest annual review of mobile phone networks, and once again GiffGaff has come top - not that I'd think of switching if they didn't, because there are so many advantages (such as free calls between GiffGaff users). If you use this link you can order a free SIM and get a £5 credit when you top-up for the first time.


I can't remember whether it was Which? that tipped me off about the dispute resolution scheme operated by The Retail Ombudsman, but they certainly came up trumps - this month my wife and I eventually received compensation for the 7 hour delay we suffered when flying Ryanair in May 2011. We had been fobbed off numerous times by Ryanair, but going through the intermediary worked wonders - and they didn't charge us a penny! One thing to watch out for - an email from them went into my spam folder and stayed there, because it came from a name I didn't recognise and was simply headed with the claim number. This caused a three month hiatus before I realised what had happened - so if you go down the same route keep an eye on your spam folder!


Stop Press

Although the 25% off DNA tests at was supposed to end a few days ago, I am still offered the discounted rate when I use the links below. I can't guarantee it will work for everyone but if the first link doesn't work for you, try the second one:


Finally, I'd just to thank everyone who has supported LostCousins over the past 13 years - I really do hope you'll all celebrate our birthday by finding some new cousins!


Description: Description: peter_signature


Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2017 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