Newsletter 4th March 2022
Ancestry add photo-scanning and retouching to their app BREAKING NEWS
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 18th February) click here; to find earlier articles use the customised Google search between this paragraph and the next (it searches ALL of the newsletters since February 2009, so you don't need to keep copies):
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!
Ancestry add photo-scanning and retouching to their app BREAKING NEWS
I suspect that, like me, most of you do your family history research using a web browser (like Edge or Chrome), running on a computer or tablet. But it seems the younger generation, with their better eyesight and dexterity, are more likely to use an app on a smartphone something I'd never seriously considered until now.
At RootsTech yesterday evening (London time) Ancestry announced a collaboration with a company called Photomyne: their proprietary technology allows the Ancestry app to scan photos and much, much more including:
Until now converting family photo albums into digital images has, frankly, been quite a chore. In fact, so much of a chore that I've only scanned a small fraction of my own collection, which has thousands of photos across dozens of albums. So even I might be tempted to start using the app, which until now has been sitting unused on my phone.
Note: on Photomyne's own website they talk about scanning in 100 photos in 10 minutes!
You can find out more in this Ancestry blog post. If you have any comments or questions about the Ancestry app or this new feature please do NOT contact me instead contact Ancestry's Customer Support and/or post on the LostCousins Forum.
In the excitement around the 1921 Census it's easy to forget that the most recent England & Wales 'census' available to us is the 1939 Register. Findmypast were the first to make the 1939 Register available online, in 2015, but since then it has also become available at Ancestry, and more recently The Genealogist have published their own transcription.
The Genealogist have now linked the 1939 Register to their Map Explorer when you find a household in the register you can view the house on a range of maps, from the late 19th century right up to the modern day. Whilst there's been a similar feature at Findmypast for some years, The Genealogist have taken it one stage further by adding maps and satellite images provided by Bing so I can see that most of the garden of the house I grew up in is sadly now covered by extensions and outbuildings.
If you want to know more you can see some examples here; also see below for an exclusive offer for LostCousins members from The Genealogist.
In the last newsletter I wrote about my great-great-great grandmother Jane Till who had 4 illegitimate children before her first marriage, but managed to bring them all up herself so I had mixed feelings when I read this BBC article about a mother who 'had' to give up her child for adoption.
I'm not going make any further comments about this particular case because I haven't watched the TV programme, and as a man its impossible for me to put myself in her position. Nevertheless there does seem to be a trend to reverse engineer the mores of the 21st century into every historical situation, a trend that I find quite disturbing. What will people make of us in 50 or 100 years' time will they accept that we did our best, or will we be pilloried by historians for failing to have second sight?
Last month I wrote about driving licences, so I thought I'd follow up this month with a link to Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archives which suggests that its possible to find out the owners of historic registration numbers providing us with another way of identifying people in old photographs.
I haven't attempted to ascertain which other counties have similar records perhaps you would post any discoveries you make in the relevant county areas of the LostCousins forum?
Note: as the previous article was primarily about driving licences I only talked about driving tests in passing; however, some readers suggested that it would have been helpful to mention that driving tests were paused during World War 2, only resuming on 1st November 1946. There was also a period of 12 months from 18th February 1947 during which anyone who started driving during the war could apply for a full licence without taking a test. You'll find those dates and some other interesting dates on this driving school website.
So far there have been seven online events for winners of this year's competition, and there are three more still to come:
7pm Saturday 5th March
Nathan Dylan Goodwin interview followed by Q&A
8pm Friday 11th March
British India with Elaine MacGregor
7pm Saturday 12th March
Brits to Canada with John D Reid
Invites for next week's talks will be going out shortly if you previously indicated your interest but won't be able to attend please change the setting on your My Prizes page to 1 and add an explanatory note so I know that its only the timing that has prevented you from taking part.
Please note that if you are invited to be in the audience you can submit short questions in advance by entering them in the comments box on your My Prizes page the presenters have found this system incredibly useful because it helps them to tailor the content to the audience.
At 5pm (London time) on Thursday 10th March Professor Rebecca Probert will be giving a virtual public lecture at Warwick Law School with the title Dont Tell the Bride that the wedding wasnt valid.
Note: apparently there is a 'popular' TV series called Dont Tell the Bride on one of the commercial channels in the UK I haven't seen it, but I suspect that isn't a pre-requisite for enjoying the lecture!
When I registered I discovered that 'Organisation' was a compulsory field so I put down 'LostCousins' feel free to do the same. Rather than Zoom they'll be using Microsoft Teams, but that shouldn't prevent anyone from being in the audience if youre not sure, please see this Microsoft page for more information.
Tip: if you're a LostCousins subscriber you can view a recording of the presentation that Professor Probert gave to competition winners on 26th February its well worth an hour or so of your time. You'll find the link on the Subscribers Only page.
One of the topics that came up in Professor Probert's recent presentations was the legality of a man marrying his dead wife's sister something that happened at least three times in my family between 1835 and 1907, the period when such marriages were void (one of them was my great-grandfather).
The Deceased Wife's Sister Act 1907 legalised my ancestor's marriage: it was the first of several 20th century relaxations of the rules about who could marry whom (you might find it interesting to peruse the debate during the 2nd reading in the House of Lords). Then, in the 21st century, we had the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which, amongst other things, made it legal for a man to marry his dead wife's brother or, indeed, his dead husband's brother.
But this story about a man marrying three brothers is rather different not least because the three brothers are also his sons ..
One of the most popular prizes in this year's competition was a Diamond subscription donated by The Genealogist. You may recall that this was won by Karin in England, but given the level of interest I managed to persuade Mark Bayley to give a one-hour Zoom presentation to around 60 lucky runners-up as a consolation prize.
Last Friday evening he demonstrated how the powerful search techniques and unique resources at The Genealogist can not only help family historians knock down 'brick walls' but also add colour to our ancestors' lives using records you might not considered before, such as tithe maps and the 1910 Valuation (better known as the Lloyd George 'Domesday' Survey).
As a bonus he offered attendees a lifetime discount on a Diamond subscription, a saving of £41 not just in the first year, but every year plus a free online subscription to Discover Your Ancestors magazine (worth £24.99), and a £10 discount voucher for the TreeView 2 program which he had briefly demonstrated.
The presentation was recorded and I've now been given permission to make it available to all readers of this newsletter you'll find it online here. And there's more good news: if you're as impressed as the audience were on Friday, for a limited time you can take advantage of the same subscription offer with the same bonuses (just click this link).
As family historians we work closely with records of birth, marriage, and death but working as a registrar or deputy registrar would provide additional insight into the system, and there are several LostCousins members who have worked in the registration service, as well as some who are currently doing so.
Although individual local authorities might have different standards, most people reading this newsletter have the qualifications and experience to become a registrar though if you are a doctor you would be excluded, presumably because there would be a perceived conflict of interest, and not because doctors are reputed to have such awful handwriting. Other disqualified professions include midwife, minister of religion, funeral director, and anyone working in the life assurance industry.
You can find out more and see a list of current vacancies here, on the website of the Local Registration Services Association. Do let me know if you get the job!
When did Elizabeth first realise that one day she would be Queen?
It's easy to forget that Queen Elizabeth II wasn't in the direct line to the throne when she was born it was only the abdication of her uncle, the uncrowned Edward VIII, that put her in pole position.
This BBC article has some wonderful photographs well worth a look!
You don't need to be a member of the LostCousins Forum to read what others have posted in the public areas of the forum. But why not join it's completely free, and open to members who are taking part in the LostCousins project to connect family historians who share the same ancestors, wherever they live.
If you've already qualified for membership you'll find a Coupon Code near the top of your My Summary page; if you haven't qualified yet simply add more relatives from the 1881 Census until your Match Potential (also shown on your My Summary page) is 1 or more. Remember, ALL of your living cousins are descended from the branches of your tree, so by far the best way to connect with the other experienced family historians who share your ancestors is to enter as many relatives from the branches as you can.
Note: you can also qualify by entering relatives from other censuses, but it's much quicker when you enter relatives from 1881 and those relatives are far more likely to connect you to your 'lost cousins' than relatives from other census years.
Whenever I buy a certificate or PDF from the General Register Office I have to prove that I'm human by ticking a box. It seems a bit silly, but it's a check that's designed to be easy for people, but difficult for computers to fake.
Recently a couple of members have mentioned that, when they attempted to support LostCousins by purchasing a subscription, nothing happened after they ticked the box, and eventually the website timed out. In fact it wouldn't have been the LostCousins site, but the WorldPay site since they handle online payments for LostCousins, just as they do (on a much larger scale) for the GRO.
When I tested the subscription process on my own computer I noticed that the box I ticked to prove I wasn't a robot was at the bottom of screen only if I scrolled down further could I complete the purchase, by clicking the tick icon to the right of the words 'Make payment':
Of course, you might see more or less on your screen than I do, depending on the size of the screen and other settings but I thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone runs into this problem, whether at LostCousins or any other site.
This exclusive offer is still running one member in Canada told me that she didnt realise what a good deal it was until she saw the cover price of the magazine! In round terms you'll pay between a third and a half of the newsstand price, with the precise amount varying according to your location:
UK - try 6 issues for just £9.99 - saving 68%
Europe - 13 issues (1 year) for 45 - saving 54%
Australia & New Zealand - 13 issues (1 year) for AU $80 - saving 50%
US & Canada 13 issues for US $59.99 saving 64%
Rest of the world - 13 issues (1 year) for US $59.99 saving 49%
To take advantage of any of these deals (and support LostCousins) please follow this link.
When I first heard about this book by Robin C McConnell I naively imagined that it was a book that everyone in the family could make use of after all, the subtitle is 'a family research adventure for all ages'.
In reality it's more the Teacher's Guide it offers advice and checklists that you can use to entice, encourage, and (if youre very lucky) excite the younger generations, but it's not the sort of book you'd leave on a coffee table in the hope that one of the children will pick it up and read it. Given the author's background as an educator it's perhaps not surprising that it reminds me of school and university!
When I began researching my family tree the first thing I did was buy a good book a very good book called Ancestral Trails. Written just before the Internet transformed family history for ever, it provided me with a thorough grounding, and even now I sometimes refer to it to check details that I cant find anywhere else.
However, as far as this book is concerned, I'm not sure that there are very many families that could make use of it these days there are so many more exciting things competing for the attention of the younger generation. But I'd be delighted to be proved wrong, and perhaps with the help of this book you'll be one to succeed?
Published in the UK at £14.99, at the time of writing you could buy it for just under £12 (including shipping) from an Amazon Marketplace seller it's not a fortune. Note that it wont be out in Australia until 1st April, or in North America until May, though you can pre-order it now.
I so much enjoyed watching the remake on Channel 5 (it was also shown on PBS in America) that my wife and I recorded the first series of the original (Robert Hardy/Christopher Timothy/Peter Davidson) version when it was reshown on BBC. Intriguingly there are significant differences between the two versions I couldn't tell you which storyline is closer to the books because I haven't read them, but considering that Alf Wight (James Herriot) was still alive when the first version was made I would guess that it's the more authentic of the two.
My wife and I are now hooked, and as we have only one episode of the 13 in the 1978 series still to watch we've splashed on a DVD set of all 7 series plus the Christmas specials (89 programmes on 33 disks with a total running time of 77 hours).
Actually, at 50p per episode its cheap for the amount of enjoyment that well get in a world that seems to be getting more and more unpleasant it's a relief to be able to watch something more light-hearted! It may only be VHS quality, but that was good enough for me in 1977 when I got my first video recorder, so why shouldn't it be good enough for me now?
Note: it seems to be only available in a UK format, so you may need a multi-region player outside Europe (but I believe that all Blu-Ray players are multi-region for DVDs).
Watching Mark Bayley's fascinating presentation reminded me that I'd managed to find on a tithe map the cottage by the Grand Union Canal where my great-great-great-great grandmother Sarah Beamont lived after she retired as the landlady of the Three Compasses in Patchetts Green, near Aldenham in Hertfordshire.
To the best of my recollection I've never visited the pub, which is still flourishing two centuries later, though it has been transformed from the simple ale-house my ancestors ran into a so-called 'gastro pub'. Whilst I've not been there in person I have visited the pub's website, where I found this intriguing photo of one of their meals. Can anyone work out what is in the picture, and explain to me what's so gastronomique about it (other than the, presumably, astronomique price)?
PS I don't think a few sprigs of roquette would count as one of my 5-a-day, do you?
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......
As I was finalising this newsletter I was shocked to read of the death, at just 52, of Shane Warne, one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Though I never met him, I signed him up a quarter of a century ago for the computer and console cricket game that my company developed.
His tragically early death reminds me of Emlyn Hughes, captain of Liverpool and England, who endorsed the first soccer game that I published, and also died far too young (he was 57 when he succumbed to a brain tumour); I did at least get to meet Emlyn several times he was such a lovely person, as many of you will know from his appearances on A Question of Sport.
© Copyright 2022 Peter Calver
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