Newsletter - 5th May 2015
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 17th April) 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. Or use the customised Google search below (that's what I do):
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!
I've received several copies of an email which purports to be from Ancestry.com (though it appears as Ancestrycom, ie without the dot), and simply by opening this email you could let the senders know that you're a target for future scams. Click on any of the links in the email and the results could be even worse (I'm not foolish enough to want to find out so I haven't tried it).
The emails I received had as the subject "Find your relatives and ancestors. Try it for 14 days n/c" and "Go back years and find your relatives. Try it for 14 days n/c" - but there will be many others (I've received two more with different titles since writing this article on Tuesday). The reason they don't mention the word free is because spam filters look for this word.
The reality is that if you want a 14-day free trial at Ancestry you don't have to risk compromising the security of your computer, or handing over your credit card details to scammers - there are always 14-day free trials on offer at Ancestry (and at Findmypast, for that matter). If you use one of the links below you'll also be supporting LostCousins:
The LostCousins website opened on 1st May 2004 - I spent that weekend standing outside the Society of Genealogists Annual Fair in London, handing out leaflets to the people queuing.
Just 8 people joined on the first day, and 20 on the second - who would have thought that there would be over 98,000 of us 11 years later?
The world's first adhesive postage stamp, the iconic Penny Black, will be 175 years old on 6th May, and to commemorate the event the British Postal Museum and Archive in London is holding an exhibition which includes the only complete sheet of Penny Blacks in the world!
The exhibition runs from 6th May to 7th August (with the exception of 1st-12th June) - you can find out more here.
Note: if you had an ancestor who worked for the Post Office this guide might help you find records which refer to them - see this PDF guide for more information.
The world's oldest newly-weds
The Independent recently reported that George Kirby and Doreen Luckie, a couple who have been together for 27 years, are to wed - at the ages of 103 and 91 respectively!
George proposed on Valentine's Day but, as he told a newspaper reporter, "I didnít get down on one knee because I donít think Iíd have been able to get back up".
Shortly after my last newsletter was published Ancestry announced the release of over 400,000 pages from WW1 war diaries. In some cases the deaths of individual soldiers are mentioned - for example, I found a brief report of the death, and burial two days later, of Christopher Bowman, who featured in my latest challenge. However my great-uncle Herbert wasn't referred to by name - his death was simply recorded as that of 1 O.R. (other rank).
According to Irish Genealogy News, the excellent blog written by LostCousins member Claire Santry, Wednesday 8th July has been named as the day when 390,000 images of Catholic parish registers from 1,091 parishes across Ireland will be made available online - and they'll be free!
The images have been scanned from microfilm, so they'll be in black and white - and no transcriptions or indexes will be available at the time of launch, so you'll really need to have some idea where to start looking.
There used to be a document on the Birmingham City Council website which gave the key dates in civil registration - I linked to it from the 5th Birthday edition of my newsletter. Unfortunately in the intervening years the council have reorganised their website, and if the document is still there I haven't been able to find it - how frustrating!
Then I remembered the Internet Archive, better known as the Wayback Machine, which keeps copies of websites for posterity. They had a copy of the Birmingham City Council site from 30th April 2009 (and more than 1000 other dates), and before long I had found what I was looking for - you can see it here.
Note: although the Wayback Machine is a phenomenal resource, you won't always be able to access information from old sites - it stores web pages, not databases.
One key date you won't find in that document is 26th March 2015, the day when the Deregulation Act received Royal Assent, and we at last could look forward to easier access to the birth, marriage, and death registers for England & Wales held by the General Register Office - something that a Royal Commission had argued for 96 years earlier (see this newsletter article from September 2013).
7th May 2015 may prove to be another important date in the history of civil registration, because it will determine which government implements the reform that we're looking forward to. The present government certainly haven't got everything right, but at least we haven't had any increases in BMD certificate prices in the past 5 years!
Finally, here's a birth certificate you won't have to pay to seeÖ..
Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2016 - date change
At the end of this year's show the organisers announced a change in date for 2016 - originally the dates announced were 28th-30th April, but the new dates are 7th-9th.
Not a genealogical mystery, but a real-life psychological mystery, Bottleneck: Our Human interface with Reality by Richard Epworth is a most unusual book, which convincingly demonstrates that our brain can only take in information very slowly (ironically the author spent much of his career working with optical fibres, which transmit incredible amounts of data at approaching the speed of light).
However, we're very good at convincing ourselves that we know more than we do, which is why witnesses to crimes often give plausible, but highly inaccurate, accounts - and why family stories are often at odds with the documented facts.
Everyone will get something different out of this book - in my case not only did I end up understanding myself a little bit better, I also began to realise why my view of the world is so often at odds with the views of others. The author quotes from hundreds of sources in order to make his case: from the writings of Alan Turing and Oliver Sacks to humbler sources, such as song lyrics - and even the LostCousins newsletter!
It isn't light reading, but nor is it hard to read - I read it from beginning to end over the course of three days. Will it change my life? Probably. Not bad for under £2 on Kindle!
You'll find the book and more reviews here:
Last time I checked all the reviews gave the book 5 stars - pretty impressive!
This is where I'll post any last minute additions.
© Copyright 2015 Peter Calver
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