Newsletter - 10th April 2015
Half-price Findmypast World subscriptions EXCLUSIVE OFFER
Tell your photo story COMPETITION EXTENDED
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published fortnightly. To access the previous newsletter (dated 3rd 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!
Half-price Findmypast World subscriptions EXCLUSIVE OFFER
Until midnight on Thursday 30th April (previously 18th April) you can save 50% on a 12 month World subscription to Findmypast. This brings the price at the UK site down from £129.50 to just £64.75 (less than 18p a day), and there are similar reductions at Findmypast's other sites.
You might think "Why do I need a Findmypast subscription - I've already got a subscription to xxxxx?". There was indeed a time when we could choose between the major subscription sites based on our personal preferences - but that was in the days when most of our research was done using censuses and the GRO indexes. Nowadays so many records - especially parish registers - are only available at one or other of the major sites that we have to seriously consider taking out two subscriptions - BUT when you can buy one of them at half-price the decision is made so much easier!
Even if you don't know of any overseas connections, almost all of us have relatives who disappear from the censuses. Often it's because they've emigrated, and since the World subscription provides access to ALL of Findmypast's historical records (more than 2 billion of them) and hundreds of millions of newspaper articles, you've got a pretty good chance of tracking them down. Most of the records are from Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and the US but there are also some records and newspapers from Canada and other countries.
And just in case you're wavering about the need for a World subscription, it's worth in mind that a Britain subscription would cost £99.50, so buying the World subscription at £64.75 really is a no-brainer!
Use one of these links to claim your discount (but make sure you read the small print below):
Findmypast.co.uk HALF-PRICE - SAVE £64.75
Findmypast.ie HALF-PRICE - SAVE €74.75
Findmypast.com.au HALF-PRICE - SAVE $99.75
Findmypast.com HALF-PRICE - SAVE $99.75
If the links don't work at all for you, see the advice in italics at the beginning of the newsletter. If they take you to the Findmypast site, but you don't see the offer, log-out from Findmypast and try again. (If you don't use one of these links then LostCousins won't benefit, and you won't qualify for a free LostCousins subscription.)
Terms and conditions: offer expires at 11.59pm on 30th April 2015 (previously 18th). Discount applies to new World subscriptions. After the initial 365 day period, your subscription will be automatically renewed at the normal price unless you un-tick the 'auto-renew my subscription box' in the My Account section of the site. This discount can only be used once per person, and is intended for new or lapsed subscribers, not existing subscribers.
When you take up Findmypast's generous offer using one of the links above you'll also be supporting LostCousins. Since one good turn deserves another, I'm going to give you a FREE LostCousins subscription worth up to £12.50, taking your total savings to a possible £77!
So long as you have entered 5 or more relatives on your My Ancestors page by the time you make your claim you'll receive a 6 month subscription - if you've made fewer entries you'll get one month free, plus one month for each entry. But if you've entered 50 or more relatives I'll double your subscription from 6 months to 12 months.
Tip: if you already have a LostCousins subscription you can still benefit - I'll extend the expiry date.
All you need to do is forward a copy of the email receipt you receive from Findmypast showing the date and time (your LostCousins subscription will run from that date, so it's best to get your claim in as soon as possible), and quoting your LostCousins membership number, which is shown on your My Summary page. You can forward it to any of the LostCousins email addresses, including the one I wrote from when I told you about this newsletter.
If you want to benefit from a joint subscription, covering two LostCousins accounts, you must link them together before forwarding the receipt; to find out how to link the accounts just log-in and go to the Subscribe page (it takes 2 minutes and only needs to be done once).
Terms and conditions: your Findmypast subscription purchase cannot be combined with any other offer; you must click the link for the Findmypast site where you buy your subscription (and you must do it before buying the subscription), otherwise the purchase won't benefit LostCousins and you won't qualify for your free LostCousins subscription. If you buy a Findmypast subscription that lasts for less than 12 months from the date of purchase your LostCousins subscription will be adjusted on a pro rata basis.
This week Findmypast made available an index of beneficiaries of Essex wills which includes over 150,000 names from 36,000 wills from the period 1505-1916. You can't view images of the wills at Findmypast, but many of the wills are available online at Essex Ancestors, an Essex Record Office subscription service which also offers access to parish registers.
It was a pleasing coincidence that this index came online just one week after the newsletter article in which I highlighted the need to be able to search GRO records in different ways - for example, using the names of marriage witnesses. I hope it's a sign of even better things to come!
There are now over 124 million articles from English, Welsh, and Scottish newspapers in the British Newspaper Collection at Findmypast - the most recent additions are listed here in the Findmypast blog.
On Thursday 16th April the world's biggest family history show opens - and for the first time it's being held at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham. This year I won't be able to attend, for family reasons, so I'm asking LostCousins members who are lucky enough to be there to email me news and photos that I can include in my next newsletter - that way that those of us who can't be there can get some sense of what we've missed!
Tell your photo story COMPETITION EXTENDED
When I look at old family photos they invariably bring back memories - and I'm willing to bet that it's the same for you. That's why I've arranged a special competition in collaboration with Repixl, the independent website that specialises in digitally repairing and retouching photos.
All you need to do is follow this link to Repixl, register (if you haven't already done so), and upload one or more of your favourite family photos. When you move the mouse pointer over a picture you've uploaded you'll see a number of icons appear at the bottom of the photo - one on the right looks rather like a cassette, and when you move the pointer to it the words Submit a Photo Story will be displayed, as you can see in this screenshot (that's my mum's class in 1934, by the way):
When you click the icon you'll be taken to a page where you can enter your story - there are some questions displayed, but they are just suggestions. It's your story, so bring the photo to life however you want.
After the competition closes at the end of April, James at Repixl will choose his favourite photo stories from all those submitted by LostCousins members - and the 10 lucky winners will get a prize that money can't buy, the chance to submit a black and white or sepia-toned photograph from their family collection for colorisation!
If you watched the television series, World War 1 In Colour, you'll know how much more realistic films are when they're in colour - and when it comes to still photos the difference is even more pronounced.
Tip: you can enter more than once if you can't make up your mind which of your photo stories is the best.
A month ago I set out my top Findmypast search tips in this article - and just two days later I got this email from Cindy in Canada:
So Happy to receive this in my inbox while I was pulling my hair out on the Find My Past website.
I was having no luck and getting quite annoyed with the search engine on the website. I am an Ancestry user - from the beginning of my genealogy addiction - and I am thinking Ancestry's interface ruins all other website searching habits!
On reading your tidbits I changed my search to go directly to Bonby, Lincolnshire Baptisms - and Voila! My Great-Grandmother baptized in 1856 so now I can say yes, her parents are George and Catherine....
Next it will be off to the Marriages to see if I can find her mother's maiden name and go on from there!
So Thank You for your perfect timing!
Every website is different - and so we need to adapt slightly to get the best out of all the different sites - but in this case the parish registers haven't been transcribed yet and until they are, the baptism would never show up in a name search. Most major websites, including Ancestry and FamilySearch, have records which have yet to be transcribed - it's a way of making the registers available sooner.
It's another reason to search specific record sets, as I strongly recommend, rather than searching entire collections.
The Origins website has now closed following the takeover by Findmypast - all of the records previously available at Origins are now at Findmypast, and all remaining Origins subscribers have been upgraded to Findmypast subscriptions.
Two New South Wales datasets added this week at Findmypast might feature your relatives, one large and one small. The smaller dataset is the more interesting because it features photographs of convicts - see for example this blog entry which recounts the notorious case of Louisa Collins, who murdered her husband using arsenic. But let's hope you don't find your relatives in this dataset....
The larger dataset, with over 1.2 million entries, records names from the New South Wales Government Gazette Indexes for the period 1832-1863. The entries aren't particularly informative - I think you'd need to view the gazette itself to make much sense of the data, and fortunately I found many of them here.
Tip: the forerunner to the gazette was the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, which can be read online at the free Trove website (it covers the period 1803 to 1842); you can view the NSW gazette from 1836-51 free at the Victoria state archives website.
The Irish civil registration indexes, which had been removed for data protection reasons, are now back online at IrishGenealogy.ie but only births more than 100 years old, marriages more than 75 years old, and deaths over 50 years old are listed.
According to Claire Santry, whose blog is usually the first place I look for Irish genealogy news, the birth indexes consistently show the mother's maiden name from 1900 onwards, but some earlier entries do also show this important information.
While Genealogy in the Sunshine 2015 was taking place in Portugal Scotlandspeople launched the 1865 Valuation Rolls.
The extract below shows the house at 131 Sauciehall Street, Glasgow owned by Dr Edward Pritchard, the Glasgow Poisoner - at the time the Valuation Roll was compiled he was awaiting trial, having murdered his wife and his mother-in-law.
Crown copyright: reproduced by kind permission of the Registrar General for Scotland
Pritchard was the last man to be publicly hanged in Glasgow, on 28th July 1865.
Burial legislation in Scotland is over 150 years old, and The Scottish Government is proposing to bring it up to date. Of particular interest to family historians will be the section of the consultation document starting at paragraph 58 and headed "Alleviating pressure on burial grounds".
You can download a copy of the consultation document from the LostCousins website here (thanks to John for alerting me to this issue).
James wrote to tell me that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is keen to make contact with relatives of around 70 soldiers, sailors and airmen who are buried at cemeteries in the UK. You can see a list of them here.
From next week the Research Room at the Imperial War Museum will be open 4 days a week, from Monday to Thursday, and appointments can no longer be booked by telephone. You can read more about the current arrangements here.
At Genealogy in the Sunshine last month Debbie Kennett - author of DNA and Social Networking, author of The Surnames Handbook, Honorary Research Associate at University College London, and a long-time member of LostCousins - used one of the morning sessions to provide an introduction to DNA testing.
For those of you who weren't able to be there, a 45 minute presentation at Rootstech 2015 by Diahan Southard which is available to view online also provides a gentle introduction to the topic - you can find it here.
This week the Daily Mail wrote about a family where the relationships are so complex that few family tree programs could cope! What do you think about them?
The website Exploring 20th Century London is the result of a collaboration between 19 museums in the London area, and whilst it seems to be aimed primarily at schools there are facts and figures that family historians with London connections will also find interesting. The audio slideshows require Quicktime, which I chose not to download, but all the information is in the accompanying PDF file, including links to the images.
Most of the books I read (and review) are newly-published - but the book I've just finished reading was published in 1999.
My East End by the late Gilda O'Neill reminds me what was good - and bad - about the East End of London, where my ancestors lived through most of the 19th and much of the 20th centuries. Early in the book she records how Lord Ashley, better known to us as Lord Shaftesbury (he took the title on the death of his father in 1851), told of 5 families living in one room - one in each corner, and the fifth in the middle. Overcrowding and squalor contributed to the cholera epidemic of 1848, but it wasn't until the slum clearances of the first half of the 20th century that government really got to grips with the problem.
The book focuses on the recollections of residents and former residents who the author interviewed personally; many, if not most, of those interviewed are no longer be around to tell their story, so the book is even more important to us today than it was when it was first published. Here are some quotes:
"[Grandad] told me that, at one time, he and his brothers took it in turn to go to school, because they had only a single pair of boots. A frequent meal was boiled rice, with a spoon of jam if they were well off that day."
"No shoes on their feet, four and five to a bed, and freezing-cold bedrooms with old coats chucked over them..... they wasn't necessarily bad parents, they was probably doing what they could, but it wasn't always enough. Being hungry, really hungry, is a terrible thing. Having a hungry child must be worse."
"....one of the boys found the end of a stale loaf that someone had chucked out for the street pigeons. He was from a right poor family and he dived on this bread like he was starving."
"Dad being the breadwinner had egg and bacon on a Sunday morning if there was the money, and us kids took turns to be given the bacon rind, which was a real treat."
The photo on the dust jacket of the book may have come from a photo library, but it's a joy to behold - you can see a larger version if you click 'see this image' in the Amazon listing. There also some wonderful photos inside - this is one of those occasions when an e-book simply wouldn't work as well.
Holly wrote to tell me that LostCousins has been mentioned in Stolen Futures, a genealogical mystery book by John Nixon - this follows on from the key role LostCousins played in The Orange Lilies by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, one of my favourite books of the past year.
This is very good news for you and me, because the more LostCousins is talked about the more researchers will join, and the more 'lost cousins' we'll find (those of us who've completed our My Ancestors page, that is, not the lazy so-and-sos who can't be bothered!).
On 6th April those of us who have defined contribution pensions at last gained control over our own money - from the age of 55 onwards we can take as much money as we want out of our fund, though we have to pay income tax on 75% of it (so you may have to take it out over several years to avoid paying higher rate tax).
For those of you who have already reached state pension age, or will - like me - reach state pension age before 6th April 2016 there's a fantastic opportunity to, in effect, use the money from your private pension to enhance your state pension.
For each year you defer your state pension it will increase by 10.4% over and above the normal annual increases (see this government guide), and you also have the option of taking your deferred pension as a lump sum should your personal circumstances change. Whilst there will be some people for whom this isn't such a good idea, the fact that the government are making the terms much worse for people who reach state pension age after 6th April next year strongly suggests that for most of it's a jolly good deal.
Previously many people haven't been able to afford to defer their state pension, because their private pension was too small - now you can draw on your pension fund it makes things a lot easier. You can defer your pension even after you have started drawing it, but you can only defer once.
Disclaimer: I am not a qualified financial adviser and even if I were, everyone's situation is different; I'm just highlighting an opportunity that is worth investigating.
Until Sunday 12th April you can make big savings on perfumes, after-shave and other cosmetics at Allbeauty. Even after that date it's worth checking out the site because their everyday prices are better than you'll find in supermarkets or even Duty Free stores at airports.
This is where I'll post any last minute additions.
© Copyright 2015 Peter Calver
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