Newsletter - 20th April 2020



Isle of Man leads on birth & death registrations

Scores of new cousins connected - thanks to your efforts

$1000 (or £1000) still to be won!

Censuses delayed or cancelled

Fake news?

Save 30% at the British Newspaper Archive ENDS 30TH APRIL

Another unusual birth certificate

'First Steps' offers free censuses

Using LostCousins for One-Place Studies


Peter's Tips

Stop Press



The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 13th April) 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!



Isle of Man leads on birth & death registrations

The current epidemic has prompted the Isle of Man government to allow remote registration of births and deaths - perhaps the General Register Office should consider introducing a similar system in England & Wales? As it is many registration services are refusing to register births, as reported in this newsletter at the end of last month.



Scores of new cousins connected - thanks to your efforts

We canít all emulate Captain Tom who, even though he will be 100 years old on 30th April, walked around his garden 100 times to raise money for charity (he'd raised over £26 million by his efforts when I last checked) - but this month many of you have been inspired to connect with your 'lost cousins', whether by the prizes I'm offering, the boredom of lockdown, or simply because itís the right thing to do. Which it is, of course.


Here's something for you to consider... have you tested your DNA? If so, I bet you've discovered branches of your tree that you didnít know about, and in which case there could well be some additional relatives on the 1881 Census that you didnít know about before. Every relative you enter from 1881 could be a prize-winner in my Easter Egg competition - which has been extended to the end of April.



$1000 (or £1000) still to be won!

The top prize of $1000 (or £1000, or Ä1000, depending on where you live) is still up for grabs in my Easter Egg competition. Let me remind you how it works - 100 prizes have been hidden in the 1881 England & Wales, Scotland, and Canada censuses. Apart from the top prize there were 9 Ancestry DNA tests to be won, as well as 90 LostCousins subscriptions - and whilst some of the lesser prizes have been won, most of them are still waiting for you to come along and discover them!


All you need to do is enter your relatives from 1881, remembering that because ALL of your living cousins are descended from the branches of your tree, it's by starting as early as you can, then tracing your branches through to 1881, that you're going to give yourself the best chance of winning one of the 100 prizes on offer in my competition - as well as maximise the number of 'lost cousins' you find.


Note: wondering why itís so important to find living cousins when you're actually tracing ancestors who died hundreds of years ago? See this article from the last issue.


How do you know you've won? You'll get a match with someone who has the initials EE, and the chances are that will be the 'Easter Egg' account I've set up. You can either make contact with me through the website, or else I'll contact you - either way you'll know very soon which prize you've won. Note that you may be asked to prove that youíre related to the winning entry.



Censuses delayed or cancelled

Four weeks ago I asked whether the US Census might be delayed by the coronavirus epidemic, and last week we finally got confirmation that because the pandemic has forced the Census Bureau to delay sending out enumerators to track down those who haven't already completed the census form, it now anticipates that field operations will continue until the end of October. This delay makes it impossible to meet the current statutory deadlines; you can read more in this Science article.


Almost a century ago the 1921 British census was delayed by 8 weeks, from 24th April to 19th June - not because of Spanish Flu, which had by then petered out, but because of the threat of a general strike.


The article on the right, from the Central Somerset Gazette of Friday 22nd April 1921 reveals that originally October was also considered as an alternative date - it was important to avoid clashing with the holiday season, when many people would be away from home.


Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and used by permission of British Newspaper Archive


The 1941 UK census didnít take place because of the Second World War, but the 1939 Register is a useful substitute, even though many families were split up as a result of evacuation, mobilisation, or other effects of the War. In Ireland the 1921 census was cancelled because the Irish War of Independence was raging, and there was no census in 1941 even though Ireland was neutral during WW2, whilst the 1976 census was cancelled as an economy measure.


Though the next UK census isn't due until March 2021, nearly a year away, we clearly canít rule out the possibility that this too will be delayed, not by industrial action, but by a second or third wave of the epidemic. Incidentally, while everyone knows that 2020 is an election year in the US - and it's anyone's guess whether or how this might be disrupted - some of you may have forgotten that it would also have been an election year in the UK had the parliament elected in 2015 run the full 5 year course laid down in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 - indeed the General Election would have been on Thursday 7th May, less than three weeks away.



Fake news?

As if we didnít have enough on our plate right now, some evil people are spreading fake news, as you can see from this BBC article. However there are conspiracy theorists everywhere - itís so easy to make up stories that will fool gullible people. But when it costs lives - as it inevitably will at a time like this - it's tantamount to murder.


Fortunately readers of this newsletter are all researchers - you're not going to accept what youíre told without checking it out, are you? After all - and this might sound like hyperbole, -lives could depend on it. Do you remember the WW2 slogan "Careless talk costs lives"? It's even more true today than it was in the 1940s. "Is your tweet really necessary?"



Save 30% at the British Newspaper Archive ENDS 30TH APRIL

There are two ways of getting 12 months unlimited access to the newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive- one is to take out the top Findmypast subscription (a Pro subscription costs £159.99 at the UK site), the other is to subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive directly (normal cost £80).


However, until midnight on Thursday 30th April you can save a massive 30% on a 12 month British Newspaper Archive subscription, bringing the cost down to just £56 - which is amazingly cheap when you consider that you're getting access to almost 37 million pages and over 450 million articles from British and Irish newspapers. These numbers will continue to grow during the period of your subscription - on average over 10,000 pages and 100,000 articles are added each day.


Of course, there's nothing worse than having to plough through page after page of search results that you've seen several times before, which is why being able to restrict your search to articles added between two dates or after a given date, is so useful. This is just one of the extra search options that you get when you subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive directly - it makes an enormous difference, especially if you have common surnames in your tree (or, like me, surnames that are also place names).


Tip: if you've had a subscription to BNA before check when it ended so that when you carry out repeat searches you can avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.


To save 30% on your subscription - and support LostCousins at the same time - please follow this link. This is what you'll see:

A quick calculation will shows that at the offer price the cost of a 12 month subscription works out at little more than 4 months would cost if you were to pay monthly, or half a year if you were to pay quarterly.



Another unusual birth certificate

In the last issue I published the birth certificate for Edward Llewellyn Everson, who was described as a 'Girl' even though he went on to father at least 12 children.


But it seems that these things work both ways - Eric in Australia sent me an example of a female relative who was recorded as male.


The correct name for the young lady was 'Walterina', which is a name I haven't come across before, so itís quite possible the registrar hasnít either. Since the father - who registered the birth - was unable to sign his own name it's perhaps not surprising that he didnít notice the errors.


As you can see, on her 1859 birth certificate 'Walterina' became 'Walter Enior'. Fortunately this didnít prevent her from marrying - as a woman - in 1879.


I also heard from Clive, who told me about some of the unusual parish register entries that he had come across. One was the 1727 baptism of Edward Warden at Nuneatron, Warwickshire - the name chosen for the boy was 'Church' (ie Church Warden).


I imagine the father intended it as a joke, though whether his son saw the funny side is anyone's guess. Perhaps he did, because in 1771 he chose the same forename for his own son!


But returning to the story of Edward Everson, something I didnít realise until recently is that Edward has been used as a forename for girls in the past. Angi wrote in to tell me that her great-great-great grandmother, born in 1798, was named Edward, and appears on censuses and in marriage records as Edward (although her baptism gives her name as Elizabeth).



'First Steps' offers free censuses

The Genealogist is offering a totally free package that's aimed at beginners, but could be useful for LostCousins members. Why? Because it includes images of three England & Wales censuses, 1891, 1901, and 1911 - the last of these being one of the censuses that we use at LostCousins. Want to know more? Follow this link.



Using LostCousins for One-Place Studies

In the last issue I reviewed Ten Steps to a One-Place Study by Janet Few. If you're running, or thinking of running, a One-Place Study you might be interested in Janet's comments about LostCousins:


"Many readers of this newsletter will have added their own ancestors to Lost Cousins, in the hope of making contact with relatives. There are other ways in which Lost Cousins can be used. I am in the process of writing a One-Place Studies online course for Pharos Teaching and Tutoring. Part of the advice to those conducting a One-Place Study is to contact descendants of the inhabitants of their chosen community. With luck, those descendants will have useful information or even photographs of past residents of the place being studied. Lost Cousins provides an ideal way of getting in touch with these potentially helpful people.


"Having downloaded, accessed or indexed the images for a particular census relating to your place, you can then begin to add the inhabitants of your chosen community to your Lost Cousins profile. In the dropdown menu, it is possible to label each of these individuals as being part of a One-Place Study, an option thoughtfully added for us by Peter. There is the facility to correct enumeration errors and record additional information, such womenís maiden names, that is not on the census itself.


"If you are studying a place with many inhabitants, or if time is short, you could begin by just adding the heads of household and servants, borders and lodgers with different surnames to the household heads. Then sit back and wait for matches. Good luck!"


Janet Few is conducting One-Place Studies for Buckland Brewer, Bulkworthy and Bucks Mills in North Devon and Thockrington in Northumberland. It's worth mentioning that as well as One-Place Studies, LostCousins also supports One-Name Studies. Further information about both of these features can be found on the Help & Advice page.




When I started looking at DNA tests 15 years the only useful test available was Y-DNA, which looks at the direct paternal line, ie the line that goes up the left-hand edge of a conventional family tree. These days autosomal DNA tests (such as Ancestry DNA) are many times more popular, and produce far more useful matches than a Y-DNA test ever could - and yet there are still reasons to consider Y-DNA.


Autosomal DNA tests work best when your 'brick wall' is in the last 6 or 7 generations - say from 1750 onwards. But even though over half of your autosomal DNA matches will be more distant than that, the chance of matching with a specific cousin is very small - which makes it difficult to target a particular 'brick wall'.


Y-DNA, on the other hand, is passed on virtually unchanged from father to son, in the same way that surnames usually are, and because it mutates fairly slowly it can take you back at least as far as origin of surnames in the mediaeval period. But only on that one specific line - and even for that you have to be male to provide a Y-DNA sample.


So how can you make use of Y-DNA to solve mysteries in other parts of your tree? Very easily - if you're in contact with a male cousin with the surname of interest, testing their Y-DNA can potentially tell you just as much about their surname would as testing your Y-DNA would tell you about your own surname line. In fact I've bought Y-DNA tests for two of my cousins, and I've probably learned more than I did by testing my own Y-DNA..


In practice some Y-DNA tests turn up trumps, but many donít - because relatively few people have tested their Y-DNA so far. But youíre much more likely to get a helpful match today than I was when I tested, and you'll pay much less than I did - especially if you buy your test during FamilyTreeDNA's sale which runs until April 26th.


Use this link to save $20 on a 37-marker Y-DNA test, bringing the cost down to $99. Is it worth splashing out on a 111-marker test? Probably not, because you can always upgrade if necessary - you might be surprised to learn that you're unlikely to get more matches as a result of testing more markers.


Note: FamilyTreeDNA also offer a competitively-priced autosomal DNA test, but the key thing to remember is that Ancestry - who have by far the biggest database of DNAS results - donít accept transfers from other test providers. My recommendation remains to test with Ancestry - you can transfer your Ancestry results to other sites, but it wonít work the other way round.



Peter's Tips

Last year I complained about Gressingham packs of '2 duck legs' that actually contained 3 (smaller) legs - clearly not ideal if there are two of you in the household. So many of you found that story amusing that I thought you might like to know that at Christmas I got stung again - rushing round Sainsburys on Christmas Eve I spotted Gressingham's half crispy duck for 50p less than I'd normally pay at Tesco, but it was only when I got home and opened it that I realised the pack didnít contain either hoisin sauce or pancakes (both essential ingredients, and both always in the packs that Tesco sell).


Yes, it did say this on the pack, but it was almost impossible to spot end-on (which was how they were stacked on the shelves). Fortunately I had a jar of hoisin sauce in the fridge, and in the freezer there was a pack of crispy duck that I'd bought from Tesco, so I robbed it of its pancakes - but that left me short of pancakes, and that's how it remained when lockdown arrived last month.



I've made Chinese pancakes in the past - but it's time-consuming, and impossible to get them anywhere near as thin and light as the shop-bought version. Since the duck alone is 390 calories per portion, I didn't want to up the calorie count unnecessarily - but then I had a brainwave. I realised that cabbage leaves would work just as well as pancakes, and I happened to have a sweetheart cabbage in the fridge - so after carefully removing and lightly-steaming half a dozen leaves we were able to enjoy a delicious and (relatively) healthy meal.


I've also discovered that Aldi sell their own-brand crispy duck which, at £4.99 (complete with hoisin and pancakes), works out a lot cheaper than the branded version - so Gressingham's greed has lost them a customer, and serve them right!


There's not a lot of good news at the moment (though the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest certainly fits into that category so far as my wife and I are concerned). A particularly heart-warming story was the discharge from hospital of an 106 year-old British woman who has survived coronavirus - well done, Connie (you can read her story here).



Stop Press

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......



Tomorrow our first supermarket delivery is due - hopefully most of what I ordered will be delivered as we're running short of fruit and vegetables. We're all having to learn new ways of doing things - going to the supermarket used to be one of the highlights of my week!


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Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2020 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?