Newsletter – 16th April 2021



Where were you when the news came through?

Three days to save 20% at Findmypast EXCLUSIVE OFFER

Messaging other Findmypast users

Is census information always hidden for 100 years?

The 1642 'Census'

An unusual birthplace?

Check before visiting record offices

Brixton and Brunswick, Clerkenwell and Clissold

Scrapbook recipes

Peter's Tips

Stop Press



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



Where were you when the news came through?

I can remember where I was and what I was doing when the news came through about the assassination of President Kennedy; I can also remember the moment when I heard that Princess Diana had been killed in a car crash.


When the announcement of Prince Philip's death came through on Friday I was in a leisure centre getting my second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – it was only when I returned to the car that my wife told me the sad news.


Unlike my younger brother I never met the Prince, but I've always been grateful to him for setting up the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme. Whilst I never completed any of the awards it wasn't for want of trying, and it certainly gave me something to aim for as a teenager: the three Award expeditions that I took part in during the 1960s were character-forming.




Three days to save 20% at Findmypast EXCLUSIVE OFFER

I'm delighted to say that for the first time in two years I've been able to negotiate an EXCLUSIVE discount for LostCousins members (ie the 70,000 family historians who received an email from me with a link to this newsletter).


The offer applies to both new subscribers and lapsed subscribers, so it's a great time to come back to Findmypast, one of the sites that I find indispensable for my own research – not least because they have images of the parish registers for CheshireDevon, Hertfordshire, most of East Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Plymouth & West Devon, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, much of Yorkshire, and most of Wales.


Until 11.59pm (London time) on Monday 19th April you can save 20% on any new 12 month subscription to Findmypast at any of their worldwide sites when you follow the appropriate link below:


This saving brings the cost of a PLUS subscription (British and Irish records) at the UK site down below £96, and means that a PRO subscription (which includes virtually unlimited access to ALL of Findmypast's billions of worldwide records as well as their entire newspaper collection), costs just 35p a day.


(At the US site the subscriptions are called ESSENTIAL and ULTIMATE, but they're equivalent to PLUS and PRO.)


Not only is this an exclusive offer, I'm going to give you an exclusive bonus - a FREE LostCousins subscription when you support LostCousins by using the link above to buy a new 12 month Findmypast subscription (and ensure that your purchase is tracked by following the advice below).


You'll qualify for a 6-month LostCousins subscription when we receive commission on your purchase of a 12-month PLUS subscription, or a 12-month LostCousins subscription if you go for a 12 month PRO subscription, which includes all the newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive, with more than 42 million pages, nearly 400 million articles, and billions of names. (I'm not offering any bonus on Starter subscriptions as they're unsuitable for an experienced user like you – though if you want to purchase a Starter subscription for a friend or relative you can still save 20% using the link above.)




Unfortunately simply clicking one of my links doesn’t absolutely guarantee that you'll be supporting LostCousins when you make your purchase, because these days quite a few people use adblocking software, or have disabled tracking in their browser. Whether you've done this deliberately or inadvertently, it can have a big impact on small independent websites like LostCousins - in effect you’re telling the big website that you're buying from to ignore the information about which site you just came from. This prevents them from paying any commission on your purchase - great news for the big website, since it adds to their profits, but very tough on the small genealogy websites that depend on that income.


If you help LostCousins then LostCousins will help you. Your subscription will commence on the day you bought your new Findmypast subscription unless you already have a LostCousins subscription, in which case I'll extend it by 6 or 12 months, as appropriate.


Tip: if you are also researching on behalf of your partner or another family member you can link the two accounts together and get a joint subscription covering BOTH accounts. Simply enter the other person's Membership Number (found on their My Summary page, or in a Password Reminder email), in the relevant box on your My Details page.


First make sure that your purchase is going to be tracked - if you have installed any browser extensions with names that include the words 'ad' and/or 'block' this is a danger sign! I also recommend, based on past experience, that you don't use Firefox - I suggest you load up this newsletter in Chrome or Microsoft Edge before clicking the link above and making your purchase. All major browsers are free, so it makes sense to have a choice (many problems can be solved by using a different browser).


I also recommend you use a computer rather than a smartphone or tablet, but whatever device you choose, stick to it - clicking my link on one device and making your purchase on another definitely won't work.


In Chrome you'll find the 'Do not track' switch by going to Settings, then Privacy and security, then Cookies and other site data - the default setting is OFF, as shown below, and this is exactly what you want:



The switch should be to the LEFT and appear grey. If the switch is to the right (and blue) then please move it to the left.


In Edge you'll find a similar switch in Settings under Privacy, search and services and it works in the same way. If it appears blue with a white dot, move it to the left so that it is grey with a black dot. I also recommend temporarily turning off Tracking Prevention.


Once you are satisfied that your purchase is going to be tracked, click the link and make your purchase, noting the EXACT time of the purchase, without which I cannot confirm that you qualify. You may receive an email receipt for your purchase from Findmypast - if so you can forward this to me to claim your free LostCousins subscription – but don’t assume it's going to arrive (especially if you have a Hotmail or Yahoo email address). Otherwise send me an email quoting the precise time and date of your purchase (including the time zone), and stating the price you paid for your subscription.





Messaging other Findmypast users

Findmypast trees are rather like private trees at Ancestry – your tree can't be viewed by other users, nor can you see their trees. But just as Ancestry allow you to have a searchable tree, Findmypast gives you the option of 'sharing deceased ancestors' which puts your tree into a matching system that automatically looks for other trees which include the same relatives.


Whilst it was way back in September 2019 that Findmypast began to introduce tree-to-tree hints (you can read about them here), it wasn't until September 2020 that they implemented private messaging, and then it was only at their UK site.


Findmypast have now rolled-out private messaging to their other sites around the world, and at the same time they're taking the opportunity to ditch legacy subscriptions, such as the Britain subscription that was no longer available to new subscribers after the Plus subscription was introduced in 2017. To initiate contact you need to be a subscriber, but any user with a tree can receive messages and reply to them.


Please note that you won't get an email to inform you that there's a message waiting unless you've chosen this option under Communication preferences in My Account.



Note: if you have comments or questions about this new feature please post them on the LostCousins Forum (which is absolutely free to all LostCousins members who are playing their part in my project to connect cousins around the world – see your My Summary page to find out whether you qualify).



Is census information always hidden for 100 years?

Early next year Findmypast will be releasing the 1921 England & Wales census, though I suspect that like other previous releases of a similar stature (1901 Census, 1911 Census, 1939 Register) it will initially be available on a pay-per-view basis, rather than being included in any subscription. Since the Census Act was passed in 1920 there has been a 100-year restriction on the release of censuses – fortunately the 1939 Register wasn't covered by the Act.


But recently I've been contacted by a number of members asking me whether it is possible for the police to get access to a recent census if it is crucial to an investigation. These enquiries were prompted by the activities of fictional detectives, so my first thought was "probably not", and in any case the Electoral Register is easier to access and more likely to be useful since it is compiled annually.


However, Kim wrote to tell me about a letter her mother had spotted in the Radio Times from a reader who had questioned the use of the 1991 Census in Unforgotten. In their response the production team had drawn attention to Section 39(4f) of the Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007, which allows for information to be extracted for the purposes of criminal investigation.


It seems they were right - follow this link to find out more about the legislation.



The 1642 'Census'

In May 1641 all members of the House of Commons swore an oath of allegiance to the Protestant religion, and in January 1641/42 the Commons ordered that all adult males should do the same. The names of those who conformed were listed by parish, and this return was submitted to Parliament. Occasionally those who refused to sign were also listed.


Note: in a few areas (such as Cornwall), people wrote their own names, but usually a local official wrote out all the names – which makes them a little easier to read.


There are nearly 3,500 Protestation Returns that have survived - not all are for parishes, but they include about one-third of English parishes at the time. According to Ancestral Trails there are none at all for the City of London, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Rutland, or Suffolk - but they are nevertheless the closest we have to a census for the period just before the Civil War. The returns were made in March, and because the year ended on 25th March until 1752 they are dated 1641.


Almost all of the surviving returns are held by the Parliamentary Archives (previously the House of Lords Record Office), but the easiest way to see what's available and access the records is via this web page that I created.


Note: if you know of the existence of indexed transcripts for any of the parishes held in the Parliamentary Archives, or if you know of returns that are held elsewhere (whether or not they have been indexed), please post this information at the LostCousins Forum in the 'More Resources' section for the relevant county.   



An unusual birthplace?

Last month I wrote about a baby who was born at a bus stop in South Australia; this prompted Mary to tell me that her mother-in-law was born on a train as it was pulling into a small town in Western Australia (her birthplace was recorded as the street the train was crossing at the time).


According to the parish register for St Christopher le Stock in the City of London, Fran's great-great-great-great grandfather Thomas Watts was born in the Sun Fire Office – or was he? An alternative interpretation is that his father was in the insurance business, perhaps as an underwriter.


© London Metropolitan Archives – all rights reserved. Used by kind permission of Ancestry.


The second entry above is for another Thomas, a foundling – which reminds me that, just 9 years later, yet another Thomas, Thomas Coram was able to secure the Royal Charter that allowed the establishment of his Foundling Hospital.


Two centuries later another foundling was born, one who passed through the Foundling Hospital and is the subject of a recently published book. I haven't read it myself yet, but it received an excellent review in Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. But I suggest you read what reviewers at Amazon have said before ordering – this book seems to arouse strong passions!                                                   



Check before visiting record offices

Some record offices are now open, but that doesn't mean that it's business as usual. For example, at Essex Record Office they're allowing their computers to be used, but not their microform readers; I'm told that some other record offices aren't even allowing their computers to be used.


It's always a good idea to phone first before visiting a record office, and right now it's more important than ever!


Note: when phoning also check what forms of ID are acceptable – some record offices (including Essex) accept the new Archives Card, but most don't. And don’t forget your mask!



Brixton and Brunswick, Clerkenwell and Clissold

If you're looking through old correspondence you're quite likely to come across the old names of London telephone exchanges. The locations of some are obvious, others less so – which is why I was delighted to come across this page which lists all of the old names (and their numeric equivalents, not all of which were direct translations).



Scrapbook recipes

Last week I made, for the very first time, a confection that I hadn't tasted for 60 years – Polish Cake. The mother of one of my schoolfriends used to make it, and before she died she wrote the recipe down on a card which I carefully filed away.


Whether the cake has any connections with Poland I don’t know for sure – I certainly couldn’t find an authentic Polish recipe – but as a young boy anything containing chocolate was a treat. Of course, in those days I didn’t have to worry about the calories….


I keep my recipes in a file, not a scrapbook, but this article in the Guardian nevertheless rang true. Sadly I don’t have any of my mother's recipes, but I do still have the first two cookery books I bought in the early 1970s – one of which I regularly use (it has an excellent recipe for German Red Cabbage). Did you inherit recipes from your mother or grandmother (or from your father or grandfather) and, if so, do you still cook them? Please post your favourite recipes on the LostCousins Forum.


Much as I'm enjoying it, I probably won't make Polish Cake again - however, when I've worked off the extra calories I might well have a go at Christmas Chocolate Tiffin, which has a similar chocolate and biscuit foundation, but with the addition of dried fruits and the liqueur of my choice.


But it's not Christmas? Not for you, perhaps, but we only finished our Christmas cake two weeks ago, I'll be making mince pies next week, and we haven't started eating the Christmas puddings I made last December! And I've got an extra large turkey in the freezer just waiting for the time when it is both safe and legal to ask our vaccinated friends and relatives round for a long-delayed festive meal.



Peter's Tips

Talking of recipes, I don't think I've shared with you my recipe for muesli? My wife and I stopped eating packet cereals some years ago when we realised how much sugar there was, even in 'healthy' options such as bran flakes. These days we generally have an egg, usually boiled or scrambled, on alternate days with an occasional kipper (or, for a rare treat, a small piece of smoked haddock). On the other days we have porridge made with jumbo (whole rolled) oats, or home-made muesli.


Rather than make a large batch I prefer to mix my muesli one bowl at a time: my recipe comprises porridge oats, mixed dried fruit (ideally the Tesco version with cranberries and apricots), nuts (usually salted cashews), seeds, half a teaspoon of soft brown sugar, all mixed together then moistened with milk, and topped at the end with finely chopped fresh fruit (apple works really well). Add a trickle of cream before serving for a touch of luxury – and enjoy!


According to a news report this week the UK population have accumulated £100 billion during lockdown and apparently we're itching to spend it as shops, pubs and restaurants open up. I'm certainly not going to be rushing out to the shops, especially after seeing TV  pictures of the crowds – and even before the pandemic hit I bought most things online.


But when I do spend money I almost always pay using a credit card, because here in the UK it offers an extra level of protection should things go wrong (provided the purchase exceeds £100). I've only had to rely on that protection once, when an airline went out of business, but knowing it's there is a great comfort, especially when buying from a supplier I haven’t dealt with before.


There's another reason I pay by credit card – I get a small amount of cashback on each purchase, and whilst it can be as little as 0.25%, every little helps. But when I pay with my American Express Cashback card I get 1% back, which is much more meaningful. Currently there's a bonus offer for new cardholders which I am allowed to share with friends - please let me know if you'd like me to send you the link (that way I might get a bonus too!).



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......



That's all for now – but I'll be back soon. In the meantime, please stay safe!


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Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2021 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? To link to a specific article right-click on the article name in the contents list at the top of the newsletter.