Newsletter - 17th June 2016


6 million more Norfolk parish records at The Genealogist JUST RELEASED

Save £20 on a Diamond subscription

Ancestry add 12 million Gloucestershire records BREAKING NEWS

Parish registers: all change in 1813

Hints pay off for Barry

More Irish court records at Findmypast

Arthur Daly: adulterer, perjurer, or murderer?

Explore the British Newspaper Archive for half-price

Scotland's Register of Corrected Entries

Queensland deaths online

More DNA discounts ENDS MONDAY

Dietary preferences and genealogy

Review: Tracing Your Kent Ancestors

Eric Clapton gets my illness

Get hold of your medical records - it's easy!

Peter's Tips

Stop Press


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6 million more Norfolk parish records at The Genealogist JUST RELEASED

There are now almost 10 million Norfolk parish records at The Genealogist, all accompanied by images of the register entries - the records include the baptisms of Great War martyr Edith Cavell and naval hero Horatio Nelson:


Edith Cavell baptism 4 Feb 1866.jpg


Nelson birth.jpg


This week 6.23 million records were added to the existing collection, including over a quarter of a million records for Suffolk parishes which border Norfolk.


The Genealogist also has Tithe Records and Tithe Maps covering 40 counties (initially in black and white the maps are being rescanned in colour), the biggest collection of transcribed parish register entries for Essex (a county very close to my heart), and an amazing collection of Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial records which are held by the National Archives.


Note: if you're not familiar with tithe records this research guide at the National Archives site will prove very useful.


Save £20 on a Diamond subscription to The Genealogist

Good news! I've negotiated a discount for LostCousins members on Diamond subscriptions, which provide access to all of the records at The Genealogist - and you'll also get a free subscription (worth £24.99) to the digital edition of Discover Your Ancestors magazine.


To take advantage of the offer please follow this link.


Tip: one of the powerful features of The Genealogist is the ability to search for a family using forenames alone - you can find out more about the 'Family Search' here.


Ancestry add 12 million Gloucestershire records BREAKING NEWS

Ancestry have just added prison records, electoral registers, and Land Tax records for Gloucestershire - a total of more than 12 million records in all. These records are so new that (as I write) they're not included in the Card Catalogue, so to find them you'll probably need to use these links:


Gloucestershire Prision Records, 1728-1914

Gloucestershire Electoral Registers 1832-1974

Gloucestershire Land Tax Records 1713-1833


More Irish court records at Findmypast

This week Findmypast added a further 547,000 records from Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers - there are now more than 22 million in all, covering the period 1828-1912. You can search the entire collection here.


Parish registers: all change in 1813

As anyone who has ploughed through parish registers from the 18th century or earlier will know, the introduction of printed baptism and burial registers in 1813 is a great boon for genealogists, but it could have been so much better, as this article from Gwyneth Wilkie explains:



Peter has asked me to provide a synopsis of my article on this subject which appeared in the Genealogists’ Magazine, Vol 32, no 2, June 2016, pp 48-57. The short format necessitates concentrating on conclusions rather than the supporting evidence.

Family historians mostly welcome the printed baptism and burial registers which were introduced from 1813. They are usually easier to read than earlier freeform versions. Numbered entries are easier to find again. We talk not of ‘52 Geo. III, c.146’, but of ‘Rose’s Act’. It is easy to assume both that the Act was a great improvement and a significant achievement for Rose.

Yet the obituaries composed in 1818, some of which include detailed accounts of Rose’s political career, make no mention of it, nor does his entry in the 2004 Dictionary of National Biography. Why?

George Rose told the House in February 1812 that parish registers ‘were being kept in a very slovenly manner in the dwelling of the parish clerk and he had found, as Treasurer of the navy, numberless instances of the widows of seamen who, from this culpable negligence, were not able to prove their marriages.’ Early in his career he had made his mark as an excellent administrator, banishing muddle by devising systems which allowed any document to be swiftly located.

In his desire for justice and efficiency he made proposals which outraged the clergy. They were incensed to the point of holding protest meetings and writing pamphlets denouncing his early proposals. The notion of being ordered to submit their registers to a magistrate every year and swear to their accuracy deeply offended them, especially as Dissenting Ministers would not have to take a similar oath. They would not be allowed to retain registers over a year old, and thus would lose all income from searches. One pamphleteer described this as ‘actual robbery’. The implied insult also rankled.

The Bill was toned down and trimmed. Columns which would have recorded the birthdates and birthplaces of the parents of a baptised child (and much else) disappeared from the example registers. Anyone wanting to understand what happened in Parliament or to know more about the pamphlets attacking Rose’s projected reforms should refer to the very revealing article by Stuart Basten (you'll find a PDF version here); it includes examples showing how much more informative baptism and burial entries would have been if only Rose's original proposals had been enacted.


At the final reading in the House of Lords, where the Bishops sat, the Bill underwent drastic revision. With the Parliamentary session about to end, Rose had to choose between enacting a very different Bill or dropping it altogether. The Law Magazine mused that it was called Rose’s Act ‘with cruel injustice to that gentleman’s reputation…….sometimes….the act passed [is] as unlike the bill introduced as the living ass is unlike the Bologna sausage.’


Some aims were achieved. Printed and numbered registers were mandatory, but captured far less data than had been intended. Some clergymen added the date of birth alongside baptism and some the mother’s maiden name (although in fact even Rose's original proposals didn't include the latter). The richly informative Dade and Barrington registers could no longer be used.

Rose wanted registers to be securely stored in an iron chest, many of which still survive. Previously Bishop’s Transcripts had been handed over by parish officials every year, on unbound sheets, at the time of the Archdeacon’s visitation. Now they were to go post-free if correctly addressed. Too often they were not sent or wrongly superscribed. The Diocesan Registrar would refuse to pay the postage, and in London many were eventually burnt. York reported that ‘one-fourth are returned, because liable to postage or sent as parcels’ when the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1831 enquired how certain clauses in Rose’s Bill were being observed. So Rose’s vision of central repositories in which registers were kept safe from fire and comprehensively indexed did not come to fruition. No money was voted for new buildings or extra staff, despite the provision in the Act for this to be decided within a year of the legislation coming into force. Bishop’s Transcripts, no longer produced under the compelling eye of the Archdeacon, were fewer than before.

The reactions of the clergy to Rose’s well-meant reforms were no doubt exacerbated by their awareness of how the church had suffered at the hands of the state during the Civil War. Collecting Stamp Duty from reluctant parishioners from 1783 to 1794 probably left a lasting distaste for having to act as government functionaries. This clash influenced the Select Committee on Parochial Registration in 1833, whose report led to civil registration.

We can now see why the 1812 Act did not rank as his finest achievement!

Tip: Gwyneth will be speaking on this topic to the Buckinghamshire Family History Society in Aylesbury tomorrow (Saturday 18th June). Visitors are welcome - you can find more details here.


Hints pay off for Barry

Last month there was an opportunity for non-subscribers to try out the Hints that Findmypast provide when you upload a family tree, and whilst the high-level of interest did result in some frustrating (and sometimes confusing) delays for many users, Barry in Australia made a very important discovery about one of his ancestors:


"Just writing to say thanks for the newsletters and letting us know about the free hints on findmypast a couple of weeks ago. I copied my tree on there and found quite a lot of hints - some of which I already knew but the best was I found out that my great-great grandfather died in New York in 1859 and a link to the New York Herald on line for free revealed an entry in births, marriages, and deaths giving date of death and time of funeral and his NY address. I'm still trying to find where he was buried.


"He was English and he was married in Kent in 1850 and they went to New York straight after the wedding. They had 3 children there - no birth records unfortunately - one of whom was my great grandmother. Although he went to the US as a farmer, he was listed in the 1855 census as a 'speculator' - still trying to find out what this means! His wife and 3 children were back in Kent with her father in the 1861 census. There were always theories in the family that he went off to fight in the American Civil War but this [discovery] laid that to rest."


Note: the American Civil War was fought between 1861-65.


Arthur Daly: adulterer, perjurer, or murderer?

I was so impressed by the entries submitted for my New Year challenge that I decided to continue researching this case myself, eventually stumbling on a stunning revelation that shed a new light on the events and the evidence that the jury heard when Dr Daly was tried for murder.


First can I suggest you recap by re-reading my articles from the 31st December newsletter, which you'll find here. Like all good researchers you should keep an open mind - evidence is not always what it first appears.


A key piece of evidence that I missed was provided by Lynne, who looked - as I had done - for children born to Daly and his wife Lilian (née Ratcliff), and like me found three sons, two born before the court case and one afterwards:



But what I hadn't noticed was this entry in the death indexes:




And, even more importantly, I hadn't spotted this one:



This was clearly the same child - so what could explain the fact that he was known by the surname Vinning? Surely the only reasonable explanation is that he was the child of Daly's mistress, and not his wife - in which case whoever registered the birth committed perjury?


As you can imagine, by this time my imagination was in overdrive. Had this child died a natural death, or was Miss Vinning just very unlucky? I re-read all the newspaper reports, and found myself focusing on the caravan in which the body of a new-born child had been found in 1939. According to evidence given at Daly's trial for murder, and reported in The Nottingham Evening Post on 28th February 1940, the caravan was in the field of a farmer named  Chamberlain:


Image © Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and used by kind permission of Findmypast


But it wasn't as simple as that - an article in the same newspaper on 5th December 1939 recorded that the caravan had been rented not from the farmer, but from a Mrs Gladys Barton:


Image © Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and used by kind permission of Findmypast


And there I might have let the investigation lapse, had I not thought to find out a little more about Mrs Barton, starting with her entry in the 1939 Register:

© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England and Findmypast


As you can see, Mrs Barton was shown as married on 29th September 1939, yet there was no sign of her husband. A further search at the British Newspaper Archive revealed why:


Image © Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and used by kind permission of Findmypast


This article appeared on 13th October 1939, just a month before the body of a new-born child was discovered in her caravan. At this point I thought back to the evidence given at Daly's trial by Miss Vinning and her mother - supposedly neither of them had realised that Dorothy was pregnant. Is that really believable?


What if she hadn't been pregnant at all, and it was someone else's baby that had been found in the caravan?  I'll leave you to continue the investigations, and if you don't already have access to the British Newspaper Archive via a Findmypast subscription, the offer below will help.


Explore the British Newspaper Archive for half-price

I've arranged a half-price offer at the British Newspaper Archive - until the end of June you can buy a 1 month subscription at half-price when you follow this link and use the code JUNE50A


Note: at the end of the first month your subscription will be renewed automatically at the full price unless you untick the 'Auto-renew my subscription' box on the 'Personal details' page of 'My Account'. You can do this at any time, so don't leave it until the last minute!


The British Newspaper Archive is expanding fast - this month alone nearly 3 million articles have been added, from 17 newspapers, including 13 new titles. You can see more details here - one of the titles added is the Suffolk and Essex Free Press, where the death of my great-great grandmother's sister was reported on 24th June 1891, the day of her funeral.


Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and used by kind permission of Findmypast


My great-great-great aunt was married to my great-great-great uncle - by which I mean that her husband was my great-great grandfather's brother. This means that their descendants share twice as much DNA with me as would normally be the case for 4th cousins - this is something to bear in mind when you're considering which cousins to test.


I found another interesting article when flicking through the pages of the Suffolk and Essex Free Press­ - on 21st February 1900 the newspaper reported that the last of Napoleon's soldiers in recipient of a pension had died, aged 105.


Scotland's Register of Corrected Entries

Scotland's system of civil registration is different from - and arguably much better than - the English system, and one of the differences is the Register of Corrected Entries. Recently ScotlandsPeople published a helpful guide to this register, which shows many examples - you can find it here.


Queensland deaths online

Earlier this month Findmypast added 870,000 deaths from the Australian state of Queensland which cover the period 1829-1964. You can search them here.


Birth, death, and marriage indexes for Queensland can also be searched free here at the Queensland Government website.


More DNA discounts ENDS MONDAY

With Father's Day approaching Family Tree DNA are offering discounts on bundles of DNA tests for males - you can get a 37 marker Y-DNA test and a Family Finder (autosomal) test for $218, a $50 discount (as usual you'll pay $12.95 shipping on top). For a UK customer the total cost will be around £165, less than you would have paid for a single test a few years ago.


Tip: you'll be supporting LostCousins when you use this link to place your order


Family Tree DNA are the only company of the big three to offer Y-DNA tests, and they have by far the largest database of results. Of course, Y-DNA can only tell you about a single line - the one that goes up the left-hand side of your tree - but by combining the test with a Family Finder test you arguably get the best of both worlds. (See my previous articles for a discussion of the pros and cons of the different tests - you'll find the most recent one here.)


You've only got until Monday 20th June to place your order if you want to secure the discounted price, so if you're planning to ask a family member to test, get on the phone to them now!


Note: the offer in my last newsletter for discounted autosomal DNA tests at Ancestry expires on Sunday 19th June - follow this link for more details.


Dietary preferences and genealogy

If you were and a cousin were going to meet up at a restaurant you'd want to make sure that the restaurant served food that both of you could eat - for example, if your cousin is vegetarian, you wouldn't choose somewhere that only served meat. Indeed, you might even choose to go to a restaurant that only served vegetarian food - after all, it won't do you any harm!


It's much the same with genealogy - if you want to connect with as many as possible of your cousins you have to accept that their preferences might be different from yours. For example, some will be wary of publishing information online, so are far more likely to be found at a site like LostCousins than one like Ancestry - indeed, the more experienced they are, the more likely it is that you'll only find them at LostCousins.


So, if you are interested in linking up with the most experienced researchers in your extended family, don't assume that you're going to find them through Ancestry - and this applies whether your own tree is public or private.


Short of time (or simply lazy)? Well, it's true that completing your My Ancestors page will take a little longer than uploading a GEDCOM file, but what you probably don't realise is that because the automated matching at LostCousins is far more accurate and more informative, and the connections you make will be more valuable, you'll actually save time by using LostCousins.


Review: Tracing Your Kent Ancestors

David Wright is a professional genealogist who is an expert on Kent - he has been working with the various archives for 35 years - so few, if any, can be better-qualified to write a book entitled Tracing Your Kent Ancestors.


Over 2300 LostCousins members have entered direct ancestors who were living in Kent in 1881, and there must be many more with connections to the county who haven't yet completed their my Ancestors page, or who ancestors left before 1881 (as mine did). But although this book is unlikely to be bought by anyone who doesn't have Kent ancestry), you shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that it’s only going to help with your Kent lines, because many of the resources he describes in detail are national (eg censuses), or have equivalents in other parts of England (eg probate records).


However (within England) the gavelkind system of holding land is unique to Kent - this required land to be divided equally between surviving sons irrespective of their father's wishes (it wasn't finally outlawed until 1925).


Many of my Kent ancestors of the early 18th century were baptised or married at Whitstable, on the coast about 7 miles north of Canterbury, so I was interested to discover that the turnpike road from Canterbury from Whitstable was one of the first to open, in 1736 (Whitstable was linked to London by sea, so it was an important trade route). A century later, one of the country's very first railway lines was built between Whitstable and Canterbury (it opened in 1830), but it was commercially unsuccessful - I'm sure it’s only a coincidence that by this time my ancestors had migrated to London!


My only criticisms of Dr Wright's book are the lack of an index to the places mentioned (although there is a gazetteer showing where the records for each parish are held) - and the inadvertent ennoblement of George Rose (on page 61 there is a reference to Lord Rose's Act). Otherwise it's an excellent guide to the resources that can help us trace our Kent ancestors - I wish I'd had a copy of this book a few years ago!


Tip: there are discounted copies on sale at Amazon (follow this link and look for the prices shown in blue under the main pricing box).


Eric Clapton gets my illness

When I wrote last month about my peripheral neuropathy I don't suppose most of you, or indeed most of the population, had ever heard of the affliction. So whilst I was very sad to hear that Eric Clapton is also a sufferer (although the symptoms described in this Daily Mail article the symptoms sound more like sciatica - which I have also suffered from in the past), perhaps increased awareness might eventually lead to a cure.


Note: for the benefit of younger readers I should explain that Eric Clapton is a 60s rock star who was in bands you probably haven't heard of either, including The Yardbirds, John Mayall, Cream, and Blind Faith.


Peripheral neuropathy affects almost 1 in 10 of over-55s to a lesser or greater extent, according to this NHS page, yet I'd never heard the term until I was unexpectedly diagnosed in April. It's a shame my GP didn't warn me when I reported the first minor symptoms in 2008, as I might have made some different lifestyle choices.


Get hold of your medical records - it's easy!

I'd been planning to get a copy of my medical records from my GP for many years, but it was only a couple of weeks ago, that I eventually did anything about it. The catalyst was my appointment - this coming Monday - for a series of tests to investigate my neuropathy, but as a family historian I wanted to see what there was in my records about my childhood illnesses.


Getting hold of the records was surprisingly easy - I emailed the practice manager, explaining why I wanted a copy of my records, and just a couple of days later I got a phone call to say that they were ready to collect! The cost was £32, which might sound a lot for 40 sheets of A4 paper, but to me the information was priceless. I now know the precise dates in 1954 when I broke my femur, and in 1977 when I fractured two vertebrae in my lower spine.


Surprisingly there was nothing in my file about the scarlet fever I contracted in 1956, perhaps because the records were retained by Ilford Isolation Hospital, which was very close to where I was living at the time. I'm currently trying to track down where the hospital records have ended up - if they haven't been destroyed, that is. (The National Archives has a research guide for hospitals that you might find useful.)


Peter's Tips

This week I bit the bullet and switched our broadband and phone from BT, who we've always been with, to Sky. There have been some attractive offers before, but this time I simply couldn't resist: Sky were offering free unlimited broadband for a year, half-price line rental for a year, and a £50 bill credit. Although I negotiated BT down a year ago this still represents a saving of around £200 over the course of a year, a very useful sum indeed.


Whilst my new Sky service hasn't started we've already got access to Sky email, so we have taken the opportunity to get everything set up and working - now all I'm waiting for is our shiny new Sky router to arrive (I paid an extra £20 for the new model - the basic router was as outdated as our BT HomeHub), and for everything to switch over, hopefully seamlessly, at the end of the month.


Of course BT weren't happy about our leaving - they offered a further discount on broadband, but an extra £2 a month off simply wasn't enough to make me change my mind. I was a little saddened, however, to get an almost threatening email from them, which stated:



Yes, we had paid a year advance, but it was due to run out a few days before the changeover - and, in any case, it was paid in respect of our other phone line (the one that my wife uses for her practice), and this will be staying with BT. No wonder BT aren't renowned for their customer service according to the latest Which? survey!  Admittedly Sky don't come out much better in the survey, but so far Sky haven't accused me of lying, unlike a BT manager I spoke to a couple of years ago.


Note: in case you're concerned on my behalf, our BT8500 call-blocking phones will still work after the switch; in fact I've just ordered an extra handset.


Talking of Which? surveys, I noticed last month that GiffGaff, the network I use and recommend, was once again voted the best mobile provider in the UK by users. One feature that I value is the free calling between GiffGaff users - because my wife is on GiffGaff too - but I also like the friendliness and the flexibility (most of the support is provided by other users). You can get a free sim and a £5 bonus on your first top-up if you follow this link.


I think I mentioned in a previous newsletter that my wife and I no longer make phone calls using our landlines - we use our mobiles instead. Previously we paid £7.95 a month to BT - now our calls don't cost us a penny (because they come out of our GiffGaff allowance). It's funny, isn't it - for a long time it was far more expensive to make calls from mobiles, but for many of us it has gone round the other way!


I know many of you enjoyed the Lambeth Walk spoof which so annoyed Hitler, so here is some more old footage, this time from just after the war when television transmissions resumed.  Television Is Here Again was a demonstration film used by television installers - there are 8 parts in all, and you'll find links to the other 7 if you scroll down and click Show More. I hope you enjoy it!


Finally, I went round to our local auctions rooms last week to see one of the items for sale - a wonderful collection of autographs, mostly of people in show business: Walt Disney, Harpo Marx, Douglas Fairbanks senior, Marlene Dietrich, Lloyd George, Rachmaninov, Ivor Novello, Irving Berlin, Ivor Novello, Noel Coward, Agatha Christie and many more. They had been collected by Richard Hearne, who was better known (to me, at least) as Mr Pastry. You can see a few of the autographs here - I only wish I could have bought them!


Stop Press

This is where any last minute updates and corrections will be highlighted - if you think you've spotted an error (sadly I'm not infallible), reload the newsletter (press Ctrl-F5) then check here before writing to me, in case someone else has beaten you to it......


That's all for now - I hope you've found something to help, amuse, or challenge you!


Description: Description: peter_signature


Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2016 Peter Calver


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