Newsletter – 6th June 2023
Don’t miss out on Findmypast savings OFFER EXTENDED
Esme is just around the corner EXCLUSIVE
The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 2nd June) 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!
Don’t miss out on Findmypast savings OFFER EXTENDED
Although family history is one of the cheaper hobbies, it can still be difficult to find the money for a 12 month subscription, even though annual subscriptions invariably provide a significant cost saving compared to shorter subscriptions.
So I am delighted to have been able to negotiate a ONE WEEK EXTENSION to the offer I announced on Friday – it now ends at 11.59pm (London time) next Monday, 12th June. This will give you a little more time to break open the piggy bank (otherwise known as rearranging your financial affairs).
The discount applies to new 12 month Plus and Pro subscriptions to Findmypast: whilst the new Premium subscription isn’t included in the offer, once you have purchased a Pro subscription you will have the option to upgrade to Premium for a modest sum (£15 at the UK site, or a similar amount at the Australian and Irish sites).
Note: the only difference between the Pro and Premium subscriptions is the 1921 England & Wales census. The Premium subscription includes virtually unlimited access to this census; with a Pro subscription you get 10% off the normal pay-per-view price.
With a PLUS subscription you’ll have unlimited access to ALL of Findmypast’s billions of British and Irish records, including censuses up to 1911, Church of England parish registers for many counties, Catholic records, military records, ships passenger lists, historic electoral rolls, and the modern UK Electoral Register for the UK – which can help you track down living relatives, schoolfriends, former colleagues etc. With 15% off you’ll save over £20*, bringing the price down to under £115 – or about £2.20 a week, less than the cost of a sandwich, and (believe it or not) less than you would have paid back in October 2009, when there were far fewer records on the site. In those days there were no parish registers, no Catholic records, and even the census collection was still incomplete – so much has been added since.
The PRO subscription includes everything in the Plus subscription, as well as billions of records from outside the UK, and unlimited access to half a billion newspaper articles in the British Newspaper Archive. In fact it includes everything that Findmypast has to offer, with the exception of the 1921 Census. With 15% off you’ll save more than £27*, reducing the cost to a little over £157 – or about £3 a week.
Perhaps the best news is that, as an annual subscriber, when your subscription comes up for renewal in a year’s time you’ll qualify for Findmypast’s Loyalty Discount. As this is also 15% you won’t see any increase next year (unless subscription prices rise, which sadly can’t be ruled out given the high rate of inflation).
The offer is open to both new Findmypast subscribers and former subscribers, and now ends at 11.59pm (London time) on Monday 12th June – don’t miss it! Existing subscribers can’t take advantage of this offer but if you have a 12 month subscription you’ll benefit from the Loyalty Discount when it renews, so you’re not really missing out.
Tip: don’t rush off to Findmypast just yet, because in the next article I’ll explain how you can support LostCousins when you make your purchase AND get a bonus for yourself. You could save yourself almost £40 in total!
Although the Findmypast offer is exclusive to readers of this newsletter, you’ll only be supporting LostCousins if you use the appropriate link at the end of this article – but don’t stop reading as the next bit is important!
Please 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! (Beware: if you allow your children or grandchildren to ‘help’ you with your computer they may have installed something you don’t know about.)
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 appropriate link below and making your purchase. All major browsers are free, so it makes sense to have a choice (especially since 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, please stick to it, as clicking my link on one device and then 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 is set to the rightt, move it to the left. I also recommend turning off Tracking Prevention, at least temporarily.
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 transaction (to the minute!).
Provided that we receive commission on your purchase you’ll receive a free LostCousins subscription worth up to £12.50 – you’ll get 6 months for purchasing a Plus subscription or 12 months when you purchase a Pro subscription. To claim your bonus forward the email receipt you receive from Findmypast, ensuring that the time and date of your purchase is shown. Alternatively send me an email stating the precise time and date of your purchase, the time zone (if you are not in the UK), and the amount paid. As usual , my email address was in the email you received telling you about this newsletter.
IF IN DOUBT PLEASE CHECK WITH ME BEFORE MAKING YOUR PURCHASE - AFTERWARDS WILL BE TOO LATE!
The good news is that so far everyone who has claimed a bonus subscription has qualified – so provided you follow the advice there’s every reason to assume that you will too!
Findmypast.co.uk - Save 15% on 12 month Plus & Pro subscriptions
Findmypast.ie - Save 15% on 12 month Plus & Pro subscriptions
Findmypast.com.au - Save 15% on 12 month Plus & Pro subscriptions
Findmypast.com - Save 15% on 12 month Essential & Ultimate subscriptions
The Ultimate subscription at the US site is equivalent to a Pro subscription at other sites, but the Essential subscription is a cut-down version of the Plus subscription (so check carefully before choosing it). Note that the cost of upgrading to a Premium subscription will be significantly higher than at other sites because the price differential is greater.
Tip: it’s usually best to purchase from your local website, even if you prefer to use one of the other sites for your research. Once you have your new subscription you can log into whichever site you wish (they all have the same records).
If you’re one of those people who thinks that the big genealogy websites are all much the same, and that it’s a matter of personal preference which one to subscribe to, I suggest you re-read this article.
And if you’ve tried Findmypast before, but didn’t like it, see this Masterclass – which will explain why your experience was so much different from mine.
I use all of the major sites, but I use them differently. So should you!
I recently commented about how much easier family history research has become over the past 20 years, especially during the past 15 years as images of parish registers for many counties have become available online – and, not unexpectedly, I got emails from several readers whose memories, and experience of research, go back far further than mine.
Michael Gandy, a former Chairman of the Society of Genealogists, started researching his own family tree as a schoolboy in the 1960s (if only I had shown such foresight!), and in 2000 he wrote a talk entitled It gets easier every day which described how access to records and ease of research had improved dramatically since he began. This talk was given to the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (in Australia) in 2001, and published on their website in 2009 – you can read it here.
More than half of the places for John Wintrip’s online talk about marriage registers on Tuesday 4th July have already been claimed, so I’d advise anyone else who is interested not to delay. If you missed the article in the previous issue you can read it here.
And if there’s anyone you know who might like to hear me speak to the Society of Genealogists about LostCousins this Thursday afternoon, do please forward them a link to this article, also in the last issue. There is a discounted rate for members of the SoG but the talk is open to all.
Tip: you can link to any article in any of my newsletters by right-clicking on the title of the article in the contents list at the top – choose ‘Copy link’ (or the equivalent in your browser). You can also link to part of an article by highlighting the words, then right clicking and choosing ‘Copy link to highlight’ (this works in Chrome and Edge, but I haven’t checked it in other browsers).
In the last issue I commented that “we know so much more about the middle and upper classes of earlier centuries than we do about the average working man. (We know even less about the lives of the women.)”.
As I wrote those words I had open in one of my many browser tabs the leading article from the June issue of the Society of Genealogists journal, though I had only glanced at the first couple of paragraphs. Perhaps I should have read further before finalising the newsletter because on the second page Michael Gandy (who is also the editor of the journal) had written:
“women don’t appear much in political or
economic histories or the records of battles and
councils (they do appear a lot in court, land and
religious records) but we are family historians and
our work is all about women. Men are not much part
of day-to-day family life. They go to work and may
be vital financially but they are mostly off-stage.”
As he reminds us later in the article, most women were either pregnant or breastfeeding from their mid-20s through to their mid-40s, whilst still looking after the children, running the household, and coping with whatever misfortunes hit the family (and there were usually plenty of them). Even in their 50s they would still be bringing up children.
Of particular relevance to LostCousins members is his reminder that, now that there are so many more records available, it is practical to research all of our ancestors’ children, and he points out that:
“Vast numbers of our Victorian
ancestresses had eight or ten children and 30 or 40
grandchildren as well as eight or ten siblings and
the same number of siblings-in-law, 50 or 60
nephews and nieces and dozens of cousins - theirs
and their husbands - and the extended families of
the sons and daughters-in-law. The number of
family balls they juggled is unbelievable and
finding them all is our project.”
When you consider how many relatives our Victorian ancestors had it’s a wonder that some people reading this seem to have found so few of them on the 1881 Census! Perhaps the mistake I’ve made has been to invite you to enter your relatives from 1881 (on your My Ancestors page) – maybe I should ask you to enter your ancestors’ relatives?
Tip: even if you have a small tree of 1000-1500 people it’s likely that around 20%, ie 200-300 of them, would have been alive in 1881 and recorded on the 1881 Census (if they were living in Britain). Every one of those relatives is a potential link to an experienced family historian who is researching some of your ancestors – a ‘lost cousin’.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that censuses weren’t devised for the benefit of family historians – it’s purely fortuitous that the information collected happens to fit our requirements quite well, at least from 1851 onwards. We’re also lucky that with the introduction of Old Age Pensions in 1909 there was a need to verify the ages of those who claimed to be eligible, but were unable to provide proof of their birthdate – this demonstrated that there were potential benefits in retaining either the household schedules or the enumerators’ summary books.
Unfortunately for us, our ancestors sometimes contrived to be in the wrong place on Census Day, and a small number may have chosen to hide from authority, perhaps fearing that their creditors (or their spouses) might catch up with them. In reality 19th century censuses were not really designed to capture the entire population, as this brief article by Edward Higgs makes clear (Edward Higgs was the author of Making sense of the census: The manuscript returns for England and Wales, 1801–1901 which was one of the first books I bought – there is a later edition which is still available at Amazon). Higgs discusses the problem of under-enumeration further in this article.
These days the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which is responsible for planning and collecting the census in England & Wales, doesn’t expect to enumerate every single inhabitant, and instead adjusts the numbers based on a post-census survey. The basis for this is explained wonderfully well in this PDF document which uses a fishing analogy (don’t worry, no knowledge of fishing is required - I wouldn’t know a rod from a perch).
Note: if you were able to read the articles by Edward Higgs – which are hosted at the rather erratic HistPop website – you may have noticed that there are several other articles by the same author on different aspects of the census. You can see a list of topics with links to the individual articles here (there are 19 articles in all).
Frustrating though it is when your ancestors are missing from the census, the good news is that it needn’t affect your chances of finding ‘lost cousins’, because there will almost certainly be other members of their family – siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and (especially) cousins – who were recorded. Indeed, because ALL of your living cousins are descended from the branches of your tree (what some of you will refer to as ‘collateral lines’), they’re significantly more likely to connect you to your ‘lost cousins’ than your direct ancestors!
DNA offers continue at Ancestry
Ancestry tests aren’t the cheapest, but they’re by far the best company to test with if you’re researching your family history (and if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this newsletter).
Even if you don’t have an Ancestry subscription they’ll support you with features like Common Ancestors and ThruLines, and their SideView algorithm will identify which side of your tree your matches are likely to connect on – not for every single match, but for more matches than you’re likely to get in total at any other site. It’s great that more people have tested with Ancestry than any other, because it means you get far more reliable matches than any other site, but the way that Ancestry make use of their enormous collection of family trees is just as important. Frankly, if you test with any other provider you’re likely to be wasting your time as well as your money (as I know to my cost).
Nevertheless it makes perfect sense to buy your DNA Test(s) when there are discounts available. With Father’s Day approaching Ancestry are offering some enticing reductions on DNA tests in the UK, the US, and Canada – and there is still an offer running in Australia. Wherever you live you can support LostCousins with your purchase if you follow the appropriate link:
Ancestry.co.uk (UK & Ireland only) SAVE 30% – ENDS 15TH JUNE
Ancestry.com (US only) SAVE $40 – STARTS 8TH ENDS 18TH JUNE
Ancestry.ca (Canada only) SAVE UP TO $65 – ENDS 16TH JUNE
Ancestry.com.au (Australia & New Zealand only) SAVE UP TO $54 – ENDS 8TH JUNE
If you are logged into your Ancestry account the link may not work, so please log-out first. Finally, a reminder that anyone – male or female – can take the Ancestry DNA test.
The magazines I subscribe to are all available in digital format, some of them free through my local library, but I still prefer to pay for paper copies, because I keep so many of the articles for future reference (a drawer in my filing cabinet is set aside for this purpose).
This is especially true of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine – by the time I’ve finished tearing out articles there are barely any pages left between the covers! Many of the articles I keep are not relevant to my research at the time, but we never know quite where our research is going to go – it’s almost inevitable that it will expand into new counties, if not new countries, new occupations, or new religious denominations.
For example, you may recall that I recently wrote about the ancestor who was in the Staffordshire Militia. Both Staffordshire and the militia were new areas of research for me, but I already had articles to guide me, so I could “hit the ground running”. The same applied when I discovered my first Irish ancestors – who were also my first Catholic ancestors. I could go on and on…..
There's an extra special introductory offer for members in the UK, but there are also offers for overseas readers, each of which offers a substantial saving on the cover price:
UK - try 6 issues for just £9.99 - saving 68%
Europe - 13 issues (1 year) for €65 - saving 33%
Australia & New Zealand - 13 issues (1 year) for AU $99 - saving 38%
US & Canada – 13 issues for US $69.99 – saving 59%
Rest of the world - 13 issues (1 year) for US $69.99 – saving 41%
To take advantage of any of these deals (and to support LostCousins) please follow this link.
Esme is just around the corner EXCLUSIVE
Earlier this year winners of my seasonal competition were invited to attend an exclusive online interview with Wendy Percival, author of the Esme Quentin Mysteries. One of the things I like about these genealogical mysteries is that Esme Quentin, the heroine (am I allowed to say that?) of the novels, is not so very different from many of the LostCousins members that I’ve come to know over the years (but never met).
As the release of the 5th novel in the series is not far away I’ve managed to persuade Wendy to allow me to make the recording of our interview available for a limited period on the LostCousins channel at YouTube – you’ll find it here.
Note: you won’t find it by searching at YouTube – it’s exclusive to readers of this newsletter.
By the way, if you haven’t read the first 4 books in the series I’d thoroughly recommend them – the links below will take you to the relevant page on your local Amazon site:
They’re all available either as paperbooks or in Kindle format (which doesn’t require a Kindle, just a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone). Books 1-3 are also available as a Kindle box set – in effect you get three for the price of two.
I’ll be reviewing the fifth novel in a future newsletter…. I can’t wait to read it!
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......
© Copyright 2023 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?
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