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Newsletter – 21st November 2022



Save 25% on most Findmypast subscriptions ENDS SUNDAY 27TH

Can you get free access to the 1921 Census?

Upgrade to Premium for unlimited access to the 1921 Census

Alas poor Derick, I knew him not COMPETITION

1926 Irish Free State census to be released in centenary year

Adultery, Bigamy, or Calumny: the ABC of genealogy (part 2)

Ancestry’s Black Friday DNA offers LOWEST PRICE OF THE YEAR?

Save on Y-DNA tests

Who remembers proper bin-men?

Keep right on to the end of the road….

The joke that cost £25,000

Review: Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy

Black Friday sales

Stop Press


The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 10th November) 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!



Save 25% on most Findmypast subscriptions ENDS SUNDAY 27TH

From 10am (London time) today you can save 25% on Starter, Plus, and Pro subscriptions at Findmypast’s sites in the UK, Ireland, and Australia; at their US site the offer applies to Essential and Ultimate subscriptions. Whilst the new Premium subscription isn’t included in the offer check out the options below.


Findmypast are almost unique in offering a Loyalty Discount to subscribers who purchase 12 month subscriptions, and this currently provides a useful 15% discount on automatic renewals. This means that if you do decide to take up the offer, you’re unlikely to be faced with a big increase in a year’s time. There’s no absolute guarantee, because with inflation at the current rate it would be foolish to predict what will happen to prices, but you can always cancel the renewal – just don’t leave it until the very last minute!


The 25% discount on offer now will only apply to your first payment, so rather than buy a 1 or 3 month subscription I would suggest getting a 12 month subscription if you possibly can – this not only locks in the savings for a full year, it gives you the opportunity to claim a 15% discount in a year’s time.


To take advantage of this offer please use the relevant link below:



Findmypast.com.au – SAVE 25% ON 1 & 12 MONTH STARTER, PLUS & PRO SUBSCRIPTIONS





All of the offers close at midnight (London time) on Sunday 27th November.


Tip: if you’re asked about cookies please accept them as otherwise your purchase may not be recorded as coming from LostCousins. You can always change the settings later if you want to.



Can you get free access to the 1921 Census?

When the 1921 England & Wales census launched in January there were only three places in the country where you could access the information free of charge – but now that it has been included in the new Premium subscription you may find out, as I did, that you can access it at your local public library.


Tip: most public libraries in England (and many elsewhere) offer free access to online resources that are of interest to family historians, and some of these can be accessed from home – the one I personally use the most is the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland.



Upgrade to Premium for unlimited access to the 1921 Census

Should your local library not offer free access to Findmypast all is not necessarily lost – if you have a 12 month Pro subscription to Findmypast you can upgrade to a Premium subscription for a fixed price of £19.99 (or the approximate equivalent in the currency of the website). It’s the same price no matter how long your subscription has to run so it makes sense to upgrade as soon as possible – though if your existing subscription is due to run out in the next few weeks you might prefer to wait until the renewal date.






Note: you can also upgrade from lesser 12 month subscriptions but the cost will usually be significantly higher, because you’re gaining access to hundreds of millions of other records. But why not click the link and find out? You’re not committing to anything by looking.



Alas poor Derick, I knew him not COMPETITION

LostCousins has teamed up with Poems by Post to run a competition that anyone can take part in. We would like you to write a poem about, or addressed to, one of your ancestors – or, alternatively, a poem about one of the ‘lost cousins’ you’ve found.


The length and style are entirely up to you – and despite what I was taught at school, poems don’t need to rhyme. You’ll find some guidance on writing poetry here on the Poems by Post website.


Send your entries to hello@poemsbypost.org to arrive no later than 14th December. No more than three poems per entrant, please. The entries will be judged by Alex, the founder of Poems by Post, and no mean poet himself. And just to prove that he isn’t a mean poet he has donated a £50 voucher for the 1st prize as well as five £10 vouchers for the runners-up.


The winning poem will also be featured on the Poems by Post website, and (provided it’s not too long) in a forthcoming issue of this newsletter, all of which which guarantees a readership far in excess of the number of paintings that Vincent van Gogh sold in his lifetime.


To inspire you, and demonstrate that absolutely anyone can write poetry, I’ve put together a short example of my own:


Alas poor Derick, I knew him not

And neither did the census taker

Whence he came and whither he went

I won’t know till I meet my maker


EXCLUSIVE OFFER: whether you enter the competition or not, until 14th December you can save 30% on almost anything you buy from Poems by Post with the offer code LC30 – use this link and the offer code will be entered automatically when you reach the checkout. Three hand-typed poems, each with matching artwork, despatched at monthly intervals for under £20? It could be the perfect Christmas present for someone you know.



1926 Irish Free State census to be released in centenary year

There was no census taken on the island of Ireland in 1921 because of the War of Independence, and the first census of the Irish Free State was taken on 18th June 1926.


It was announced last Wednesday that the 1926 Census will be released in April 2026, and as with other surviving Irish censuses the project will be funded by taxpayers, so that it can be made available free online.


Note: €5m has been allocated to the project – which makes me wonder how much it cost Findmypast to put the 1921 England & Wales online, considering that the population of those countries was more than 12 times greater!



Adultery, Bigamy, or Calumny: the ABC of genealogy (part 2)

In the last issue LostCousins member Berry told us about the conundrums that she was faced with following a chance discovery – in this second instalment there are more surprises…..


At the end of the first instalment of my helter-skelter story of discovery I was faced with some challenging facts:



Both of my ancestors seemed to have committed adultery, but were they also guilty of bigamy?


As copies of the birth registrations for the children arrived I began to piece together more of the story…..


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


You may recall that in 1861 my ancestor Williams ADAMS was living in Manchester, calling himself William GREEN, and had a son called Walter GREEN, aged 7, living with him. As you can see, Walter was registered at birth as the son of William ADAMS and Mary Ann ADAMS formerly PALMER.



Both children were shown in the census as a year older than they really were. Sarah, the other child living with William in 1861, was born in 1852 to the same parents:



Was the Ann ADAMS living with William in 1851 his legal wife, Ann WEST, or was she really Mary Ann PALMER?


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© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


The birth registration for his daughter Elizabeth was revealing:



Whereas Walter GREEN (1861 Census) had been registered at birth as Walter ADAMS, Elizabeth ADAMS (1851 Census) had been registered at birth as Elizabeth GREEN!


In each case the mother was Mary Ann PALMER, and the father was William – but Elizabeth’s father was shown as a labourer rather than a hair dresser.


According to the 1851 Census (Mary) Ann was aged 33 and had been born in Kettering so, hoping for some answers, I looked for a Mary Ann PALMER born Kettering c1817. But I got more questions than answers, because almost immediately I found a marriage between a William GREEN and Mary Ann PALMER in Kettering in 1831. Had my 3G grandfather married two different women in the space of 2 years – was this the proof that he was a bigamist?


I knew from his birth registration that my great-great grandfather Charles ADAMS was the son of William ADAMS, a hair dresser:



But as more birth registrations arrived I began to piece together the jigsaw:



As you can see, the father of Frances Jane was shown as a weaver not a hair dresser – which suggested that the William GREEN who married Mary Ann PALMER was not the William GREEN alias ADAMS who was living with her in 1851. It seemed my ancestor wasn’t a bigamist after all, just an adulterer.


If William GREEN and William ADAMS were two different people then I ought to be able to find William GREEN on the 1841 Census. And I could:


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


William GREEN, a weaver, was living in Kettering with three children. Note that his wife Mary Ann (PALMER) was recorded as Ann – just as she was in 1851, when she was living with William ADAMS, the hair dresser.


Two of the children had been born before the commencement of civil registration on 1st July 1837, but I found this entry in the birth index at the General Register Office site:




There was another child born just after the 1841 Census:



This clue enabled me to find Joseph and his father lodging in Coventry in 1851:


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


William’s birthplace, ‘Rowell’, is an alternative spelling of Rothwell, which is close to Kettering; interestingly William is shown as a widower – had he told his son that his mother had died, or was it no more than a face-saving story for the landlady?


Having managed to establish that William ADAMS and William GREEN were not the same person, I found myself looking at another conundrum – which William was the father of Elizabeth, was it the weaver or the hair dresser? Remember that the birth registration describes him as a labourer.


Elizabeth was born in Coventry, and we know that the real William GREEN was in Coventry in 1851; furthermore, there is no evidence so far that Williams ADAMS ever lived in Coventry – he was in Market Harborough in 1841, and Manchester in 1851.


So when did Mary Ann move to Manchester? And, dare I think it, is Elizabeth in fact the daughter of William GREEN the weaver? And, for that matter, what happened to Elizabeth – I couldn’t find any record of her after 1851?


My brain was certainly spinning yet again at this stage. So many questions!! When did William ADAMS split from his wife, and when and where did he meet Mary Ann GREEN nee PALMER? I needed a break to clear my head, so I decided to see if I could track down my 3G grandmother, Ann ADAMS nee WEST in 1851.


After casting the net very wide and trying numerous combinations I eventually found a family in King Street, Bloomsbury, London, just across the river from the young Frederick ADAMS that I had previously discounted, but thankfully made a note of.


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


The enumerator’s handwriting is stylish, but ambiguous – were William H Adams aged 14 and Charles aged 10 born in Towcester (a town in Northamptonshire), Lancaster, or perhaps Leicester?


Peter’s initial reaction was that the birthplace was Towcester, but after looking at other examples of the enumerator’s handwriting, he agreed with me that it was more likely to be Leicester, short for Leicestershire – almost all of the other entries on the same page gave the birthplace county, rather than a town or village.


My ancestor Charles Adams was born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire in 1839 (I showed you his entry from the GRO birth register earlier in this article). I had also found a birth record for his brother William Henry Adams:


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


William Henry would have been 16, not 14, at the time of the 1851 Census, and Charles would have been 11, not 10 – but we all know about ages on censuses! Indeed, if the Ann ADAMS living in Bloomsbury is my ancestor then her age is way out – Ann WEST married William ADAMS in 1833.


On the other hand, if we look again at my great-great grandfather and his mother in 1861 we can see that she was recorded then as 42 years old, consistent with the 1851 entry (though Charles has gained a year):


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


In 1861 she give her surname as HARRIS – so is it possible that the Frederick ADAMS born Oxfordshire shown in 1851 is really Frederick HARRIS? And if so, where was he in 1861?


© Crown Copyright Image reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives and with the kind permission of Findmypast


On the 1851 census there is a Frederick HARRIS, living with his mother and sisters in Cursitor Street, which is about 15 minutes walk from King Street [now Southampton Row]; the three adult children are shown as born in Oxfordshire. Frederick HARRIS is recorded as a law stationer: in the same census Frederick ADAMS, also born Oxfordshire, is shown as a Stationers Clerk.


Could Frederick ADAMS and Frederick HARRIS be the same person? In 1851 Frederick HARRIS was 32 years old but unmarried; if he was supporting his widowed mother and sisters he may well have felt unable to get married.


In 1856 a law stationer named Frederick HARRIS and aged 38 died of Consumption (tuberculosis). His address was given as Brooksby Street, Barnsbury near Islington, just half a mile south of Ann's home in 1861 (assuming I have identified it correctly using David Hale's wonderful MAPCO site).


I can’t be absolutely certain, but I have a feeling that I’ve found the mysterious Mr HARRIS. Nevertheless there are still many questions to be answered – so there may yet be a third article in the series!


Thanks again, Berry, for allowing me to publish your fascinating story – I do hope there is another instalment, though I know that in family history, some mysteries can never be solved….



Ancestry’s Black Friday DNA offers LOWEST PRICE OF THE YEAR?

All autosomal DNA tests use similar technology, so you might think it wouldn’t matter which test you take – I’m well-known for my moneysaving tips, so you might expect me to recommend one of the cheaper tests on the market.


And yet I don’t – because my long experience of working with DNA has taught me that being able to access the world’s biggest database of genealogical DNA tests is far more important than price alone. Only by taking Ancestry’s own test can you get into their database of more than 23 million tests – because, whilst you can transfer your Ancestry results to other providers, you can’t upload results from other providers to Ancestry.


The other feature that sets Ancestry apart from other sites is the way that they integrate DNA with family trees – they’ve done this far more than any other site, which not only makes it easier for you and me, it saves us an enormous amount of time and effort. Buy a cheaper test and you’ll be wasting your time as well as your money.


Please use the relevant link below so that you have the best chance of supporting LostCousins when you make your purchase (if you’re not taken to the offer page first time, log-out from your Ancestry account then click the link again).


Ancestry.co.uk (UK and Ireland only) – REDUCED FROM £79 to £49 ADD 3 MONTHS WORLDWIDE MEMBERSHIP FOR £1


Ancestry.com.au (Australia and New Zealand only) – REDUCED FROM $129 to $85 ADD 3 MONTHS WORLD HERITAGE MEMBERSHIP FOR $1


Ancestry.ca (Canada only) – REDUCED FROM  $129 to $69 ADD 3 MONTHS WORLD DELUXE MEMBERSHIP FOR $1


Ancestry.com (US only) – REDUCED TO $49 BLACK FRIDAY OFFER


Tip: make sure you follow the advice in my DNA Masterclass – doing what comes naturally won’t work nearly as well, as I explained recently.



Save on Y-DNA tests

When I first started writing about DNA testing, back in 2006, Y-DNA tests were by far the most common - and also the most useful. Because Y-DNA is passed on by males to their sons, it tends to follow the surname - the main exceptions being when there was illegitimacy (because a child typically takes the mother's surname) or adoption. Where one of these has occurred, a Y-DNA test can provide clues to the likely surname of the biological father.


These days Family Tree DNA are the only major provider of Y-DNA tests, and I would caution readers against purchasing Y-DNA tests from any other company (at best they will only be of value as paternity tests and, even then, only if the putative father also tests - they won’t help you research your ancestors).


Tip: although some autosomal DNA tests also examine parts of the Y-chromosome the information they provide isn't compatible with standalone Y-DNA tests. Y-DNA tests are based on STRs (short tandem repeats), repeating segments of DNA, whereas autosomal DNA tests look at SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms), individual letters of DNA that vary between individuals.


Y-DNA tests are relatively expensive because they are 'old technology'. Nevertheless, prices have dropped considerably over the years, and whereas the entry-level test looked at just 12 markers on the Y-chromosome when I first tested, 37 markers is now the minimum.


Advantages of Y-DNA tests



Disadvantages of Y-DNA tests



Ultimately, whether you might benefit from Y-DNA depends on whether there is a suitable donor in your tree. Most of the illegitimate ancestors in my tree were female, so Y-DNA cannot identify their father, but my great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Harrison, was said to be the son of another Joseph Harrison when he was baptised, aged nearly 5, in 1820 – and I'd like to find out whether that was really true.


Which of your 'brick walls' can be solved using Y-DNA? Now is the time to check, because there's a useful saving to be made.....


You can save $40 on a 37-marker test, and even more on more comprehensive tests – though in most cases 37 markers are perfectly adequate. At just $79 during the offer the price is far lower than I paid back in 2012, and less than half the price you might have paid in 2019.


If you think that Y-DNA might help you knock down one of your ‘brick walls, please use the link below so that you can support LostCousins when you make your purchase:




Note: Y-DNA tests are not a substitute for atDNA tests (such as Ancestry DNA); always start with an Ancestry DNA test – it offers the best chance of knocking down ‘brick walls’ in the last 250 years.



Who remembers proper bin-men?

Until 1958 our family lived in terraced house, so when dustbin day came around we had to take the dustbin from the back garden, carry it through the house, and put it in the front garden ready for the dustman.


This Guardian article explains why nostalgia is so popular online, and the “proper bin-men” post is just one of many memories that have been shared.



Keep right on to the end of the road….

Almost exactly a year ago I received a sad email from a LostCousins member – I’ll call him John, though that’s not his real name. In the email he revealed that he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and didn’t expect to be able to continue his research.


Last week I was delighted to hear from John again:


“A while ago I told you I had dementia. I am pleased to say I am still building my family tree and I feel it is helping me keep going. With the help of your Masterclasses – especially with DNA results. I do struggle some days and have found some cousins I didn’t know I had…. But if anybody mentions Altzheimer’s tell them it helps to follow their tree. Thank you. Hope to be able to renew my subscription next year.”


Whether or not John’s involvement in family history is helping to stave off dementia I’ll leave to the doctors to decide – but the one thing I do know is that thanks to family history, and his wife’s present of a DNA test, John is enjoying life a lot more than he anticipated. Good for him!


I received another inspirational email from a LostCousins member this month: William has just renewed his LostCousins subscription – nothing unusual about that, you might think. But William will be celebrating his 103rd birthday next month – which quite possibly makes him our oldest active member.


As a Findmypast subscriber William has seen his own entry on the 1921 Census – and I don’t suppose there are many people reading this newsletter who can say that (though I know a few of you have seen yourselves on the 1939 Register, thanks to records being opened by mistake). If researching your family history is an important part of your life, why not keep going as long as you possibly can?


Note: if you want to hear Harry Lauder singing ‘Keep right on…’ please follow this link to YouTube.



The joke that cost £25,000

Have you ever been to Llandegley Airport? I thought not – neither have I. And nor has anyone else, because Llandegley Airport doesn’t exist.


However for the past 20 years there has been a large sign directing traffic to this imaginary destination, paid for by a journalist with a sense of humour. Now, having spent over £25,000 renting the hoarding, Nicholas Whitehead is hoping that someone else will pick up the bill for what has become a tourist attraction (the sign, not the airport). You can read more about the story in this BBC article.


The non-existent airport wasn’t the only spoof I read about on the BBC’s site this weekend – it seems that for many years there has been a Wikipedia article claiming that the electric toaster was invented by a 19th century Scottish scientist named Alan MacMasters (born 20th March 1865). But search the Scotland 1881 census (the LDS transcription is free at ScotlandsPeople) and there’s only one entry that comes close, an Allan McMaster aged 16. However a free search of the birth registrations at ScotlandsPeople reveals that his birth was registered in 1864, not 1865.


You can read more about this spoof here; whilst the Wikipedia article has been deleted, you can still read about the mythical Scot here.


Note: earlier this year I wrote about my annoyance that the Wikipedia page for ‘Buzzword bingo’ failed to mention my invention of the game in the mid-1960s; if I amended the Wikipedia entry to include this information it was deleted. Thanks – I suspect – to one of the readers of this newsletter there is now a link to that article from the Wikipedia page. Nothing I’ve written should be regarded as a criticism of Wikipedia, by the way – I am one of the donors who keeps the site going.



Review: Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy

I don’t always buy books when they first come out – partly because I invariably have a large pile of books waiting for me to read, and partly because I know that they’re likely to be available more cheaply later on. As an economist, Tim Harford, the author of Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy would no doubt understand, and perhaps even applaud my behaviour – which also has environmental benefits, because I generally buy used copies.


However despite the title, the insights that I got from reading this book were not so much into the modern economy, the world in which I have grown-up, but the world that my ancestors inhabited before the invention or introduction of passports, paper money, formula milk for babies, the gramophone, electricity, batteries, clocks, concrete, and the S-bend. The book begins with the way the humble plough completely changed the way our ancestors lived, and ends with the light bulb.


My used copy in good condition cost me £4.43 including postage, but you can do better than I did if you’re quick – when I checked just now there were several copies of the paperback on offer in better condition and at cheaper prices than I paid.


Amazon.co.uk                             Amazon.com                                         Amazon.ca                                  Amazon.com.au


Meanwhile, I’ve just ordered the follow-up…..



Black Friday sales

With its Aladdin’s Cave of a website, Dunelm is on my wife’s shortlist – the offers run until 28th November, and by using this link she’ll be supporting LostCousins when she makes her purchase.


Starting tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd November) Ordnance Survey will have big discounts on maps and more; the 3D-relief maps look fascinating, so I hope they’re included in the offer – please follow this Iink.


My wife has picked out a couple of gardening offers: Gardening Express has hundreds of offers, many with savings of 50-75%; Crocus have 3 for 2 on a variety of fruit, as well as rhubarb.  





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......



There’s a lot more I’d like to tell you about, but I’m not feeling 100% at the moment, so I’m going to hold the other articles over to my next newsletter. All being well you’ll be hearing from me again soon!


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Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2022 Peter Calver


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