Newsletter – 15th October 2020

 

 

British Newspaper Archive nears target

2021 Census latest

GRO maintains PDF turnaround

Masterclass: Finding birth registrations

20 years of Local BMD indexing

How many witnesses?

Marriage law in England & Wales

Discovering Dade registers across England

Westminster registers – spoiled for choice?

American WW1 burial cards

What did you do in the war, Daddy?

Coal porter? Anything goes

Photos from 1850s Sussex to be auctioned

Library book returned nearly 60 years late

85 year-old man sets mile record

COVID corner

Peters Tips

Stop Press

 

 

The LostCousins newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue (dated 5th October) 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!

 

 

British Newspaper Archive nears target

Some of you will recall that when the collaboration between the British Library, and BrightSolid – the parent company of Findmypast – was announced in this newsletter in May 2010, they planned to digitise 40 million pages over a 10-year period. That was just over 10 years ago….

 

So when I received an email from the British Newspaper Archive headed 'Celebrating a New Landmark on The Archive' I was expecting to read that they had hit the 40 million target. In fact, they've only just topped 39 million. Mind you, since they added nearly 300,000 pages in the most recent week I don’t suppose it will be long before they reach their target.

 

But will they stop when they reach 40 million? No way – the British Newspaper Archive has been so successful that I've no doubt they will continue for a good time to come!

 

Tip: you can also access the British Newspaper Archive if you purchase a top-level subscription to Findmypast  However the search at BNA is much more powerful, so it's well worth paying for a separate subscription if you are a frequent user of historic newspapers.

 

 

2021 Census latest

Last month I questioned whether the England & Wales census would be going ahead on schedule next March, despite the decision by Scotland to postpone their census until 2022. In fact they are actively taking on staff – you can find out more about the positions available here (there are already several LostCousins members employed on the census - I did my bit back in 1971).

 

I've now discovered that Baroness Scott, who takes a keen interest in matters related to family history, recently asked a similar question to mine in the House of Lords. The response from Lord True, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office was that:

 

"The 2021 Census will take place as planned in England and Wales on 21 March 2021. We regret the timing of the decision from Scottish Government."

 

I can understand the frustration - it will certainly very be interesting to see how the Office for National Statistics plans to produce UK-wide population statistics for 2021.

 

Incidentally, you may recall that we have Baroness Scott to thank for the fact that we are now able to order PDF copies of many birth and death certificates, saving family historians time as well as money. Talking of which…..

 

 

GRO maintains PDF turnaround

I'm glad to say that the GRO has managed to maintain the excellent turnaround for PDF orders – most members who've contacted me have reported receiving their documents in 2 days or even less, compared to the 5 days that we were used to (and which was still being quoted on the GRO site last time I checked).

 

I was worried that my article a month ago might prompt such a flood of orders that the turnaround time became extended – as happened when the cost of wills was drastically reduced a couple of years ago. Thanks to everyone who has let me know that the improvement has been maintained - if you have any further comments please post them on the LostCousins Forum rather than writing to me.

 

Although it's wonderful to have access to recompiled indexes of births and deaths at the GRO site, it's a shame that the search options are so limited. When a LostCousins member wrote to me this week to tell me how useful he'd found the birth indexes at Findmypast, thanks to the better search options, it inspired me to update my Masterclass on finding birth certificates…..

 

 

MASTERCLASS: finding birth certificates in England & Wales

It's very frustrating when we can't find an ancestor's birth certificate - but often the 'brick wall' only exists because we've trusted the information in the records that we have found. Let's look at some of the key reasons why a certificate can't be found....

 

·       The forename you know your ancestor by may not be the one on the birth certificate
Sometimes the name(s) given at the time of baptism would differ from the name(s) given to the registrar of births; sometimes a middle name was preferred, perhaps to avoid confusion with another family member, often the father. Although it was possible to amend a birth register entry to reflect a change of name at baptism, most people seem not to have bothered.

There can be all sorts of reasons why a different forename is used - one of my ancestors appears on some censuses as 'Ebenezer' and on others as 'John' (which I imagine was the name he was generally known by). In another family the children (and there were lots of them) were all known by their middle names. Similarly, one of my relatives was registered as Fred, but in 1911 his own father - my great-grandfather - gave his name as Frederick.

·       Middle names come and go
At the beginning of the 19th century it was rare to have a middle name, but by the beginning of the 20th century it was unusual not to have one. Some people invented middle names, some people dropped middle names they didn't like, and sometimes people simply forgot what was on the birth certificate.

Sometimes they switched their names around for a reason:  one of my distant cousins swapped his first and middle name when he married for the second time, and as his second marriage was only two years after the first, I suspect it was bigamous.  

·       The surname on the certificate may not be the one you expect
If the parents weren't married at the time of the birth then usually (but not always) the birth will be indexed under the mother's maiden name; the main exception is where the mother was using the father's surname and failed to disclose to the registrar that they weren't married. In the early days of civil registration some illegitimate births were indexed under the surnames of both parents (the examples I've seen are from the 1840s), but this anomaly was corrected when the GRO recompiled the indexes in the 21st century.

Surname spellings were not fixed in the 19th century, and some continued to change in the 20th century (the spelling of my grandmother's surname changed between her birth in 1894 and her marriage in 1915). Many surnames of foreign origin changed around the time of the First World War - even the Royal Family changed their name.

·       You're looking for the wrong father
Often the best clue you have to the identity of your ancestor's father is the information on his or her marriage certificate. Unfortunately marriage certificates are often incorrect - the father's name and/or occupation may well be wrong. This is particularly likely if your ancestor never knew his or her father, whether as a result of early death or illegitimacy. Not many people admit to being illegitimate on their wedding day - and in Victorian Britain illegitimacy was frowned upon, so single mothers often made up stories to tell their children (as well as the neighbours).

If the groom's name is the same as the name given for his father you should be especially wary - when you're struggling to find a birth it is a strong hint that the father isn’t who the marriage register says he is. However it might only be the surname that's wrong - illegitimate sons were often named after their putative father.

Whether or not the birth was legitimate young children often took the name of the man their mother later married, so always bear in mind the possibility that the father whose name is shown on the marriage certificate is actually a step-father.

·       You may be looking in the wrong place
A child's birthplace is likely to be shown correctly when he or she is living at home (few mothers are going to forget where they were when they gave birth!), but could well be incorrect after leaving home. Many people simply didn't know where they were born, and assumed it was the place where they remembered growing up. So the most accurate birthplace is the one given by the father or (especially) the mother of the person whose birth you're trying to track down; the least accurate is likely to be the one in the first census after they leave home.

Enumerators also made mistakes, and sometimes added extra information that makes it even more confusing. For example, my great-great-great grandmother was born in Lee, Kent but the 1851 Census shows her as born in Leith, Scotland - clearly the enumerator could have misheard 'Lee' as 'Leith', but he wouldn't have mistaken 'Kent' for 'Scotland', so he must have added that bit himself. Her father was shown on the same census (but by a different enumerator) as born in Hatcham, Surrey – which was nearby. In fact he was born in Fetcham, Surrey which was much further away – the enumerator might not even have heard the name before. Both of them were born before civil registration began, but the enumerators' errors would have been just as confusing had they been born after 1837.

Another common error made by enumerators was to switch the birthplaces of the head of household and his wife. This probably happened when copying them from the household schedule to the summary book – remember that prior to 1911 we don't get to see the schedules filled in by householders..

·       You may be looking in the wrong period
Ages on censuses are often wrong, as are the ages shown on marriage certificates - especially if there is an age gap between the parties, or one or both is below the age of consent (21). Sometimes people didn't know how old they were, or knew which year they were born but bungled the subtraction; ages on death certificates can be little more than guesses, or may be based on an incorrect age shown on the deceased's marriage certificate. Remember too that births could be registered up to 42 days afterwards without penalty, so many will be recorded in the following quarter - and they could be registered up to 365 days afterwards on payment of a fine. Some births were re-registered years later after the parents married.

In my experience, where a marriage certificate shows 'of full age' it's often an indication that in reality at least one of them was under 21. It was only very recently that vicars were given the power to require evidence of age and identity.

·       The birth was not registered at all
This is the least likely situation, but it did happen occasionally - most often in the first few years of registration, though it wasn't until 1875 that there was a penalty for failing to register a birth. To be absolutely certain that a birth wasn't registered you would need to have almost as much information as would be shown on a birth certificate – so for practical purposes it's a possibility you can safely ignore.

·       The GRO indexes are wrong
This is also quite rare, but did happen occasionally - despite the checks that were carried out. Fortunately the indexes that the GRO made available on their website in November 2016 were compiled from scratch, so most indexing errors will have been eliminated (although inevitably some new ones were introduced).

·       The GRO indexes have been mistranscribed
Transcription errors can prevent you finding the entry you’re looking for.

 

How can you overcome these problems? First and foremost keep an open mind - be prepared to accept that any or all of the information you already have may be wrong. This is particularly likely if you have been unable to find your relative at home with their parents on any of the censuses.

 

Obtain all the information that you can from censuses, certificates, baptism entries and other sources (such as Army records). The GRO's new birth indexes show the mother's maiden name from the start of civil registration - the contemporary indexes only include this information from July 1911 onwards. And don’t assume that the same information will be shown in the baptism register as in the birth register - if the birth was registered before the baptism the forenames could be different. (Whilst it was possible to update the birth entry following the baptism - hence the final column on birth certificates - this rarely happened.)

 

Don't stick to one site just because you have a subscription

Almost all of the sites that have indexed the quarterly birth indexes have done so independently, so entries that have been incorrectly transcribed at one site may well be correctly transcribed at other sites. Make use of free searches – even subscription sites allow free searches (though you may have to register first)

 

Note: the indexes at Ancestry for the period up to 1915 were provided by FreeBMD, so you’re likely to get the same results from both sites, although FreeBMD's indexes include some corrections that aren't reflected in the Ancestry database. Similarly the indexes at FamilySearch are provided by Findmypast.

 

The GRO's online index of historic births is completely free, though the search options are very limited, with very poor fuzzy-matching. Furthermore, although maiden names are included from 1837 onwards you can’t search on maiden name only. Findmypast offers much better search options, and you probably won’t need a subscription because a free search provides a lot of information. Although maiden names currently aren't recorded for every birth between 1837-1911, the fact that at Findmypast you can search by maiden name alone is incredibly useful.

 

Note: the way in which the new birth indexes have been compiled by the GRO differs from the procedure followed when the original quarterly indexes were created. See this article for an explanation of the differences, and the implications thereof.   

 

When you can't find someone living with their parents on the censuses…..

The less information you can find, the more likely it is that the little you already have is incorrect or misleading in some way. Consider how and why the information you have might be wrong by working your way through the list above - then come up with a strategy to deal with each possibility. Sometimes it's as easy as looking up the index entry for a sibling to find out the mother's maiden name; often discovering when the parents married is a vital clue (but don't believe what it says on the 1911 Census - the years of marriage shown may have been adjusted for the sake of propriety).

 

If you can't find your ancestor on any census with his or her parents then you should be particularly suspicious of the information you have - it's very likely that some element is wrong, and it is quite conceivable that it is ALL wrong. Tempting as it is to hold on to clues when you have so few of them, sometimes you can only succeed by letting go, and starting from scratch.

 

Middle names that could also be surnames often indicate illegitimacy - it was usually the only way to get the father's name onto the birth certificate. And if your ancestor has an unusual middle name, try searching for other birth registrations which include the same name.

 

Official records are often wrong

Don't assume that just because something appears in an official document, it must be right. Around half of the 19th century marriage certificates I've seen included at least one error, and as many as half of all census entries are also wrong in some respect (I'm not talking about transcription errors, by the way). Army records are particularly unreliable - one of my relatives added 2 years to his age when he joined the British Army in 1880, and knocked 7 years off when he signed up for the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914.

 

Some people really were named Tom, Dick, or Harry but over-eager record-keepers might assume that they were actually Thomas, Richard and Henry. My grandfather was Harry, but according to his army records he was Henry (just as well he had two other forenames - which were recorded correctly - otherwise I might never have found him).

 

Births were registered locally, and some local indexes are online 

If you are absolutely convinced that you know when and where your ancestors was born, you could try ordering their birth certificate from the local register office. But first make use of local BMD indexes where they exist (start at UKBMD), and don't forget to look for your ancestor's baptism - sometimes we forget that parents continued to have their children baptised after Civil Registration began, but as more and more parish registers, Catholic registers, and non-conformist records become available online they are increasingly important sources.

 

Consider the possibility that one or both of the parents died when your ancestor was young - perhaps there will be evidence in workhouse records. Have you looked for wills?

 

Marriage witnesses and signatures on marriage certificates can be valuable clues

Could the witnesses to your ancestor's marriage be relatives? When my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Harrison married, one of the witnesses was a Sarah Salter - and I later discovered (after many years of fruitless searching) that this was the name of his mother. Her maiden name wasn't Salter, by the way - nor was it Harrison - and it was only because the Salter name stuck in my mind that I managed to knock deown the 'brick wall'. Another marriage witness with a surname I didn't recognise proved invaluable when I was struggling with my Smith line - he turned up as a lodger in the census, helping to prove that I was looking at the same family on two successive censuses, even though the names and ages of the children didn't tally, and the father had morphed from a carpenter to a rag merchant.

 

Do your cousins have the answer?

Remember that you're probably not the only one researching this particular ancestor - and one of your cousins may already have the answers you're seeking. Someone who has approached the problem from a different direction will have collected different clues, and might well have solved the mystery through routine research. Indeed, they might never have seen it as a mystery – perhaps they inherited the family Bible, a handwritten family tree, or even the original birth certificate? So make sure that you have entered ALL your relatives from 1881 on your My Ancestors page, as this is the census that is most likely to link you to your 'lost cousins' – and remember that because your cousins are descended from the branches of your tree, the best way to find them is to enter the relatives from the twigs and branches of your tree.

 

Will the certificate be correct when you eventually find it?

Finally, remember that even when you find the birth certificate the information shown might not be correct; for example, if the child is the youngest in a large family, consider the possibility that the mother shown on the certificate was actually the child's grandmother (see this article for an example). When a birth was registered by one parent the name of the other parent could only be recorded in the register if the parents were married (or claimed to be married); as a result some births registered by the mother named the wrong father, and (more rarely) some births registered by the father named the wrong mother. You can see another example of a birth certificate which names the wrong mother here.

 

Note: although this Masterclass relates to England & Wales much of the advice will also apply to searches in other parts of the United Kingdom, and other countries around the world..

 

 

20 years of Local BMD indexing

On 15th October 2000 Cheshire BMD launched – since then almost 7 million births. marriages, and deaths have been added to the Cheshire indexes, which are free online, and there are nearly 50 million entries in all across the Local BMD group of websites, which include Bath, Berkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, North Wales, Shropshire, West Midlands, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire.

 

Other areas have followed their lead using different software. Coverage and the information indexed varies – in some cases you'll get so much additional information that you might not need to order a certificate. But if you're struggling to find a birth registration (see the Masterclass above), any information at all will be welcome!

 

 

How many witnesses?

I'm sure that most readers will have seen examples of marriage register entries where three witnesses have signed, rather than the usual two, but this entry for the 1803 marriage at St Mary the Virgin, Walthamstow, Essex of Charles Tottenham to Catherine Wigram is an outstanding example, because no fewer than THIRTEEN members of the Wigram family have signed the register!

 

 © Image reproduced by kind permission of Waltham Forest Archives and Essex Record Office; All rights reserved

 

Have you ever seen as many marriage witnesses as this? Right now there are many parts of the world where you wouldn’t be allowed to have that many people attend a wedding, let alone sign the register.

 

Note: although Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753 (officially entitled 'An Act for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage') specifies that two people should witness the registration of a marriage, the lack of witnesses did not automatically render the marriage void.

 

 

Marriage law in England & Wales

When I started researching my family tree it was generally believed that prior to 1754 all that was required to create a marriage was the exchange of consent by the individuals concerned, and that as a consequence couples had no need or desire to marry in church. But in 2009 Rebecca Probert demonstrated that this was not the case, and you can read what she wrote here in a free chapter from an academic work that would cost £80 to buy.

 

It's almost exactly 8 years since I reviewed Professor Probert's eye-opening book, Marriage Law for Genealogists, which debunks many of the previously accepted theories about marriage and the law. It might sound like a pretty dry subject, but as anyone who has read the book will know, it’s a real page-turner (her follow-up, Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved? is equally interesting).

 

It's particularly important for genealogists to know how the law stood at a particular point in time because our ancestors' decisions to marry, to co-habit, and perhaps even to join the army or emigrate would have been shaped by what marriage law allowed (or, at least, what they could get away with!).

 

My great-grandmother died tragically young in 1897 – just 4 months later my great-grandfather, who had three young children to care for, married his deceased wife's sister. A practical solution, perhaps, but it was a full 10 years before such marriages were legalised. He may have been emboldened to break the law by the fact that another relative had got away with it half a century before.

 

But go back a bit further, before 1834, and such marriages weren't outlawed – they could be contested, but if nobody objected while the couple were both still alive a marriage stood.

 

It's things like this that make Marriage Law for Genealogists one of those books that you must have on your bookshelf – not least because some of the other books in your family history collection will have got it wrong!

 

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

 

 

Discovering Dade registers across England

For most of us, discovering extra information in a parish register is an unexpected bonus - but researchers who are seeking information about ancestors in Yorkshire are used to finding a wealth of detail in late 18th and early 19th century registers.

 

The Rev William Dade was a Yorkshire clergyman who juggled 5 parishes in the city of York, and 2 in East Riding of Yorkshire. He felt that parish registers could and should be more informative, providing more information for the benefit of future generations, and in 1770 he wrote: "This scheme if properly put in execution will afford much clearer intelligence to the researches of posterity than the imperfect method hitherto generally pursued."

 

Dade's idea was picked up by the Lord Archbishop of York, the Right Rev William Markham who mandated their use in his diocese. Subsequently the concept spread to some parishes in other parts of England, probably where there was some connection with the and at the English Ancestors site of Brigham Young University you'll find a map broadly indicating the coverage, together with a spreadsheet detailing the information to be found in respect of individual parishes.

 

 

Westminster registers – spoiled for choice?

Ancestry was the first of the big providers to make parish registers available online when they uploaded the London Metropolitan Archives collection in 2009. Although it took a couple of years to index the records, they've proved enormously valuable to me and many other researchers.

 

But some of the registers for the London area are held by other record offices and the Westminster Archives collection was soon snapped up by Findmypast. However, as some of you will have noticed, the registers have disappeared from Findmypast and reappeared at Ancestry – clearly the contract has changed hands.

 

The good news is that we now have two sets of indexed transcriptions of these registers, which improves the chance of being able to find the entries we're looking for.

 

 

American WW1 burial cards

During lockdown LostCousins member Ed took part in a project to transcribe WW1 burial certificates for American service personnel.

 

 

There are over 78,000 records in the database, and you can search it free here.

 

 

What did you do in the war, Daddy?

In 1938/39 the British government drew up a list of reserved occupations exempting workers in those occupations from conscription. During the Great War the recruitment of soldiers from every walk of life had left to labour shortages in sectors of industry that were vital for the war effort.

 

Around 5 million men were in reserved occupations, including railway workers, dockers, miners, agricultural workers, schoolteachers and doctors – but for most occupations there was also a minimum age below which there was no exemption. This varied, and presumably reflected the value of experience in different roles.

 

You can download a copy of the Provisional Schedule of Reserved Occupations published in January 1939 free from the website of Anguline Research Archives - which also offers a range of digitised books and parish register transcriptions for purchase.

 

For more information about reserved occupations in WW2 see this article on the BBC History website.

 

 

Coal porter? Anything goes

John, sometimes John George, was the older brother of my great-great grandfather Robert Wells. Born in Suffolk, he married in Essex and until last week the last sighting I had of him was as a coal porter at Sudbury in the 1851 census, quite a change from being a shoemaker in 1836 and a 'modeller' in 1839 when his son John and daughter Mary Ann were baptised. But what I hadn't realised was that there was an elder daughter born just after the couple married…..

 

It all started earlier this week when I noticed that two cousins whose tests I manage had a significant DNA match (over 40cM) with someone at MyHeritage who doesn't match either my brother or myself. This isn't unusual or surprising, since inheritance of DNA is largely random, but because one of the cousins involved sadly passed away before he was able to test at Ancestry I was especially keen to make use of this particular match.

 

There wasn't much to go on – there was no tree, just a fairly unusual forename, a surname that I assumed to be her married name, and the name of the person who managed her test, probably her husband or her son. I knew from her profile that she was in her 60s (as I was a month ago!) so my first step was to look for her marriage.

 

Fortunately there was only one marriage that came close to fitting, so I now knew what her maiden name was. It wasn't a name that appears in my tree, so the next step was to find her birth, in the hope that her mother's maiden name would be familiar. No luck there either, so next I looked for the marriage of her parents, whose surnames I now knew.

 

Whilst the surnames were common ones there was one marriage that stood out, because it was in the same registration district where my cousin was born 2 years later. I took a chance that this was the right marriage and decided to track the mother first, as her forename was a little less common. Now I hit the jackpot – it turned out that my cousin's maternal grandmother had a very unusual maiden name, and whilst it still wasn't a name that appeared in my tree, I was confident of being able to track a few more generations on that line if I had to.

 

In fact I only had to go back two more generations – the maiden surname of my cousin's great-great grandmother was Wells, which was my own mother's maiden name, as well as the surname of my deceased cousin. It could be a coincidence, but I was fairly confident – having won £30 on the lottery last Saturday I felt my luck was in!

 

Fortunately the aforesaid great-grandmother had married at St Bartholomew, Bethnal Green in 1857 – so not only could I access the marriage register entry online at Ancestry, I'd be able to see who the bride's father was (this information isn’t shown until July 1837):

 

© London Metropolitan Archives; used by permission of Ancestry

 

It didn’t take me long to realise that John Wells, mast maker, was the same John Wells who had been a coal porter, a shoemaker, and a modeller. A veritable Jack of all trades!

 

 

Photos from 1850s Sussex to be auctioned

Later this month a collection of 170 photographs that are up to 170 years old will be going up for auction.

 

With an estimate of £50,000 to £70,000 (plus Buyer's Premium and VAT) they're believed to include the oldest surviving pictures of Sussex, and some of the individuals in the photos could well have been born before the French Revolution, or even the American Revolution – an amazing thought.

 

If you've won the lottery you'll find the auction catalogue here,

 

 

Library book returned nearly 60 years late

When I was a young boy the worst thing that could possibly happen was to forget to take my library books back on time. I think the fine was only 1d a day, but for someone whose pocket money was 6d a week it seemed like a massive sum, especially since I took out three books at a time.

 

So when I read this BBC News article about a book that should have been returned in 1962 it brought back lots of memories.

 

 

85 year-old man sets mile record

When I was young, probably about 5 or 6, I literally could not run properly – I had to be shown how to do it by a friend of my own age. Things never got much better – despite my long legs I've never been able to run very fast or run long distances (which in my case means anything more than a couple of hundred yards).

 

So I was impressed to see this BBC story of an 85 year-old British man who runs for fun and has set a record for his age-group – well done, Ian!

 

 

COVID corner                                                                                         

Since the crisis began we've heard a lot about the R number, but what never seems to be clearly enunciated is that for a particular virus, in a particular place, at a particular time the value of R is solely dependent on human behaviour.

 

We've heard a lot recently about whether politicians are following the science, but you know what - whether they are or whether they aren't, we can still follow the science ourselves. Anyone with half a brain knows that it’s safer not to mix with people outside their own household or 'bubble', and that meeting people outdoors is safer than meeting them indoors. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it safe, and we all need to remember that.

 

Almost everywhere you look the statistics are depressing. But most depressing of all is the attitude of some of the population, especially young adults – some of them are partying as if there was no tomorrow, and sadly for some of us in the older generations their 'death wish' is going to come true. The escalation in confirmed cases has been followed by an increase in hospital admissions, and now the number of people dying from COVID-19 is reaching levels that we thought, or at least hoped, we'd never see again.

 

If anyone doubts the culpability of the younger generation they need only look at the news footage of reckless and – quite frankly - downright selfish individuals partying in Liverpool on the last night before level 3 restrictions came into force (and there are plenty of other places round the world where similar behaviour has been reported). When I was their age we used to scoff at the old fogeys who said they should 'bring back the birch', but half a century on, I'm beginning to wonder whether they might have been right. Though perhaps putting the miscreants in the stocks would be better.

 

I'm sure the sons and grandsons of most people reading this are far better behaved – but if you have the slightest suspicion that they're not, you have my permission to come down on them like the proverbial 'ton of bricks'. If there is one thing I can’t stand, it's selfish behaviour – and when that behaviour endangers the lives of others, it's simply unforgiveable.

 

Apologies if this comes over as bit of a rant, but I suspect I'm only voicing the concerns that many of you already have. When common sense is no longer as common as it used to be, it's time for the sensible to speak up!

 

 

Peters Tips

A LostCousins member, one who knows a lot more about these things than I do, has pointed out that when I recommended using hydrogen peroxide to disinfect groceries I should have warned you not to use it as a spray. Like most disinfectants and many other cleaning products, if used in this way it could cause problems for anyone who has respiratory problems.

 

I shall continue using it myself – it never even crossed my mind to spray it on. I generally use a cloth to wipe down the supermarket shopping, but if I need to clean loose fruit or vegetables that are an awkward shape I might immerse them in a dilute solution (this is why I chose a disinfecting agent that is approved for use on organic produce). But my main defence against the possibility that something that has come into the house might harbour the virus is to quarantine it – however this doesn't work well for food that needs to go in the fridge or freezer because low temperatures simply prolong the life of the virus.

 

Note: my supply of hydrogen peroxide is a 6% solution, and if you use this undiluted you are advised to use gloves. You'll find the product I buy here – I've been using it for 6 months. There are smaller quantities available from the same supplier if you're optimistic that the virus will be vanquished soon…..

 

A strange thing happened last week – I had an email from Morrisons telling me that my Delivery Pass was going to expire on 15th October. Since I'd never purchased a Delivery Pass and hadn't ordered anything from them since last Christmas, I suspected it was spam - but for once it turned out to be a genuine email. And since my next Tesco delivery was 10 days away, and stocks of a few basic essentials were running low, I was delighted to discover that Morrisons had an open delivery slot the very next day.

 

The only reason I'm mentioning it is because I surely can’t be the only person to have received an email like that – does anyone know what prompted it? If nothing else it was a great way to drum up business!

 

Note: if you ever receive an email from me telling you that your LostCousins subscription is about to expire (or has already run out) you can easily check whether it is genuine. Simply log-in to your LostCousins account and go to your My Summary page – at the top you'll see the expiry date of your current (or last) subscription. At LostCousins subscriptions are NEVER renewed automatically – I think that's the best way to do things, don't you?

 

 

Stop Press

I have amended the COVID Corner article to make it clear that I'm referring to certain young adults behaving irresponsibly, and not to all young people, and certainly not to children.

 

 

Description: Description: peter_signature

 

Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins

 

© Copyright 2020 Peter Calver

 

This newsletter is free, and you are welcome to send your friends and relatives links to the newsletter or any article in it without asking for permission. To link to a specific article right-click on the title of the article in the list at the top of the newsletter.

 

But why not invite other family historians to join LostCousins instead, so that they can get their own copies in future? Standard membership of LostCousins is also free.

 

Please do NOT copy or republish any part of this newsletter without permission - which is only granted in the most exceptional circumstances.