Newsletter – 26th
One-day DNA Sale at Ancestry BOXING DAY ONLY
Stop Press UPDATED
newsletter is usually published 2 or 3 times a month. To access the previous issue
(dated 19th December) 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):
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One-day DNA Sale at Ancestry BOXING DAY
just one day Ancestry UK are offering their lowest price of the year on DNA
tests, just £49 plus shipping. In Canada it is the last day of a similarly generous offer, but
in Australia or New Zealand you have a little longer to place your order. Please use the links below to support LostCousins
(you may need to log-out from Ancestry – if so click
the link a second time):
(UK only) - SAVE £30 – Boxing Day ONLY
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this time of year it’s usual for the GRO to add an
extra year to their online index of births for England & Wales, so I was
expecting 1920 to be added (now that the entries are 100 years old). But in fact they added all of the remaining entries from the registers
that have been scanned and indexed, taking them up to 1934.
you have used the birth index for 1984-2019 (see this newsletter article
for more details) you'll know that maiden names aren't displayed in the search
results, other than the name you specify - presumably to comply with Data
Protection. It's the same for the period 1921-1934.
as the original quarterly indexes for this period included the Mother's Maiden
Name it's not a major problem – the main reason you’d want
to use the GRO indexes after 1920 is to find out the full middle names of your
relatives, information that isn't shown in the quarterly indexes.
Until midnight on Wednesday 6th January the
LostCousins site will be totally free – which means that you can initiate
contact with any new relatives that you find (which normally require a
subscription). This applies not only to existing members (ie anyone who received an email about this newsletter)
but also to new members.
So if you know any family historians who don't already belong, now's the
time to invite them to join, so that they can take part in the LostCousins
project to connect cousins around the world who not only share ancestors, but
also a love of genealogy. They don’t need any special codes, all they need to
do is visit www.LostCousins.com and
click JOIN NOW
in the menu.
many of our ancestors the celebrations on Twelfth Night would have overshadowed
those on Christmas Day, and whilst by the time Charles Dickens was born in 1812
Christmas was starting a comeback, Twelfth Night still meant a lot more to
previous generations than it does to most of us. When I was a child it was the
day when we took down our Christmas decorations – nothing more, nothing less.
To the best of my recollection we took down the decorations on 6th January,
but for many Twelfth Night is 5th January, Epiphany Eve (and the 12th day of Christmas
if you start counting from Christmas Day). But Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens
considered it to be 6th January, and that's good
enough for me.
is also a play by William Shakespeare – not the 81 year-old
who became the first man in the western world to receive a COVID-19 vaccination
outside of a trial, but the celebrated playwright. I studied Twelfth Night
at school and my English teacher said that it was first performed on that day -
however, according to Wikipedia the very first performance was in February 1602,
so we can’t infer from that when Shakespeare would
have celebrated Twelfth Night.
© Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and
used by kind permission of Findmypast)
21st century references to Twelfth Night are talking about the play, rather
than the day, but I did find a 2002 article about the day, which clearly states
the date as 6th January (ironically this article was in The Stage).
we do know is that in 1927 the inhabitants of Hastings and St Leonards celebrated
Twelfth Night on Thursday 6th January – the article shown is taken from the Hastings
and St Leonards Observer of Saturday 8th January. There were several events
on the same night, as you can see from the newspaper report – which is very
much of its time (I don’t suppose that contemporary
readers were quite as shocked as we are to read that the members of the
orchestra were dressed as members of the Klu Klux
I've just finished reading
Kate Werran's book – which, to be clear, isn't about
the American War of Independence or the American Civil War. The full title is An
American Uprising In Second World War England: Mutiny In
The Duchy, and it describes a most unusual legal case which unfolded in the
courtroom above Paignton Police Station in October 1943, one in which US law
was applied on British soil.
background to the story is the tension between US troops and the English civilian
population, which not only disapproved of the way in which segregation and discrimination
had been imported, but proved much more sympathetic to
the coloured soldiers than the white GIs. The event that triggered the court
case involved shots being fired in the centre of Launceston, Cornwall,
allegedly by men from the 581st Ordnance Ammunition Company based nearby.
was surprised to find that for me the court case was the least interesting part
of the book – perhaps that was because the verdict seemed inevitable. But what
kept me reading was the author's description
of the ways in which negro and white soldiers were kept apart when off base,
and the extent to which one group was favoured over the other, even though they
were fighting a common enemy.
Given the recent uproar over the mistreatment
of immigrants who arrived in Britain from 1948 onwards on the Empire Windrush
and other vessels, it was salutary to discover that just 5 years earlier the
population had been remarkably welcoming to those whose skin colour set them
apart from the natives. In fact this confirmed what I
remembered from the 1950s – that when the first non-white pupil arrived at my
primary school, rather than being the subject of discrimination, he was the boy
that the rest of us wanted to be friends with!
© Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. Used
by kind permission of Findmypast)
the events in the book took place during the war, it isn’t
really a war story – the soldiers involved are all supposed to be on the same
side. Instead Kate Werran has
unearthed a long forgotten event that casts a disturbing shadow over the
collaboration between Britain and the United States in World War 2.
read the hardback edition, but it is also available as a Kindle book.
I'm delighted to announce that Janet Few - author,
speaker, researcher, and LostCousins member - has kindly agreed to donate
autographed copies of two of her books, one non-fiction and one fiction (though
inspired by historical events):
Ten Steps to a
One-Place Study was
in one of my April newsletters – it's a must-have whether you are actively considering
starting an OPS, or are simply wondering whether it's something you ought to be
thinking about. Many of us feel we have a special association with the towns
and villages where our ancestors lived for several generations, yet we rarely investigate
beyond the parish registers – perhaps we should widen our horizons?
as Red as Scarlet: a Devon Town in Turmoil was mentioned
in my last newsletter of August – although as I'm not a lover of historical
fiction (I prefer historical fact), I haven't read it yet. However, I know that
many of you are fans of this popular genre - and if the reviews on Amazon are
anything to go by, this is a book you'll definitely want
on your bookshelf!
Here's a quick reminder of the other prizes on
offer this year:
12 month PRO subscription to
Findmypast (worth £159.99)
unlimited access to over 8 billion historical records from around the world,
modern electoral registers for the UK, and more than 300 million newspaper
12 month Diamond subscription
to The Genealogist (worth £139.95)
access to a wide range of records including non-conformist records, exclusive
tithe records and tithe maps, and a growing collection of 'Lloyd George'
Domesday records and maps which you won't find at any
12 month unlimited
subscription to British Newspaper Archive (worth £79.95)
40 million pages from historic British and Irish newspapers, with hundreds of
thousands more pages added every month. Optimised search features including the
ability to search for articles added after a particular date, so that you don't have to repeatedly trawl through articles you've
previously read or discarded.
12 month subscription to Who
Do You Think You Are? Magazine (worth at least £60)
wealth of news, knowledge, and information from the world of genealogy – plus
some inside stories from the TV series.
Historian v7 (just out!)
Orde, the programmer of this Great British program has generously offered to
donate a digital copy to the lucky winner. But you don’t
have to wait for the result of the competition to find out what amazing
features the program offers – you can download a free trial version here.
autographed copies of The Asylum-Hiding the Past
Dylan Goodwin will dedicate these copies to the three lucky winners – two great
stories in a single paperback, Hiding
the Past introduced us to Morton Farrier, The Asylum is a prequel to
that first novel.
you've yet to discover Morton Farrier and his partner Juliet, you'll find an attractive offer below – you can get the
Kindle version of Hiding the Past for a bargain price!
copies of The Marriage Certificate and The Death Certificate
Molyneux will sign copies of the paperbacks for the lucky winners. His debut
genealogical mystery novel, The Marriage
Certificate, is one of my all-time favourites, and The
Death Certificate is a worthy follow-up.
have a chance of winning one of these fabulous prizes just do what should come
naturally to any reader of this newsletter – complete your My Cousins
page so that I can connect you to the other members who are researching the
same ancestors – your 'lost cousins'. Not sure how to go about it? Just follow
you're in the UK then from Saturday 26th December
until Thursday 6th January you can purchase the Kindle version of Hiding the
Past – the novel that introduced us to Morton Farrier, and 'The Forensic
Genealogist' series from Nathan Dylan Goodwin – for the bargain price of 99p.
Please follow this link so that you can
support LostCousins when you buy this book (or any other product from Amazon.co.uk).
are two things that dramatically changed my view of Christmas when I was younger:
one was discovering that (spoiler alert!) there is no Father Christmas; the
other was reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
year my view of Christmas changed yet again – not because of the pandemic, but as a result of reading Dickens and Christmas by
Lucinda Hawksley, one of his great-great-great grandchildren. I discovered that
Dickens wrote many more Christmas stories, but none of them could hold a candle
to 'The Carol', as Dickens himself called it.
producing a new story each Christmas helped to pay the bills – typically 20,000
copies would be sold in the first week of publication – the responsibility weighed
down on the author, who had to invent and write a Christmas-themed story at the
same time as editing his magazine, writing his partwork novels, giving readings
and making other public appearances, and supporting his family.
fact, it was as I read the closing chapters of this book that I decided not to
publish a newsletter on Christmas Day this year, as I have done so often in the
past, but to delay it until Boxing Day. I hope you don’t
Dickens and Christmas and the descriptions of enormous 'Twelfth Cakes' also brought home how
much more significant Twelfth Night was for earlier generations, inspiring me
to research and write the article above. I also found myself looking up the
meaning of the terms 'Negus', 'Smoking Bishop', and 'custard cups' – in short,
it's a book about Christmas as well as a book about Dickens, but one that I'd
be happy to read at any time of the year!
I read the hardback edition, which is lovely to
handle and would make a lovely present, but if you’re in
the UK you can currently buy the Kindle version for just 99p, which is very
tempting indeed (though I suspect the price will go up again soon). It's also heavily-discounted in Australia at $1.98, and cheaper
still in Canada at 99c – don’t miss out!
Tip: you can support
LostCousins when you buy almost anything from one of the four Amazon sites listed
above – you can use any link from my newsletters, just so long as it
relates to the same site.
the last issue I offered some advice for those who were planning to meet with
family over the Christmas period, advice that would have reduced the chance of
catching and/or spreading the virus. One member thought it was completely inappropriate
and that, rather than trying to save lives, I should have been focusing solely on
genealogy. I'm not going to be taking his
advice, that's for sure – my job is to connect living cousins!
I don’t know about you but Christmas this year was
very different for me, very different indeed. As my wife and I were to be on
our own on Christmas Day I left the large turkey in the freezer, and instead cooked
the small one I'd bought as part of my contingency
worry – that big turkey won’t be wasted, we'll have a proper family get-together
at some point in 2021, whenever it is safe to do so, and if the weather isn't
too warm we can still wear our Christmas jumpers.)
today we're having a family get-together using Zoom,
software that most of us has never heard of this time last year. And whilst it's not quite the same as having people in the same room, I'll
get to see more of my family than I would have done had this been a normal
Christmas. Hopefully next year we'll have the best of
both worlds – some meeting face-to-face, but with others who are too far away
connecting over the Internet.
the pictures at the start of the newsletter were taken by my wife in our lounge
– clever use of the mirror over the mantelpiece, don't you think?
near and yet so far – one minute we're rejoicing that
the vaccine roll-out has begun, the next we discover that there's a new, more
infectious, variant of the coronavirus on the loose. On Christmas Day I went to
bed in Tier 2, but woke up this morning (Boxing Day) in
Tier 4, which is as close to lockdown as makes no difference. My wife and I won't be greatly affected by this change as we have been extremely
careful over the past 9 and a half months, but hopefully it will help to reduce
the number of cases in our area – they've doubled in a week.
is wonderful, but sometimes the evidence isn't what we
were hoping for. I can remember at the start of the pandemic that some people were
suggesting that that it was no worse than seasonal flu – indeed, some misguided
individuals still believe this is the case - though in fact deaths from
COVID-19 in both the UK and the US are about 10 times higher than flu. Thank
goodness that our scientific knowledge and capability has increased
significantly since the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, otherwise the numbers
could be higher still!
the end of January you can save on popular magazines including Gardeners World,
BBC Good Food, BBC History, and Who Do You Think You Are? when
you follow this link.
The best offers I noticed offer 3 issues for £5 (less than the cost of some individual
issues), but you need to sign up for a direct debit (although you can cancel it
at any time).
Don’t forget that 1st Class stamps are going up
from 76p to 85p on 1st January. Don’t want to risk
going out to buy them? Very sensible – instead order
them direct from Royal Mail by following this link
and get free delivery when you spend £50 or more.
they'll only allow you to purchase 5 books of 12 x 1st
Class stamps, but you can buy sheets of 100 as well.
It's good to know that my long-term memory still
works. A reader questioned whether I was correct to say in the last issue that
a flying boat had been mentioned in one of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and
Amazons books, and since it was at least 60 years since I read them I was understandably worried that my memory might have
been playing tricks. But we eventually tracked down the reference (in We
Didn't Mean To Go To Sea) which was most reassuring!
expect that, like me, you sometimes remember things from the past that you'd long forgotten - isn’t it wonderful how our memory
works! But what’s the best way of recording our own
memories? Over the years I've videoed interviews with many
older relatives – none of them, sadly, still with us. But I've
never sat myself in front of the camera – maybe that should be one of my resolutions
protection from computer hackers I use Kaspersky, which has served me well for many
years, but some of the magazine reviews I've read advocate Norton. In the UK
there is currently a discount offer on Norton 360 – follow this link for more details.
as I was proofreading this newsletter I received an email with a link
to an article titled Charles Dickens, Spirit of Christmas at The
Genealogist website – it's well worth a read, but there's also a special offer
on the same page which may interest some of you.
DeceasedOnline have a buy one, get one free offer on pay-per-view vouchers -
you'll find the details here.
Finally, a reminder that whilst Christmas Day may be behind us there's
still time to connect with your 'lost cousins' before the end of this
tumultuous year. This article
explains how easy it is to discover family historians who are researching your
ancestors! Remember, if you received an email telling you about this newsletter you're already a LostCousins member, so all you
need to do is log-in and get cracking!
© Copyright 2020 Peter Calver
Please do NOT copy or republish any part of this newsletter
without permission - which is only granted in the most exceptional
you MAY link to this newsletter or any article in it without asking for
permission - though why not invite other family historians to join LostCousins
instead, since standard membership (which includes the newsletter), is FREE? To
link to a specific article right-click on the article name in the contents list
at the top of the newsletter.