31 August 2010

LostCousins is free this week

Until Sunday 5th September 2010, the LostCousins site is completely free. You can contact any relatives you are matched with even if you only have free standard membership. Ask your fellow family historians to spread the word, because the more people who use the site, the more likely you are to find someone who is researching your family.

LostCousins is probably the only web site that identifies (with virtually 100% accuracy) people who share the same ancestors. You do not waste time corresponding with people who are not related to you.

To use LostCousins you need to find your relatives in the census for England & Wales 1841, 1881 or (a recent addition) 1911, Scotland 1881, United States 1880, Canada 1881 or Ireland 1911. Then you enter the source/page details at LostCousins. Read their instructions (see 'Information - Read this first') before gathering and entering data, as requirements for each census are different. If you prepare well, entering the data is a lot quicker. Be sure to include brothers and sisters of your direct ancestors, because it is their descendants who are the 'cousins' you want to contact.

After entering some relatives, click 'Search', and the system checks whether someone else has entered identical data. Remember to log in periodically, go to your 'My Ancestors' page and click 'Search' again.

21 August 2010

CuriousFox (Follow Friday)

CuriousFox, http://www.curiousfox.com/, is a gazetteer and message system that connects family and local historians. Every town and village in the UK and Ireland has its own page. (I have not personally used the USA version.) Things I like about CuriousFox include:

  • Exact map locations and historic maps.
  • Finding relevant entries is easier because you search at town/village level.
  • You can search for 'nearby' entries.
  • It is easy to edit or delete your entries.
  • People will also find your entries via Google searches.
  • No spam (the system sends messages between members; no email addresses are visible).
  • Free to join, add entries, and search by village or surname.
  • Advantages of being a paying member (£5.50/year) include: you can contact and be contacted by all other members (free or paying); you can receive email alerts when people add entries for towns of interest to you; and you can list the URL of your Web page or blog.

  • Give some thought to the wording of your entries. They should be concise, with surnames in capital letters. Specify dates, and use appropriate punctuation.
  • For large towns with many entries and multiple pages, I delete my entry every year and immediately resubmit it (updated if necessary) so that it reappears near the top of the list. I did this recently, and within 24hrs a local historian contacted me and offered to send transcriptions of land records for that surname/town!
I hope you will try Curious Fox and share your success stories.
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('Follow Friday' is a theme used by Geneabloggers.)
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