Saturday, April 7, 2007 may be useful

Have you checked out They have an interesting concept here - you enter your family members that are in the 1880 US, 1881 UK or 1881 Canada census, and they will tell you if you have a distant cousin who also have these people in their ancestry. They use those census records because they are free to access on the LDS site.

The potential benefit here is tremendous - it is probable that you don't know of these cousins, and they may hold vital information that could help you in your genealogy research.

The basic membership is free - the site says:

"Basic membership of LostCousins is free, and will remain so indefinitely provided that we can continue to grow through word of mouth recommendations. Not paying for advertising keeps our costs low, and enables us to offer free basic membership."

If you subscribe (10 pounds for one year), you can initiate contact with a lost cousin, benefit from extended matching, and access to member support functions. You can enter the code 1776 when you register and receive a free upgrade to subscriber status until 30 April 2007.

They have a Buddy system to help new members:

"The LostCousins 'buddies' give their time and make use of their knowledge and experience to help other members. This free service has already solved problems and provided new leads for numerous members - perhaps you could be next!"

They recommend that you input this data to the site:

* Don't just focus on one line - enter all your ancestors who were recorded in the censuses we support
* Enter blood relatives too, especially if they're living in a different household
* Looking back at earlier censuses will help you identify other relatives who you can then find in 1880 or 1881
* Encourage your friends and relatives to join - the more members we have the more matches there will be

The data that you enter for each person in the 1880 US, 1881 UK or 1881 Canada census includes:

From the census records:

* Census Film/Roll number
* Page Number
* Forename
* Surname
* Middle initial or name
* Age

From your own data:

* Corrected surname
* Corrected forename
* Corrected middle names or initials
* Corrected birth day/month/year
* Baptism date/month/year
* Maiden name
* Relation (direct ancestor, blood relative, etc)
* Certificates held - BMD

After you have entered your data for the direct ancestors and blood relatives in your database, then you can go to the "My Cousins" link and the site checks the available data to see if anybody else in their system has the same people. If they do, then you have found some Lost Cousins.

I signed up for a Basic membership - you fill out a form and receive an email with a password, then go back and Login (you can change the password if you wish). I used the code 1776 and am a subscriber for free until 30 April 2007.

I entered 8 of my ancestors, including several with English birth. The process is pretty simple - you fill out a form, submit it, and confirm it. You can correct it any time. You can see a list of all the people you have entered.

I clicked on "My Cousins" to see if any other member has submitted the same people to Lost Cousins, but I had no matches. I will add more persons later - I've only just begun!

I think that this site has tremendous potential, but it needs to reach a critical mass before it will be really helpful. That means that many of us need to use it and perhaps it will then help us.

Try it - you may get lucky and find a Lost Cousin or two.

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