20: Coming to grips with FamilySearch, WEA
Centre Adelaide, 10:00am to 1:00pm
See the seminar program
for more details and bookings.
Adelaide Proformat's office is closed from 11 Dec until 27 January.
successful family historian follows two strategies to facilitate a
successful research program. Following the paper trail is a significant
one but this article addresses the other, often more important research
In pursuing cousins, a researcher is opening up new avenues of information.
We all descend from individuals in a multitude of families and some
of those individuals, simply because of their circumstances, may have
become custodians of family knowledge and/or artifacts that they in
their turn passed on to one of their family and so on down to the
present. It is therefore quite possible, even probable, that a distant
cousin may hold this knowledge or artifacts. In fact the more remote
your cousin is the greater the chance they hold the information you
So finding your elusive cousins is the key to successful family history
researching… but the question is:
Who are your cousins?
There are tables to help you through this dilemma but it is really
To determine a relationship between two persons involves counting
the great/grands in the relationships between the common ancestor
and the cousins. To do this:
1. find the common ancestor and determine the relationship of that
person to each person under consideration.
2. if the person under consideration is in the same generation, you
count the great/grands in the relationship to the ancestor. Therefore
if the two share a great great grandfather (three greats/grand) they
are third cousins.
3. if the cousins are in different generations, then you have a "removed"
situation. You again count the great/grands in the relationship to
the common ancestor.
• The lower number of great/grands
is the type of cousin.
• The difference between the two
great/grands count is the removed number.
Therefore in relation to the one ancestor if one person under consideration
is a great great grandchild (three greats/grand) and the other is
a grandchild (one great/grand)—the lower number is one and therefore
they are first cousins and the difference between the pair is two
and thus they are first cousins twice removed.
5 Windana Mews
Glandore SA 5037
Tel: +61 8 8371 4465
Fax: +61 8 8374 4479
• Drafting charts
• Locating documents
• Seminar presentations
• Writing & publishing
• SA lookup service
• Ship paintings
Adelaide Proformat uses
Genealogist - for UK census, BMD indexes and more online simply because it contains quality data checked by experts.
Proformat News acknowledges the support by
that proved too confusing then here is a simple chart…
Some clarifications are needed:
1. Half cousins are persons who share only one of the ancestor couple.
2. Spouses are related only by marriage and not by kinship.
3. If there are no great/grands in one of the relationships, you have
an aunt/uncle or nephew/niece relationship.
do you find your elusive cousins?
You need to advertise your interests widely using family history media,
family history society magazines, commercial journals, and name lists
on the web including mail lists.
LostCousins works to bring people together who share the
This site compares information entered by visitors about their ancestors
and compares it with information entered by other members.
The matching process is based on 1881 censuses of England, Wales and
Scotland and while further additions are promised currently many of
us may be locked out because they have no links into the 1881 Census,
Visitors can register on the site for free.
They do not put people in touch with each other without the consent
of both parties. They also explain that the more names you enter,
the better your chances.
The 1881 Census has errors and so LostCousins have provided
an Index of Incorrect Surnames compiled by members who have already
searched for names. There is also an Index of Maiden Names from the
Genes Reunited has developed out of the Friends Reunited
web site and already lists over 58 million people. It is a free site
and if you register you can use it as a host for your personal Family
Tree or GEDCOM site. Genes Reunited is owned by ITV and also
manages the 1901 census site on behalf of The National Archives.
Genes Connected is also associated with this site. Register
your details and start to build your own family tree. The site managers
work hard to ensure all material presented is from genuine family
historians. Recently the author received a posting from a malicious
user with a false profile from their site and on advice, the material
was pulled from the web site with 24 hours and all recipients of the
material had been advised accordingly by replacing any existing messages
sent by this person in members' mailboxes with some red text to explain
that this was a false profile.
Adelaide Proformat was the very first to have an online surname
listing here in Australia. The site started in January 1995 and has
continued ever since. It now covers Australasia, UK & Ireland
supported by GENUKI, North America and the former British colonies
in southern Africa. Although struggling to compete against subscription
sites, the site remains completely free of charge and with no advertising.
Family Tree Connections
For many years, the leading family history magazine for all Australia
has maintained surname interest listings for Australian readers and
a full summary can be seen at their web site. Just click on the link
Surnames at the top left.
The author numbers the Rootsweb site as one of the top sites
to assist in progressing family trees and the part of that site that
is most useful in this pursuit is the mail list section. It is an
easy process to follow. Step 1: Locate the Mailing List button
in the menu as illustrated below.
2. When the new page opens for the first time, ignore all the material
and go straight to the browse link as marked below.
Step 3: The new page lists all the topics covered by Rootsweb
mail lists and for this exercise you want the Surnames section which
is clearly labelled. Locate the surname mail list of interest to you
and browse (see 1 on the illustration below) to see if anything of
interest to your research has already been posted. If you want to
respond then you need to subscribe. Even if you find nothing then
a subscription and posting your interests may produce positive results.
Opt for the digest version (marked 2 on the illustration below) rather
than the email version as you will get far fewer emails and the digest
version has a useful summary. If and when you wish to move on, unsubscribing
is equally simple.
you find a cousin what do you do next?
If you initiate the contact with a remote member of your family then
you need to observe some etiquette.
• be diplomatic.
• seek permission to use material of a private
• use email or letters rather than the telephone
• communicate in the recipient’s language.
How to do this will be the
topic of a future newsletter.
• ensure the following when writing...
- introduce yourself.
- be tactful when asking questions.
- resist asking for too much information
in your first letter.
- pay for return postage - an
incentive for a reply.
- offer to pay for out-of-pocket
- prepare a set of specific questions
in a form that requires minimal effort by the respondent.
What if a cousin finds you?
In dealing with people you need to recognise that they may have their
Apart from misunderstandings and/or poor memories…your family
informant may be influenced by:
• the need to retain some respectability.
• the desire to remain youthful.
• a tradition or myth passed down through
• a yearning to be associated with the famous.
• a lack of understanding of historical context.
Family history is a major endeavour and should not be undertaken lightly.
Many pursuing their own family history lack the skills required to
be effective researchers. These very same people seem to hold the
skills to ensure their findings get onto the Web and into other publications.
Therefore pursuing your own family history demands objectivity and
a preparedness on your part to accept less than pleasing or accurate
information. Many researchers are not sufficiently detached from their
subject. Consequently much data you will find lacks credibility and
most will have no sourcing or supporting information and therefore
you should confirm all the information you receive.
The basic principles one should observe in this aspect of research
Never assume anything.
• Be objective and do not let emotions and preconceived values
get in the way.
• Widely advertise your research interests amongst appropriate
• Understand the need to corroborate facts with at least two
independent sources wherever possible.
• Record your sources clearly and concisely.
• Evaluate your findings in the light of the reliability of
unsubscribe send a blank email via the following link using the same
address you subscribed to: