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52 Ancestors: Week 20 – Cousin Bait

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing …. I could blame my University course, but term finished a month ago. I have just been doing other things. Hopefully this will be the first of a flurry of blogs and I will catch up.

Cousin Bait generally means leaving information online which will lead unknown cousins to make contact. Cousins, whether first cousins, or more distant, share ancestors and will therefore be researching some of the same people. Research can then be shared and collaboration is possible. In some ways this blog, when I write about specific ancestors, is cousin bait. If you do recognise someone I’m writing about then I would love to hear from you.

Cousin bait isn’t something I have been very good at, but I am slowly starting to leave a trail for people to be able to contact me. I have a tree on Ancestry, it is not as up to date as I would like, and doesn’t show all my sources. Once I have completed a review of my offline tree I plan to upload it to Ancestry to replace what I have there currently. I do check Ancestry for messages regularly and have made contact with some cousins that way. I wrote last year about receiving copies of some letters written by my great grandfather. I would not have seen those had it not been for the tree on Ancestry.

Another technique that I use is to leave memorials on Find-A-Grave. For example my 3rd great grandmother Esther Ellis’s grave in Brassington, Derbyshire. Anyone else looking for her on the website will see that I have a connection and can make contact.

There is one website specifically designed for contacting cousins. It is simple, yet brilliant. This is the Lost Cousins website. Since I heard the founder Peter Calver speak at a Society of Genealogists event in May I have begun adding my ancestors to it and would recommend that all genealogists do so. Identifying our ancestors on the 1881 census allows us to find and collaborate with distant cousins who are researching the same people.

One reply on “52 Ancestors: Week 20 – Cousin Bait”

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