Want to connect with kin you never knew you had? American genealogists can now tap into the British networking site LostCousins <www.lostcousins.com>. This pedigree-database-with-a-twist recently expanded its coverage into the United States.
Instead of uploading their GEDCOMs, LostCousins users enter relatives’ data from one of four censuses: 1880 US, 1881 Canadian, 1881 Scotland and 1881 England and Wales (all are available free online through FamilySearch <www.familysearch.org>). Then the site searches for others who’ve entered the same data so the submitters can contact each other.
LostCousins Webmaster Peter Calver says you’ll rarely get false matches, since everyone enters the same census data. By contrast, GEDCOMs aren’t standard, so pedigree sites return lots of names that might or might not be your relatives. Of course, you can’t use LostCousins if you haven’t found relatives in one of the four aforementioned censuses. Another drawback: If someone enters an ancestor’s information incorrectly, the site’s search engine won’t peg him as a match.