50 Family History Websites to Watch 2020: Part 4 (R – W)

By Guest, 20 January 2020 - 3:06pm

50 Websites to Watch 2020

Welcome to Part 4 of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine's 50 Websites to Watch feature for 2020.

This page contains details of the next 10 resources on our list, covering websites beginning with letters R–W.

The remaining websites will be revealed over the course of January as four separate articles, available to access from the 50 Websites to Watch homepage.

If you can't wait to start bookmarking, the full list also appears in our January 2020 issue


Railway Archive

This revamped treasure trove of Great Central Railway material produced by Leicestershire’s county archive team now includes a Route Map feature, enabling users to search along the route and find images for particular areas.


Roughly 140,000 records have been uploaded to the Irish ancestry website this year, including almost 80,000 church and civil records from County Clare. More church and civil records will be added in 2020, along with census substitutes from a number of counties including Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Cavan and Wexford, and almost 5,000 emigrant letters, mostly from the USA. There are also plans to add a new podcast section.


The Royal Dragoon Guards

This TownsWebArchiving project is due to launch in 2020 with searchable regimental histories and magazines, oral histories, photos, War Diaries and maps.


Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

This pay-per-view service is currently going through a mobile-friendly update. New content will include 6,000 pages of nominal rolls (1842–1973).

Royal Navy Records

The Royal Navy Records team is hoping to add two more batches of records over the course of 2020. The site hosts 25,678 records to date – about a fifth of the total – and the project is due to be completed by the end of 2021. You can take part in transcribing records for the site on Transcription Tuesday on 4 February.

Royal Navy Records


Early in January 2020, images of statutory birth records for 1919, marriage records for 1944 and death records for 1969 will be available on the ScotlandsPeople site. There are plans to add more valuation rolls and church records, and preparations for the release of the 1921 census in 2021 will continue.

Next year also marks the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, one of Scotland’s most important artefacts. To celebrate, National Records of Scotland is putting the document on public display for the first time in 15 years. You can see it in the National Museum of Scotland from 27 March to 26 April.


Scottish Indexes

The Scottish ancestry resource aims to double the number of its records in 2020, focusing on Scottish court and Poor Law material. It also plans to expand its free Learning Zone.

Society of Genealogists

Society members will be able to click through from more catalogue entries to digital images in 2020. Over 800 books were added in 2019, and more will arrive in 2020, including poll books and directories. The society will also digitise more documents and special collections, and add to its Indian material online.

Somerset Archives

Indexes to First World War records, probate inventories, workhouse records and ordination papers will soon be available, thanks to volunteers.

Surrey History Centre

Poor Law indexes are coming to this local history site, as is an index to prisoners whose cases were heard at Surrey quarter sessions and assizes (1912–1918). Surrey in the Great War continues to expand with 80,000 indexed references to newspaper reports.

The Women’s Suffrage project has also resulted in an index to more than 11,000 Surrey people identified in newspapers. Ancestry is planning to publish East Surrey Regiment’s First World War recruitment registers, along with outstanding parish registers.

Emily Davison death
The death of suffragette Emily Davison at the Epsom Derby, 1913 (Credit: Culture Club/ Getty Images)

The Trafalgar Way and 1805 Club

The 1805 Club is home to all sorts of useful content for family historians, not least the updated Trafalgar Rolls database.

The club is powering The Trafalgar Way project, commemorating the 271-mile route whereby the first Trafalgar Dispatches were brought to London in 1805. In 2020, it plans to launch ‘Nelson and Trafalgar and Me’, where people can share family stories connected to the battle.

War, State and Society

This fascinating new digital collection hosts thousands of documents from 11 government departments, each responsible for dealing with and reporting on the domestic situation during the Second World War.

West Yorkshire Archives Service

The team plans to extend its tithe map website to include Leeds and environs, and volunteers are transcribing the diaries of Anne Lister – the inspiration for the BBC drama Gentleman Jack.



Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

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