50 Family History Websites to Watch 2019: Part 4 (O - R)

By Guest, 22 January 2019 - 2:37pm

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Welcome to Part 4 of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine's 50 Websites to Watch feature for 2019.

This page contains details of the next ten resources on our alphabetical list, covering websites beginning with letters O - R.

You can browse the full list of articles at the 50 Websites to Watch homepage

If you can't wait to start bookmarking, the full list also appears in our January 2019 issue!


Old Scottish

The website has lots in the pipeline for 2019, including Scotland-wide School Leaving Certificate Examination records, starting in 1908; an updated asylum index to the next volume of the General Register of Lunatics series (1915–18); and records from the Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland.

Our Criminal Ancestors

The site has a range of material covering police, victims, offenders, prisoners and prison staff.

In 2019 it will be adding records relating to low-level offenders.

There will also be articles from regional archivists talking about their criminal collections, as well as features on individual institutions.

Peterloo 2019

The Peterloo Massacre took place on 16 August 1819 in St Peter’s Field, Manchester, when cavalry charged a crowd demanding parliamentary reform.

A programme of work from Manchester Histories and the People’s History Museum is underway to commemorate the bicentenary.

As well as a host of events in the city, a new website will “place users in the setting of Peterloo”. 

Peterloo massacre Manchester 1819
15 protesters were killed in the Peterloo Massacre at Manchester, August 1819 (Credit: Culture Club/ Getty)

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Online resources developed to mark the centenaries of the 1918 Representation of the People Act and the end of the First World War include: a mapping application, exhibition and digitised diaries exploring the history of suffrage locally; an index to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital war casualties register containing names of more than 700 soldiers treated between 1914 and 1916; and digitised absent voter registers for the counties of Armagh and Derry/Londonderry, including an index of about 8,500 names and regimental information for those on military service.

‘How to’ videos that explain using the Historical Maps viewer and valuation revision books applications will be available shortly, and PRONI continues to add talks to its YouTube channel.

Railway Work, Life & Death

Working on the railways was one of the most dangerous occupations of the early 20th century.

This Portsmouth University and National Railway Museum project details accidents to railway staff, including who was involved, where, when, what happened and why.

At the moment about 4,500 cases are freely available from the website, along with lots of other resources about railway work and safety.

In 2019 volunteers will be adding roughly 7,500 more cases from the period between the wars, as well as continuing work on a further 35,000 covering the late 19th century to 1930.


Next year the website will upload civil birth, marriage and death records from the counties of Antrim, Wexford, Sligo, Cavan, Offaly and Clare, as well as more additions that staff are not yet ready to announce.

They also plan to add new features designed to make data much easier to search.

Irish ancestors Sligo
An old woman spins yarn, Sligo, c.1908 (Credit: The Print Collector/ Getty)

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

This new website from TownsWeb Archiving launched at the end of November.

Users can search and study digitised documents and photographs from the historic archive, which links to a database of surgeons containing more than 19,000 records dating from 1505 to 1918.

Users are able to purchase digital downloads.

Royal Military Police Museum

Curator Richard Callaghan started work on the Redcap database in 2011, and it is finally due to launch in March 2019.

Thanks to volunteers, the database holds information on 24,500 soldiers serving before 1920, and 81,000 who served between 1921 and 1950, which comes from various sources including order books that detail the routines of the corps from its formation in 1855 to the beginning of 1919.

Another volume details about 4,000 men who were serving in the Military Police when the Army underwent a renumbering system in 1921.

Richard says: “These volumes give more personal details including place of birth, trade, age on enlistment and discharge information.

"Three seniority rolls provide information on the Military Mounted and Military Foot Police before 1912.”

The website will launch with full records and photographs pre-1930, and partial records (name, rank, number and unit) post-1930.

Royal Scots Association

The association’s website has all sorts of information about the history of the regiment and its predecessors, including an innovative First World War roll of honour that went live at the end of 2018.

50 Family History Websites to Watch 2019: Part 3 (K – N)
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50 Family History Websites to Watch 2019: Part 5 (S - Z)
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50 Family History Websites to Watch 2019: Part 3 (K – N)
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50 Family History Websites to Watch 2019: Part 5 (S - Z)
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