50 Family History Websites to Watch 2020: Part 3 (L – P)

By Guest, 10 January 2020 - 11:31am

50 Websites to Watch 2020

Welcome to Part 3 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 L–P.

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, on sale now!


Lancashire Archives

Lancashire Archives aims to have complete probate indexes for the Diocese of Chester by spring 2020. Volunteers are indexing casebooks from Prestwich Asylum and registers from Preston Prison.

Last Chance to Read

Expect new issues of the Police Gazette, 19th-century volumes of habitual criminals, newspapers dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and early Dublin directories among this site’s scarce content.

Layers of London

The maps team will delve even further back into the past and spread into Greater London with the help of material from local administrative archives, as well as such crowdsourced mapping projects as #MapLondonPubs.

Merchant Navy history The National Archives
Merchant Navy crew men c.1905 (Credit: Science & Society Picture Library/Getty)

The National Archives

The Project Alpha research team at The National Archives in Kew is hoping to build and test a prototype for a new website. Its approach is to envisage what it would create if starting from scratch, and during the year it will be exploring prototypes with “new technologies” and simplified “user journeys”.

Meanwhile, a crowdsourcing project to transcribe data from the Ecclesiastical census returns of 1851 will continue into 2021. Elsewhere, teams are cataloguing railway incident registers and the online catalogue will have improved descriptions of merchant seamen on Navy ships during the Second World War.

National Jazz Archive

The National Jazz Archive’s newly redesigned website makes it easier to explore digitised books, journals, magazines, periodicals, newsletters, photos, oral histories and interviews. The parent archive has material on jazz, blues and related music from the 1920s to the present.

National Library of Scotland

The headline news from the NLS map team is the intention to publish online more than 40,000 maps every year for the next five years. The priority for 2020 will be Scotland, moving on to maps of England and Wales. Within the next six months, the aim is to add fire insurance maps of Scotland, showing urban premises and owners in the late 19th century.

National Library of Wales

Users can now search Cardiganshire Great War Tribunal (Appeals) records on the National Library of Wales’ site, thanks to the work of 200 volunteers recruited via a new platform for delivering crowdsourcing projects. The volunteers transcribed more than 10,000 pages over six months.

Norfolk Archives
Red Cross nurses tend to the fisher girls of Yarmouth (Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Norfolk Archives

Early next year, Norfolk Archives will be adding indexes to registers of nurses at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital from 1900 to 1928 and Jenny Lind Hospital from 1889 to 1921. These will join recently added marriage licence bonds from the Norfolk Archdeaconry, Dean and Chapter Peculiar and Great Cressingham Peculiar collections from 1704 to 1886, and records from the 1903 Norfolk county schools survey.

North Lanarkshire

2019 has seen the publication of approximately 230,000 Poor Law records via Ancestry, as well as the creation of this new website featuring stories, digitised objects, and images and records relating to North Lanarkshire.

Parish Chest

The online genealogy shop was taken over by the Family History Federation, then taken down because of technical issues. The federation is rebuilding Parish Chest to fit within its “new corporate image”, and it hopes that a new version will be up and running in early 2020.

The Poor Law

This project throws fascinating light on a relatively untouched source – receipts gathered by parishes whenever they purchased goods and services for the poor from 1700 to 1835. The site currently features all sorts of case studies generated from projects covering Staffordshire, East Sussex and Cumberland. There are also plans in the pipeline for a searchable online database.

Prison History

Look out for Prison History’s new material on lock-ups (structures for short-term confinement). It has records on more than 700 sites, focusing on Wales, Scotland and Ireland. There will also be new case studies, ‘how-to’ guides, tours and short films, the first looking at different prison systems in the UK.


Look out for tithe applotment records (1823–1837), listing occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre, and Belfast Corporation photographs, showing properties that may have disappeared.




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