BEST WEBSITES TO AID YOUR RESEARCH
The West Sussex Record Office site ( www. westsussex.gov.uk/leisure- recreation-andcommunity/history-and- heritage) was relaunched in March this year with a more intuitive and tablet-friendly layout, plus updated content and a better search function.
There’s also www.westsussexpast.org.uk, which serves as a portal to a number of useful sites, including the WSRO catalogue ( www. westsussexpast.org/searchonline). This contains more than 350,000 descriptions of documents and photographs, sometimes with associated indexes. The wages books for servants of the Petworth House Estate, for example, have been indexed and the names are included on Search Online.
The Keep site ( www.thekeep.info/ collections/online- resources) is home to a combined catalogue and online ordering system, allowing you to check if particular documents have already been booked out to someone else. They plan to improve the tagging of the catalogue, create new parish pages, and hopefully introduce an image download facility.
Other useful sites include the Friends of East Sussex Record Office ( fesro.org), theweald.org, the Sussex Record Society ( sussexrecordsociety.org), and the East Sussex WW1 project ( eastsussexww1.org.uk).
The Phoenix Ironworks in Lewes was a major employer from the 19th century through to the 1970s. And while the ESRP holds very few employee records, there was a Heritage Lottery-funded project to collect memories and photographs ( www.lewesphoenix.org).
Neither East nor West Sussex record offices have agreements in place with the likes of Ancestry or Findmypast, although some Sussex pre-1914 school admission registers have just launched on findmypast.co.uk/ school- registers.
Finally, don’t forget the Sussex FamilySearch wiki which is found at familysearch.org/ learn/wiki/en/ Sussex_Genealogy.