More great websites
You can explore tagged blog entries that detail some of Findmypast’s naval material via blog.findmypast.co.uk/tag/ royal-navy. Generated through partnerships with The National Archives, a great deal of the material covers the 20th century, but there are datasets that reach further back to the 19th century.
Other commercial websites with important collections include Ancestry ( ancestry.co.uk/cs/uk/military), which has the likes of Naval Medal and Award Rolls (1793-1972) and Naval Officer and Rating Service Records (1802-1919). The latter includes musters and pay registers.
Although our experts this month have already highlighted ageofnelson. org, it’s also worth mentioning that it has two useful databases of Royal Navy officers in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1793-1815) and the seamen and marines who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA), the American National Archives, The National Archives, the National Maritime Museum and various other partners have all contributed to the oldweather.org crowdsourcing project. Digital copies of ship’s logs are being transcribed here, and through the new whaling voyage sister site ( whaling.oldweather.org). Although the aim of the project is to record observations of weather patterns shown in the logbooks, it can also give you fascinating insights into life on the open waves. There’s a useful list of maritime and naval museums in Britain and Ireland at people.ds.cam.ac.uk/mhe1000/museums. htm, and Rock, Tempest, Fire, Foe is a database of UK shipwrecks ( www.shipwrecks.uk.com).
The pre-Second World War section of shipspictures.co.uk does include some very late Victorian vessels, but certainly the main focus is the 20th century. Meanwhile there’s also navyphotos. co.uk, a private collection of RN warships stretching back to the mid-1800s. Or you can explore the ‘Age of Sail’ section of militaryfactory.com/ships/age- of-sail.asp.
You can read about the history of the RN’s most famous ship via hms-victory.com/history. Other sites of note include Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ( historicdockyard.co.uk), navyrecordsonline. co.uk – the online arm of the Navy Records Society ( navyrecords. org.uk), the Imperial War Museums’ RN research guide ( iwm.org.uk/ collections-research/ tracing-your-familyhistory/tracing-yourroyal-naval-history/ where-to-findroyal-navy-servicerecords) and the World Naval Ships forum ( worldnavalships.com/ forums).
The Maritime and Naval Museums in Britain and Ireland website homepage