I was doing a search on the National Archives new Discovery search engine to see what I could find on my dad’s time in the Merchant Navy during World War II.
One hit was for his seaman’s pouch, R271022 THORNE J B 20/05/1925 PAIGNTON DEVON and it indicated that I could see the document for free at The National Archives. Now it did say that I would need a Reader’s Ticket to do this and as it has been quite some years, since I last went to Kew, my old one had expired.
So I figured that I would take a trip to Kew in Richmond, get registered for a new Reader’s Ticket and see what the document revealed.
The process of registering for a reader’s ticket requires you to bring two forms of ID one to prove your address and another to prove your name. You also have to do a short tutorial on the computer that educates you about the correct handling of their documents and a multiple choice questionnaire. It certainly isn’t something to worry about and if you get the answers wrong the computer shows you the correct answer before you move on.
Once I was registered, had my photo taken and issued with my shiny new card I went to order the documents and some others that may refer to his service record.
While the TNA website says that with a reader’s ticket you can order the record to be available for when you arrive or you can just order the record when you arrive there is a slight problem.
With these sort of records if it is not your own then it has to be looked at by a member of staff and national insurance numbers and other “data” have to be redacted in a copy that would be made of the document and this process would take some time as there were not enough staff to do it immediately.
As it turned out by the time I had to leave Kew the copies had not been brought up and so I left The National Archives without seeing them and providing my postal address for the staff to post it on to me.
So just a warning that this is the policy of TNA and I may post again when I get the photocopies in the post should there be anything of interest to family historians in them.
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