TNA Re-opening update: reading room bookings live from Monday 19 April
This afternoon The National Archives (TNA) sent out the following in an email. I am sure a lot of readers will be pleased about the news!
“In advance of our reading rooms re-opening on Tuesday 27 April, our new ‘book a visit to view our documents’ service will be live from noon (BST) on Monday 19 April.
We have developed this new service in response to visitor feedback. Seat reservations and advance document ordering must remain in place for now to help us manage our services in line with government and public health guidance. The new service will offer four weeks’ availability on a rolling basis, with new dates added daily. This means that, when it goes live on 19 April, you will be able to reserve a seat for dates between 27 April and 22 May (inclusive).
Our immediate priority will be to give access to as many people as possible and demand is likely to be high, as we have been closed for several months. We are therefore asking visitors to book a maximum of two visits in a rolling four-week period. We will keep this limit, and all of our arrangements, under regular review.
See our website for more details of the services that we will provide in our reading rooms from Tuesday 27 April, and read on for more details of the new booking service.”
News taken from TNA’s email newsletter 15 April 2021
The National Archives (TNA) have announced that they are increasing the access to the site at Kew. After welcoming back visitors into their reading rooms in July they are now able to expand their services and increase capacity, so that they can accommodate more visitors and give them greater access to TNA’s collections.
From Tuesday 25 August The National Archives will be opening up their second floor map and large document reading room, as well as increasing the number of seats available in the first floor document reading room. Visitors will also be able to order more documents each day (nine instead of six), and TNA will also have a small number of two-day appointments available for visitors wishing to research bulk document orders (between 20 and 40).
All visitors are still required to book their visit and order their documents in advance.
The National Archives report that their building and services will look very different to regular visitors, as they’ve been busy introducing a number of measures to ensure the safety of their visitors and staff. These include:
New booking system to help them manage visitor numbers – all visits have to be pre-booked without exception, with a limit of one visit per week, and all documents ordered in advance
New document delivery processes to protect visitors and staff, and to ensure that documents are quarantined appropriately
One-way systems and capacity controls in frequently used areas
Floor markers and temporary signage to help with social distancing
Rigorous cleaning during and at the end of each day
Easier access to sinks for hand washing and provision of hand sanitiser.
Due to a change in the law, all visitors will be required to wear face coverings during their visit.
In order to visit TNA they are asking everyone booking a visit to agree to a new coronavirus visitor charter, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help them ensure everyone’s safety. TNA will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as they will not be able to let you in. The National Archives are open from Tuesday to Friday, between 10:00 and 14:50.
While they are currently able to provide access to their first floor document reading room and second floor map and large document reading room only – their other facilities will remain closed, including the reference library, exhibition spaces, shop, and the cafés. TNA say they will also be unable to provide many of their other usual reading room services, including, access to microfilm and microfiche, research advice, record copying and access to the computers.
In the current times TNA say that they will continue to provide free downloads of digital records on their website for the time being, as they are initially only able to re-open for a very limited number of researchers. This, ofcourse, and all of TNA opening arrangements are under constant review.
The National Archives (TNA) will welcome visitors back into its reading rooms from Tuesday 21 July 2020 in the UK. At this time it will be offering a limited service to visitors, who will be required to book their visit and order their documents in advance. This is the start of the new normal for researchers while the country eases out of lockdown from the pandemic.
Using examples of records and case studies relating to both immigrants and emigrants held in The National Archives at Kew (U.K.) collection, this talk will explain how to search for and interpret records such as passenger lists, passports, registration and naturalisation records.
This talk will be delivered by Roger Kershaw, Migration Records Specialist at The National Archives in the U.K.
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.*
TheGenealogist has just released the maps and field books for the Westminster area into its exciting record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey. This new release can be used to find where an ancestor lived in 1910 to 1915 in the area around Westminster. This unique combination of maps and residential data held by The National Archives has been digitised by TheGenealogist so that researchers can locate where an ancestor lived. The maps are large scale and exceptionally detailed with hand annotations that, in the majority of cases, allow family historians to find the exact property in the street.
This release of Lloyd George Domesday Survey records covers Westminster and the area shown above
Researchers often have difficulty using modern maps to find where ancestors lived as road names changed over time, the Blitz saw areas bombed to destruction, developers changed sites out of all resemblance from what had stood there before and lanes and roads were extinguished to build housing estates and office blocks. As these records are linked to the maps from the period this means that you have the ability to find the streets as they existed when the survey was carried out and often pinpoint where the old properties had once been.
– Links properties to extremely detailed ordnance survey maps used in 1910
– Shows the original Field book giving a detailed description of the property
– Fully searchable by name, parish and street
Complementing the maps on TheGenealogist are the accompanying Field Books that will provide researchers with detailed information relative to the valuation of each property, including the valuation assessment number, map reference, owner, occupier, situation, description and extent.
This mammoth project is ongoing with over 94,500 Field Books, each having hundreds of pages of information on properties to digitise with associated large scale IR121 annotated OS maps.
The release this month covers the civil parishes of Brook, Bryanston Square, Cavendish Square, Church, Conduit, Curzon, Dorset Square, Dover, Great Marlborough, Grosvenor, Hamilton Terrace, Hamlet of Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, Lancaster Gate, Liberty Of The Rolls, Maida Vale, Pall Mall, Petty France, Pimlico North, Pimlico South, Portland Place, Portman Square, Queens Park, Regent 1, Regent 2, St Anne Soho, St Clement Danes, St John Westminster, St Martin in the Fields, St Mary Le Strand, St Paul Covent Garden, Westbourne and Westminster. More areas will be released soon for other London Boroughs and the county of Buckinghamshire.
*Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links. This does notmean that you pay more just that I make a percentage on the sales from my links. The payments help me pay for the cost of running the site. You may like to read this explanation here:
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.
I was asked to put together an article on Buckinghamshire Tithe Maps this week as TheGenealogist has added more Colour Tithe Maps from The National Archives to their National Tithe Records collection. With this release researchers can see the plots owned or occupied by ancestors that lived in this ‘home county’ at the time of the survey in the 19th century on colour plans.
The new data includes:
Over 40,000 Plots of Land covering the years from 1837 to 1855 with some much later plans of altered apportionments
Joining the apportionment record books and the previously published grey-scale maps
These tagged colour maps and their fully searchable tithe schedule records are from those held at The National Archives. The collection gives the family history researcher the ability to search by name and keyword (for example parish or county) to look for all levels of society from large estate owners to occupiers of tiny plots such as a cottage or a cowshed.
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.
I learnt quite a bit about black sheep ancestors this week while researching a convict who had served some time on a prison hulk anchored off Bermuda. My findings helped me to write the article for TheGenealogist at the end of this post.
The prisoner, that the story is about, had been convicted of his offence in England and then, being fit and healthy, was shipped out to the British territory to do back breaking quarrying and building work. He was housed on a convict-hulk and put to work in the construction of the Royal Navy’s dockyard on the island. After completing his sentence he was then allowed back to England. But he got into trouble again and was sentenced to a further period of Transportation for seven years. (To find out where he ended up you will have to read the article – it is probably not where you may expect him to be sent.)
I learnt from my research that many of our convict ancestors, who were sent to Australia, were never permitted to return – while those sent to the hulks at Bermuda were able to come home as long as they served the full sentence. The convicts on the hulks at Bermuda could, however, opt for a reduced sentence if they chose to go to Australia or South Africa. What they could not do is stay in Bermuda after their sentence and the option for South Africa, it seems, was not really available as when they got there they were refused entry and had to go on to Australia!
Here is the Press Release from TheGenealogist and the article link:
TheGenealogist has added 651,369 quarterly returns of convicts from The National Archives’ HO 8 documents to their Court & Criminal Records collection. Withthis release researchers can find the details of ancestors that broke the law and were incarcerated in convict hulks and prisons in the 19th century.
The new data includes:
651,369 Records covering the years 1824 to 1854
Quarterly returns from Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums
These fully searchable records are from the The Home Office: Sworn lists of convicts on board the convict hulks and in the convict prisons (HO 8).They give the family history researcher fascinating facts that include the particulars of age, convictions, sentences, health and behaviour of the convict, as well as which court sentenced them and where they were serving their sentence.
Read TheGenealogist’s article “Criminal records of convicts on the Hulks” at:
The National Archives, London, England have announced that they are opening up their prisoner of war (WW II) archives. These documents were transferred to The National Archives in December 2014. There are approximately 190,000 records of persons captured in German-occupied territory during World War II, primarily Allied service men (including Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, British and Allied civilians and some nurses. There are also cards for American, Norwegian, Chinese, Arab and Cypriot origins.
The new collection (WO 416) also includes several thousand records of deceased allied airmen whose bodies were found near their downed aircrafts. While these airmen were never prisoners of war, these records act as records of death.
The records are cards—some persons have up to 15 cards, but most have only one or two. It is not catalogued by name of individual for privacy reasons as some may still be living. The National Archives has started to catalogue the entire series and they have opened the records for those who were born more than 100 years ago or if they have proof of death.
For those records that have not yet been digitized you can order the records in advance for when you visit the Kew ( The National Archives) or you can request a quotation for a copy to be sent to you. The price will vary depending on the amount of copying. When you click on the name of the person you are researching , click on details. There you will get a transcription of information they have plus the option to order in advance or request a copy.
This week the initial tranche has been released, as you can see from the press anouncement that follows.
TheGenealogist has released the first part of an exciting new record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey – a major new release that will find where an ancestor lived in 1910. This unique combination of maps and residential data, held by The National Archives and being digitised by TheGenealogist, can precisely locate your ancestor’s house on large scale (5 feet to the mile) hand annotated maps that plots the exact property.
Researchers often can’t find where ancestors lived as road names changed over time, the Blitz saw areas bombed to destruction, developers changed sites out of all resemblance from what had stood there before and lanes and roads were extinguished to build estates and office blocks. All this means that searching for where an ancestor lived using a website linked to modern maps can be frustrating when they fail to pinpoint where the old properties had once been.
TheGenealogist’s new release will link individual properties to extremely detailed ordnance survey maps used in 1910
Locate an address found in a census or street directory down to a specific house
Fully searchable by name, county, parish and street.
The maps will zoom down to show the individual properties as they existed in 1910
Complementing the maps on TheGenealogist are the accompanying books that will also provide researchers with basic information relative to the valuation of each property, including the valuation assessment number, map reference, owner, occupier, situation, description and extent.
This mammoth project begins with the first release of the IR91 Index with subsequent releases of the more detailed IR58 Field Books planned. There are over 94,500 Field Books, each having hundreds of pages to digitise with associated large scale IR121 annotated OS maps.
The initial release from TheGenealogist is for the City of London and Paddington maps with their index records. Future releases will expand out across the country with cross linked maps wherever they are available.
Mark Bayley, Head of Development at TheGenealogist says:
“With our English & Welsh Tithe Map collection, we’ve become known for our map based records and this new collection makes a fantastic later addition. The maps show an incredible amount of detail, allowing you to zoom right in on the hand annotated property. The records that go with these maps are just as detailed, allowing you to find out all manner of information about your ancestral home.”
The National Archives issued the following statement:
“The Lloyd George ‘Domesday Records’ form essentially a census of property for Edwardian England and Wales. The innovative linking of individually searchable property data with associated annotated Ordnance Survey maps will be of huge value to family and local historians alike.”
I’m just back from a flying visit to The National Archives at Kew.
Every time I visit TNA I get something out of it and today was no exception! I discovered the delights of records that are not available anywhere else to search.
I went along to research several different lines of enquiries, one of which was for an ancestor of mine who had given his profession on his son’s baptism as ‘tide waiter’. This is a type of customs officer who waits for the ships that come in on the tide and then checks them for contraband or goods that are subject to duty. He was in one of the census as a Customs Officer and has appeared as this in some family notes I received from a distant cousin.
My initial research using the Discovery search engine on www.nationalarchives.gov.uk had me confused. A few minutes with the help desk staff on the first floor reading room, however, pointed me towards the microfilms of the CUST 39/3 that are the records for the establishment at the different ports – basically the Staff Lists with details of staff employed by the Board of Customs.
I was able to spool forward to Plymouth, where my man was based and where in the 1851 census he was recorded as a Customs house officer. So if he had been a tidewater then his name would have been entered into the list of the Plymouth establishment. Alas, he was nowhere to be found which backs up my developing theory that he was an ‘Extra Gent’ (not on the establishment) customs officer and that he, or someone else, may have exaggerated a bit on his son’s baptismal record!
I then ordered up some Customs minutes books (CUST 28/199) and looked at any mention of Plymouth and names of Customs officers there. What I came away with was a much better understanding of the records and how, if you are lucky enough to find your ancestor mentioned you can build a fair bit of colour to your family story. This would especially be true if your Customs Officer got himself into trouble. One of the original 1850s ledgers that I was able to thumb through was the Outport Records: Charges against Officers (CUST 66/217).
I didn’t find my ancestor mentioned in the book, but for those researchers who are able to find a forebear then it will be of great interest to them. The thick leather bound books with heavy bluish paper provide a fascinating insight into the discipline proceedings. The various cases are often recorded on the page verbatim. You can thus read the question asked by the Surveyor of the man before him and the answers given by the accused Tide Waiter. At the end you will find the verdict of whether the Customs Officer was to loose his job or not. All of which is written in the neat handwriting of a clerk from 167 years ago.
None of these records are digitized and so it is another example of why a visit to TNA can allow you to get to see records that just aren’t available elsewhere. So while I do a lot of my research online I always enjoy getting out to The National Archives, or a County Record Office, every now and again to delve into those records that are in their safekeeping but not digitized.