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Special Military History Exhibition at Who Do You Think You Are? Live

With 2014 marking the centenary of the  start of The First World War, the premier family history exhibition 'Who Do You Think You Are Live? has announced a special 'Military History' area on the Gallery Level of the show hall at London Olympia. The confirmed exhibitors include The National Archives, the RAF Museum, Belgian Tourist Board, BBC History and the National Army Museum. The event starts on Thursday 20th February 2014 at 9.30am and more details can be found at the Who Do You Think You Are? website  
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New event at The National Archives

The National Archives have an interesting free talk scheduled for Thursday 13 February, entitled 'Spies like us: the secret life of Ernest Oldham'. Presented by Dr Nick Barratt, author and TV presenter, the talk is of interest to anyone keen to find out about the past work of the security services and the files stored on their work at The National Archives. The security service files are held in 'series KV 2' and include fascinating details on many ordinary people, such as Foreign Office clerk, Ernest Oldham, who entered the world of espionage in the 1920s and 1930s, often with tragic consequences. There's more details available on the free talk from The National Archives website.

Ernest Oldham

The story of Ernest Oldham and the world of espionage

     
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Appeals against conscription records in WW1 go online

In this year that commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, The National Archives has released another set of records from The Great War.  The 'Appeals against First World War conscription' records have now gone online. The records are the case files of over 8,000 men who were appealing against conscription into the army between 1916 to 1918. The men applied to local military tribunals for exemption and if they were unsuccessful could then appeal to the county appeal tribunal. This new set of records cover the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal only and are classed in file series MH47.  More can be found at The National Archives website.

Conscription appeals records

New records released by The National Archives- 'Conscription appeals'

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Free talk this week at The National Archives

This Thursday, the 23rd January, sees a free talk from The National Archives entitled 'Your Country Needs You' looking at the recruitment posters of World War One, including the famous Lord Kitchener 'finger pointing poster'. The talk asks if this was the most successful recruitment poster or if there were other more effective recruitment messages and posters that worked to encourage thousands of Britons to join up. This talk draws upon official records from The National Archives to provide alternative and surprising stories. The talk is being given by James Taylor, former curator of the National Maritime Museum who also writes and lectures on maritime and military art and design. There's more information available from The National Archives website.

Kitchener talk from The National Archives

Talk on World War One recruitment posters and their effectiveness at The National Archives

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Join the online crowd outsourcing partnership

The National Archives have appealed for volunteers to help tag First World War unit diaries as part of their new 'Operation War Diary' outsourcing partnership with the Imperial War Museum. Volunteers are needed to record people, places and activities from the diaries as part of this major project. There are 1.5 million pages of war diaries from the British Army on the Western Front during WW1 which had been stored away in the archives. Volunteer help is needed to now reveal the stories of the men who fought in the Great War. If you have any spare time to assist you can sign up to the project here. The end result should be a great resource for researchers and family historians alike.

World War One war diaries

WW1 war diaries offer us a window into life in the Great War

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World War 2 RAF Casualty records now available to view

According to the latest news from The National Archives website, a collection of Second World War RAF casualty records has now been released to view. The records were produced by the Air Ministry's casualty branch following the loss of an aircraft or personnel. They include accident reports and correspondence with next of kin. Known as the AIR 81 series, the first tranche  contains 316 packs dating from the beginning of the war in September 1939 to May 1940. However, many of the files contain correspondence which runs into the 1950s and even the 1960s. This first collection of records does include some notable RAF raids from the early years of World War 2, such as the raid on the Albert Canal Bridges in Belgium in May 1940 when five aircraft from RAF No 12 Squadron were lost and the first Victoria Crosses of the war were awarded. There's more details at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/903.htm

New RAF Records released

New RAF casualty records released from the start of World War Two.

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New collections of papers received by The National Archives

The National Archives have just announced the receipt of a number of valuable collections received by the UK government in lieu of tax payments. Amongst the new collections are family and miscellaneous correspondence and early papers of the naturalist, Charles Darwin. Also received are correspondence, autograph collections, drawings and papers of Margaret Getty, the children's writer who died in 1873. The correspondence of the Acton family , Barons from the 13th to the 20th centuries has also been received. The National Archives have asked if any library, record office or similar institution in the UK is interested in obtaining the papers they should contact the Head of the Private Archives Team, Archives Sector Development, The National Archives. They can be emailed at: asd@nationalarchives.gov.uk for further information. The closing date is 28 February 2014.
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'Discovery' webinar date announced by The National Archives

This year, The National Archives announced 'Discovery' their new online catalogue, would become the only way to search online through The National Archives record collections. Many family historians were used to the previous 'Documents Online' system in place before Discovery so to help with any queries and to help people find their way around the new online catalogue, The National Archives have announced a webinar on the 20 January 2014. The webinar takes place from 14.00 to 15.00 hours UK time and will look at how to conduct searches, using keywords, filters and other useful features to help make the most of the 'Discovery' catalogue. It's hosted by Audrey Collins and if you'd like more information, please visit The National Archives website.  
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First 'accredited' archive services announced

The 'UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee' has announced the first fully accredited archive services:
  • Cumbria Archive Service
  • Exeter Cathedral Library and Archives
  • Media Archive of Central England
  • Network Rail Corporate Archive
  • Tyne and Wear Archives
  • Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Archive Service Acreditation is the new quality standard for archives services across the UK, developed in partnership with the archives sector and its stakeholders. It defines those organisations that maintain good practice and standards, including encouraging and supporting development. According to The National Archives, "it is aimed at organisations that hold archive collections, whatever their constitution, and covers both private and public sector archives. It enables archive services to review and develop their policies, plans and procedures against a UK wide standard which has been developed by the archives sector, identifying strengths of the archive service and providing a framework to improve areas of weakness." There's more available from The National Archives website.

Accredited Archive Service

The new Accredited Archive Service quality standard now being awarded

 
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'Explore Your Archives' campaign launched

A  new initiative was launched last week at The Houses of Parliament with a joint project by The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) and The National Archives  to raise awareness of archives, their value to society and the impact they have, every day, on individual lives. Clem Brohier, Acting Chief Executive of The National Archives, was joined by MPs, Lords, archivists, guests and campaign ambassadors at the parliamentary launch, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History. The campaign is aiming to encourage people to visit archives. So far,  hundreds of local, specialist and national archives across the UK and Ireland have been holding events, open days and exhibitions to showcase highlights from their collections. Caroline Williams, President of The Archives and Records Association remarked: "Public awareness of the role of archives is essential. Especially in the difficult times we find ourselves in. There are too many people who do not understand what an archive is or what an archivist does. We hope this campaign will bring many new people to an archive - in person or online." There's more details on the initiative at: http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/

Clem Brohier National Archives

Acting Chief Executive of The National Archives, Clem Brohier, introduces the new initiative

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