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The very latest news from the world of genealogy



JFK File digitised by The National Archives

To mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F Kennedy, The National Archives have digitised the British Government's reaction to the events in 1963 and made it available online. The file, known as 11/4582 includes the draft statement prepared for then Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home in which he told the nation: "You have heard the dreadful news. I find it almost impossible, as I expect you do, to accept the fact that President Kennedy is dead." The file also includes the telegram messages from The Queen and former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to President Kennedy's widow. There's more information available from the TNA website at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/891.htm
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Final set of colonial administrative records to be made available by The National Archives

Latest news from The National Archives is the final set of records relating to' colonial administration' will be available to view in the reading rooms at the TNA from Friday 29 November 2013. Within this new release are records from Malta, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, West Indies and many other countries. The National Archives have been working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to transfer and release these colonial administration records. The material reflects events in the territories generally (pre-independence from Britain) and Her Majesty's Government's views at that time. If you had an ancestor or relative living or originating from these countries, the new release of records may be a useful read to find out more about life in that country at that particular point in time. There's more information available from The National Archives website at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/890.htm
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New delegates needed for The National Archives

The National Archives are currently seeking four new delegates for their 'User Advisory Group' . The User Advisory Group was set up in early 2011 to give users of The National Archives the opportunity to have a say in the planning and decision-making processes. Meetings are held at The National Archives in Kew, four times a year, and delegates are expected to make every effort to attend. In addition, prospective delegates are asked to commit to a minimum term of one year's service. They are after delegates representing different sections of the research user community, so if you use the services at Kew, you may wish to get involved and have your say. For more information go to the National Archives website at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/881.htm
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New education resources at The National Archives

The National Archives has just announced a new range of online resources for teachers and students for the new school year to further develop an interest and knowledge of the past.  There are five new collections of digitised documents and images now available including 'Life on board convict prison ships' and 'attitudes to crime and punishment' as well as looking at pictures, news and documents to explore 'life in Victorian Britain'. If you'd like to know more or want to see the other digitised collections available, there's more information from The National Archives website at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/878.htm
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New website from The National Archives now live

The National Archives have recently announced their new website is now live and fully operational. With a significant change in design, according to their publicity, The National Archives have styled their new website to cater for the increase in visitors accessing their site from mobile devices. 20% of their visitor traffic in particular is now using the website from mobile devices.

The National Archives official statement is "The new design represents a shift in our thinking and a shift in the changing needs of our audience."

If you haven't seen the new look website it can be found at http://nationalarchives.gov.uk

Let us know what you think.

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The National Archives to launch new look website

There's a new beta version available to view on The National Archives website of their 'new look' forthcoming website, available from the end of September. In the word of the TNA -  "the new design will improve the experience of users on modern devices including smartphones and tablets. It will also include a new expanded menu, enabling quicker access into content, and be presented in simpler and clearer page layout." Take a look at http://beta.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ and see what you think.
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Files from 1983 released to The National Archives

Latest news from The National Archives features the release of hundreds of UK government files from the year 1983, to the TNA, as the government begins the ten year transition to a '20 year rule', down from the previous 30 years, for transfer and release of files and information. The National Archives website states that two years' worth of government records will be released every year until 2022 and files from 1984 will be released by December.  The latest files detail the end of Mrs Thatcher's first term in office as victory in the Falklands War helped propel her to a second successive election triumph in June 1983. There are files on the US-led invasion of Grenada which was one of a number of foreign policy challenges that year. There was also the arrival of American cruise missiles in Greenham Common amid a general deterioration in East-West relations. There's more information available from The National Archives website.
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Take a look at 'a year in archives'

What's been happening at The National Archives can be seen in their new communications release entitled 'a year in archives 2012-13'. To find out what's been going on in archive services all over the country over the last year and to see future plans go the National Archives website. From funding to community archive heritage projects, it's definitely an interesting read.
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Domesday Book joins UNESCO register

Latest news from The National Archives is that eleven items have been selected from the UK's libraries, archives and museums to represent our outstanding heritage in the UK Memory of the World Register. From Domesday Book to Hitchcock's silent films, these valuable works span nearly 900 years, come from across the country and embody pivotal moments in the history of the UK. This is the third group of inscriptions to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register, an online catalogue promoting some of the UK's exceptional documentary riches across the world. The 11 items and collections being inscribed to the UK Memory of the World Register are:
  • Domesday Book - The National Archives, Kew
  • Tyne & Wear Shipyards collection - Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, Newcastle
  • Aberdeen Burgh Registers - Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen
  • Hitchcock's silent films - British Film Institute National Archive, London
  • Churchill Archives - Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge
  • The Haig Papers - National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Scottish Royal National Institution archives - University of Stirling, Stirling
  • Dorothy Wordsworth's journal - Wordsworth Trust, Cumbria
  • Thomas Hardy Archive - Dorset County Museum, Dorchester
  • London bomb damage maps - London Metropolitan Archives, London
  • Robert Stephenson and Company archives - National Railway Museum, York
There's more details available from The National Archives website.
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New competition for budding filmmakers from The National Archives

The National Archives via their website are inviting aspiring filmmakers to take one of their suggested 'documents' and make a short film about it . The competition, supported by the friends of the national archives, is aiming to encourage filmmakers to use the diverse collection of documents and pictures available from the TNA as the inspiration for an original feature .   Ten documents from the archives, ranging from the floor plan of a 19th century lunatic asylum to a West Indian view of life in post-war Britain, have been put online and entrants will need to use one or more of them as the starting point for a three-minute short film . it could be a character, a line, or the whole document - according to The National Archives website it is up to you to decide! For more information go to The National Archives website  for details on how to enter and closing dates .
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