Category Archives: National Archives

New Chief Executive at The National Archives

The National Archives has this week announced their new Chief Executive, Jeff James, has now started his new role.

His official title is ‘Chief Executive and Keeper’ and his previous experience at The National Archives will no doubt be invaluable in his new role. He has previously been Director of Operations and Services at The National Archives, involved in a variety of tasks from managing customer relations to the development and delivery of public services.

More details on the appointment of Jeff James can be found on The National Archives website. 

The National Archives
New Chief Executive at The National Archives

 

Latest free event at The National Archives

The National Archives have announced a number of talks and events, many of them free over the coming months.

With the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War,  there’s a free talk  on the 5th August 2014 at 2pm entitled: “The Royal Navy and British Army Go To War:  Mobilisation and their Roads to War 1914.”
This talk will discuss what happened to the Royal Navy and the British Army between the end of July and the end of the first week in August 1914, how the two services were mobilised for war and what records The National Archives holds and what the records tell us.

The speaker will be William Spencer, the Principal military specialist at The National Archives. More details including how to book a place on the event can be found at The National Archives website.

 

The Friends of The National Archives reaches membership milestone

Founded in 1988, the Friends of The National Archives has recently reached its 2014 target of achieving over 1,000 members.

The Friends of the National Archives is a voluntary organisation and registered charity, dedicated to supporting the TNA’s role in preserving and providing access to the nations records. The Friends also get involved in voluntary project work to assist The National Archives.

If you’d like to know more or are interested in becoming a member, more information can be found on The National Archives website.

User Forum at The National Archives

If you’re keen to find out what’s happening at The National Archives and to have your say, next Saturday sees one of the eight User Forum meetings at The National Archives. The Forums take place at The National Archives at Kew and last for approximately one to one and a half hours.

There’s more information available (including a full meeting agenda) at The National Archives website or for more information please email user.forum@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

Future meeting dates are:

Saturday 17 May 2014, 12:30-13:45

Thursday 17 July 2014, 15:15-16:30

Wednesday 20 August 2014, 12:30-13:45

Thursday 16 October 2014, 12:30-13:45

Tuesday 18 November 2014, 17:30-18:45

Thursday 22 January 2015, 12:30-13:45

Tuesday 17 February 2015, 15:15-16:30

The National Archives to store government social media records

The National Archives have announced they will begin to archive tweets and You Tube videos previously published by UK central government departments.

According to TNA, the UK government social media archive contains over 7,000 videos that date from 2006 to early 2014 and over 65,000 tweets from 2008 to September 2013. It covers some major events in our recent history, including: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympic Games, Budget announcements and the formation of the Coalition government following the general election in 2010.

The aim is to permanently preserve them as official public records, for future generations to no doubt read what life was like, as we family historians do now! There’s more information at The National Archives website.

 

Social media records
Social media records of central government to be stored by The National Archives

Appointment of Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives

The National Archives have announced a new management appointment  this week.  Catherine Lee, Director General of Law and Access to Justice in the Ministry of Justice, has today announced that Jeff James has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives.

Prior to his current role at the Chartered Institute of Housing, he was Director of Operations and Services at The National Archives for nearly six years. In this time he was responsible for leading the development and delivery of public services; overseeing The National Archives’ estates and assets; managing customer relations and maintaining service excellence.

He will take up his new post on the 29 July. More information can be found at The National Archives website.

Webinar places available at forthcoming TNA event

The National Archives’ record specialists are presenting free webinars, focusing on different series of records and the research skills that you will need to make the most of them. It’s a great free way of understanding some of the varied records available to view at The National Archives.

The next webinar is on the 12th May at  4pm, entitled ‘Why did people fear the Victorian workhouse?’ This webinar will help you to explore records in The National Archives, showing what life was like inside the workhouse, and how it was viewed by those outside. It’s presented by Paul Carter, specialist in modern domestic records.

If you’d like to view the free webinar, there are places still available . Book now by emailing webinars@nationalarchives.gov.uk or there’s more information at The National Archives website.

 

 

Top secret MI5 files now available online..

For those family history researchers interested in tales of the underground world of secret espionage, The National Archives has announced the release of over 150 top secret MI5 files. The records are to be made available online for public viewing for the first time. The MI5 files date from around the time of The First World War and are part of the programme from the TNA to commemorate the centenary of the start of The Great War.

The files contain a wealth of material about organisations and individuals involved in espionage or under surveillance during the period of the First World War. It details the secret history and the agents operating in a time of war.

Some of the agents listed in the records include the famous British nurse, Edith Cavell who helped Allied soldiers to escape from behind enemy lines and Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer who was convicted of spying for Germany and was subsequently executed by the French authorities in 1917.

There’s more information available from The National Archives website.

Mata Hari wartime spy
Mati Hari, one of a number of spy records now available online

 

7 ways to demolish your family history brick walls

7 ways to demolish your family history brick walls

Family history research is a rewarding and addictive hobby. However, we all reach a point when get stuck or hit that genealogy ‘brick wall’. At this point, it’s helpful to consult text books, visit family history society talks and also spend some time looking at the popular family history forums frequented by fellow family historians only too happy to offer help and advice.

Using this external help, I managed to discover 7 new  techniques that helped me break down some difficult brick walls in my family history research. They may help you in your search.

1.      A missing marriage record

Looking in numerous sources I could not find the marriage records for ancestors in the 1700s  in my family tree. I was advised to take a look at the ‘Fleet Marriage’ record sets. Known as record set RG7 from The National Archives, they cover over 800,000 clandestine marriages conducted by unscrupulous clergy around the Fleet debtor’s prison near London. Covering the years 1667 to 1777,    it covers over half of the marriages in London at this time.

2.      County boundary changes throwing us off the scent..

Areas of England and Wales have undergone numerous county boundary changes over the years and it can throw us family historians off the scent. I was trying to trace an ancestor in the village of Cradley in Herefordshire. After struggling locating the whereabouts of my ancestor, it turns out in various census records, the village, moved between Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire through boundary changes!

3.      Overseas BMD records

Looking beyond the Civil Registration records helped open a few doors for me too. The National Archives overseas records can offer a great deal of record sets that can maybe help us track down that missing ancestor. There were 3 record sets I found useful, firstly RG33- Overseas BMDs of British Subjects (covering the years 1627 to 1960), this also included Lundy Island in Devon! RG32 covers Prisoners of War and Civilian Deaths overseas and finally RG34 which details foreign marriages including during World War 1.

The General Register Office (GRO) also have a number of overseas records including Marine & Army BMDs, Air Births, Informal certificates of births at sea and Consular BMDs. These records are also well worth taking a look at. I found TheGenealogist.co.uk particularly useful for records in this area.

4.      A nonconformist ancestor..

If you’re struggling to find an ancestor in the parish records, it’s worth looking at other religious denomination records that may provide the details of an ancestor you’ve been looking for. I discovered an ancestor (fortunately!) in the Quaker records of the nonconformist registers from The National Archives (series RG6). The record not only recorded immediate family from the wedding but the whole congregation!

  5.      Finding missing relatives using street search

As many of our ancestors often lived close to each other, it is worth taking a look at street names to track down a missing ancestor, you just may discover ancestors you weren’t aware of living in the same street! I discovered new ancestors in a search using the Street Search on www.TheGenealogist.co.uk

6.       Family forename search

Using TheGenealogist website I was able to discover a selection of ancestors that had previously been eluding my best search efforts. They had moved away from their original family home and I was able to track them down using the Family forename search- inputting the first names of the family (they had a common surname of Smith), the website narrowed down my search and discovered them in the 1891 census in Grimsby!

 7.       Will Records

Will records are a great way of discovering more information about your ancestors that can really break down those brick walls. Many will records offer comprehensive details of our ancestors lives, what they achieved, how much they were worth, who they favoured in their immediate family and who would gain the most from the will. They can be fascinating documents and can explain a period in time in your family history you previously knew nothing about.

What techniques have you used to break down brick walls? Let us know in the comments box below. 

Interesting events to attend at The National Archives

There’s a number of both free and ticketed events scheduled at The National Archives  this week. On Thursday the 27th March, there’s a free talk entitled ‘We may lie and die in a land of plenty..’- the Victorian poor in their own words. This talk looks at pauper letters, statements and petitions highlighting the concerns, thoughts and feelings of the poor in their own words.

On the Friday, television broadcaster Jeremy Paxman explores what life was like for the British during the First World War, from politicians to newspapermen, Tommies, factory-workers, nurses, wives and children. Cost for this talk is £5.

For more details and to see the other talks and workshops available, go to The National Archives website.

The National Archives
Latest events at The National Archives