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The very latest news from the world of genealogy



300,000 farm records going online with The National Archives

The following news is written by The National Archives:

The National Archives is delighted to announce that we will digitise the National Farm Survey (MAF 32 and MAF 73) in full, thanks to a generous grant of £2.13 million from Lund Trust.

The 1941 National Farm Survey is one of the most comprehensive records of land that we hold in our collection and is a window in time on the UK’s agriculture and land use in the middle of the Second World War. Containing extensive data on over 300,000 English and Welsh farms, the survey is among the most-requested record series at The National Archives.

Currently, the complex filing of the paper record makes it difficult for readers to order and use, with the records only available in physical copy. This project will digitise the series in full and create a new digital cataloguing arrangement to make each farm searchable online.

It will not only make the survey permanently and freely available, but will also improve its accessibility and searchability.

Genealogists, family and local historians will be able to consult the series for their own research, and the project will lay the ground for new analyses by historical economists, geographers and ecologists.

Jeff James, CEO & Keeper of The National Archives said:

“This is a unique opportunity to realise the potential of what was seen as a ‘Second Domesday Book’, a ‘permanent and comprehensive record of the conditions on the farms of England and Wales’. Thanks to this partnership, the National Farm Survey, an enormous database of land ownership and land usage in mid-20th century Britain, will be freely available online to researchers in the UK and globally.”

Andrew Wright, Director of Lund Trust said:

“The National Farm Survey was born out of a wartime need decades ago but still has much to teach us about the land. We are pleased to support making these records accessible to help people in England and Wales to know their local areas better and aid scholars researching our rich agrarian history.”

The project began in October 2023 and will finish in March 2027, with teams from across The National Archives working on the conservation, digitisation, transcription, cataloguing, and publishing of the records. More information about the project’s progress and first image release will be published later this year.

About The National Archives

The National Archives is a non-ministerial government department and the official archive for the UK government, and for England and Wales. We look after and make available to the public our collection of historical records dating back more than 1,000 years, including records as diverse as the Domesday Book and MI5 files. We are also a cultural, heritage and academic organisation which promotes public accessibility to iconic documents while ensuring preservation for generations to come.

Lund Trust supports work that greens people’s lives in the UK and also gives to other causes its donors especially care about. Since 2002, it has given more than £107m.

For more information:

You can find out more about the National Farm Survey in Explore the Collection, or by reading our Research Guide.


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The National Archives' events for Black History Month

The National Archives is promoting Black History Month on its website: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/black-history/

TNA's collections span 1,000 years of difference, debate and progress as they say:

"Created from the perspective of state and empire, we hold important records that bear witness to past injustice, and the long and continued fight for racial equality."

The National Archives are playing their part in finding greater ways to make their significant records more accessible.

Help with your research using The National Archives

The National Archives research guide on black British social and political history in the 20th century is a useful place to start.

You can find further guidance in other research guides, such as social and cultural, political and economic, foreign and colonial, and family history.


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Historic Records and Maps for Oxfordshire Launched Online

Over 1,000 square miles of searchable property records have been released

Today sees the launch of a superb new resource for family historians, providing a great way to discover what type of property our ancestors once occupied. TheGenealogist has just added records covering every head of household and property owner in Oxfordshire around the period 1910-1915 with their latest release. Known as the Lloyd George Domesday Survey, the site now has over 2 Million records searchable online from this collection, covering all boroughs of Greater London plus Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and West Hertfordshire, along with the newly added Oxfordshire.


High Street, Oxford TheGenealogist’s Image Archive


The records were created when one of the most important government surveys took place in Britain as a result of David Lloyd George’s 1910 Finance Act. The Board of Inland Revenue Valuation Office Survey, or The Lloyd George Domesday Survey as the records have become known, is safely held by The National Archives at Kew. 


Following many years of collaboration between The National Archives’ conservation and records team and TheGenealogist’s digitization staff at Kew, the project to publish these records, comprising of the IR 58 Field Books and accompanying IR 121 to IR 135 Ordnance Survey maps, has now reached a major landmark.


This latest release of Oxfordshire records from The National Archives joins the millions of records in TheGenealogist’s powerful tool, Map Explorer™.


  • The Lloyd George Domesday Survey identifies individual properties on extremely detailed 1910-1915 maps, zoomable to the exact plot
  • The surveyors’ field books provide fascinating details about the house, often revealing the size and number of its rooms
  • Maps reveal the features of the neighbourhood in which an ancestor lived
  • Search using the Master Search or by clicking on the pins displayed on TheGenealogist’s powerful Map Explorer™ 
  • Historic maps are layered over modern street maps, allowing you to see how an area changed over time
  • The project will expand to cover the rest of England & Wales


Dr Jessamy Carlson, Family & Local History Engagement Lead at The National Archives, said:

“The Valuation Office maps are a key resource for house and local history, and this project is an exciting development for future research. Oxfordshire is an excellent addition to this growing set of online resources, and the variety of residences it covers reveals some fascinating insights into communities before the First World War.”


Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist, said:

“This release marks a major milestone in the Lloyd George Domesday Project, with now over 2 Million records available for family historians to search. These records enable genealogists and researchers to gain insights and reveal the intricacies of our ancestors' homes, gardens and property ownership.”


Oxfordshire is the latest release of TheGenealogist’s Lloyd George Domesday Records


Visit thegenealogist.co.uk/1910Survey for more information.


Read TheGenealogist’s article in which these records were used to find the property of Oxford resident William Morris: The Cyclist Champion who built a Car Empire



About TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, which puts a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations and Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

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National Archives blog that "the gloves are still off"

Back in 2013 The National Archives in the UK decided that it no longer required the wearing of white gloves during document handling. Now, in an update ten years on, they have set out their rational as to why the gloves are still off at Kew.

Check out their new blog post here: https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/handling-historic-collections-the-gloves-are-still-off/

Key points are that the "wearing gloves reduces sensitivity in your fingers, which can be problematic when handling fragile or already-damaged documents. Cotton gloves in particular can catch easily on torn or uneven edges, can transfer dirt between surfaces and do not provide a moisture-proof barrier, all of which can lead to further damage. Additionally, poorly-fitting gloves can make it difficult to handle large or heavy items safely, increasing the risk of accidental damage."


Online event

While on the subject of The National Archives, you may be interested in their online event:

Webinar ┃From Strangers to Citizens: Immigration and citizenship records

Join the TNA online for a fascinating webinar introducing you to and explaining records relating to UK immigration and naturalisation from the 1800s to the 1970s. This informative talk will give you vital tools to take away and apply to your own research.

This webinar is presented by Roger Kershaw, Head of Strategic Operations and Volunteers at The National Archives.

Tuesday 13 June at 14:00 - tickets from Eventbrite:



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TNA Webinar ┃Researching your family history: 20th Century sources

News from The National Archives (TNA)

Join The National Archives (TNA)'s experts as they introduce you to the key 20th century sources for family history, including the 1939 Register, and the census records.

You will learn how to maximise your use of these popular sources, setting you on your way to discover more about your family tree.

This webinar is presented by Jessamy Carlson, Family and Local history engagement lead at TNA.

Tuesday 16 May at 14:00



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Cabinet Office Files 2000-2002 release by The National Archives


The National Archives (TNA) has released almost 600 Cabinet Office files (PREM 49) that cover the period 2000-2002. Some 170 of which can be downloaded from Discovery on TNA's website

The newly released files shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad at the time when the government was led by Prime Minister Tony Blair. An example of the types of files that are being released include:

PREM 49/2352 USA. UK/US relations. This file contains a range of material in the wake of the US Presidential election in late 2000 and the victory of George W. Bush as the President.

Also included are files which cover the United Kingdom's relations with other countries including China, Japan, France, and South Africa.


Read more about the release in TNA’s blog: https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/stories-from-home-and-abroad-in-the-cabinet-office-file-release/


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Learn how to use The National Archives' Discovery

Using The National Archives' Discovery Catalogue | Webinar

Join Sarah Castagnetti, Visual Collections Team Manager at The National Archives (TNA) to learn top tips for using Discovery, The National Archives' online catalogue which allows you to download 100 free records a month. You will come away with all of the tools needed to make the most of the catalogue for your research, whether you are a new user or an experienced researcher.

This webinar will be delivered by Sarah Castagnetti, Visual Collections Team Manager at TNA.

Saturday 14 January at 10:30
Tickets from Eventbrite:
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The National Archives' latest On the Record Podcast is: 17th century witches

The history of trials in The National Archives collection

Episode one of TNA's latest On the Record podcast series, Trials, is now available to stream from wherever you get your podcasts. The series uncovers different stories to examine the history of trials, with episode one looking specifically at witch trials. 

Also its worth checking out TNA's blog post: Seventeenth century witches 


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The National Archives now open and offering greater access to collections

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.


Read the full post on The National Archives' website: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/coronavirus-update/

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The National Archives to reopen on July 21st 2020

The National Archives reopens:

The National Archives (TNA) will welcome visitors back into its reading rooms from Tuesday 21 July. 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.

It will be open from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 2.50pm. See https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/coronavirus-update/

Image: National_archives_2007_02_03.JPG:Nick Cooper at en.wikipediaderivative work: Harumphy / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)

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