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The National Archives hold the records of central government and the courts of law. It has one of the largest archival collections in the world with over 100 miles of shelving used to store its collection. It spans over a thousand years of British history from the Domesday Book right through to government papers recently released to the public.

From a family historian's viewpoint, the National Archives is the key repository for finding records related to ancestors who worked for the central government or served in the armed forces. Other National Archives collections of key interest to genealogists are those related to central government taxation (lay subsidies, hearth taxes, land taxes, death duties), pre 1858 wills proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, prison and other criminal records and nonconformist records of births, marriages and deaths.


National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU

  Telephone (020) 8876 3444
  E-Mail or use their website's contact form
  Opening Hours see Opening Times page within the National Archives website
  Entry Access you will only need a National Archives reader's ticket if you are consulting original documents - for details of what forms of identity you will need to take with you to obtain a readers ticket see Will I Need A Reader's Ticket ? page within the National Archives website
  Visiting Guide see Before you Visit page within the National Archives website
  Directions see Where to Find Us page within the National Archives website for a comprehensive guide on how to get to the repository by public transport and car - street map showing the location of the National Archives provided by
  Postal Research see Our Paid Search Service page within the National Archives website for details
  Summary see Research Guides page within the National Archives website for index to a comprehensive series of leaflets on the collections of records held at the National Archives
  Online Catalogue

Online Catalogue to archives of central government, courts of law and other national bodies (PROCAT) which can be free text searched

    Index to all 1 million plus wills that were proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) between 1384 and 1858 - digitised images of located wills can be downloaded for a fee
  Photocopying self-service and counter service for permitted documents
  Own Photos permitted - use of flash not allowed - tripods not permitted (camera stands provided) - no charge
  Microform microform reader-printer available
  Access Home Page
  Content Comprehensive on both visiting the archives and its holdings
  Navigation Satisfactory
This page last updated: 18 December 2015