The National Archives websiteWhat is on your website?
Viewing and orderingHow much does it cost to view documents online?
ResearchWhere do I start my research?
Visiting The National ArchivesCan I visit The National Archives?
Online ServicesWhat is RSS?
The National Archives website
The National Archives website hosts a variety of resources for members of the public as well as professionals. Areas of interest include:
- Who we are
- Planning a visit to The National Archives at Kew
- Resources for schools
- Research guidance
- Searchable databases to help you find records held by The National Archives as well as elsewhere
- Services offered to information management professionals, including archivists and conservators
- News from The National Archives
- Shop services including our bookshop, record copying and our image library
- Opportunities and services for businesses
As the offical public archive of the United Kingdom government, we hold records covering more than 1,000 years of history. Government records which have been selected for permanent preservation are sent to The National Archives.
You can search descriptions of the records we hold in our Catalogue.
We have a large collection of digitised public records. Go to DocumentsOnline for online access to these records, including Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills, Cabinet papers and First World War medal index cards. Many other records can be viewed in our reading rooms at Kew.
The National Archives does not hold or issue copies of birth, marriage or death certificates. Go to the DirectGov website to order these certificates.
Military service records for the Second World War are kept by the Ministry of Defence: see the Veterans UK website.
Many records are kept in local archives and other organisations. These include:
- Parish registers
- Wills after 1858
- Personal papers and diaries
- Records of businesses, workhouses and schools
Viewing and ordering
Documents cost from £3.50 to download and view online.
Digitising records - we have over 167 kilometres of shelving of records - and making them available on the internet is an enormous task. We therefore work with partners to achieve our vision by participating in the commercial digitisation of genealogical and other records. Find out more about Licensed Internet Associates.
The record copying service provides copies of all material held by The National Archives. With state of the art digital scanning equipment, we can produce paper copies of records, as well as in a range of electronic formats.
The most useful sources for people who are new to archives are the research signposts. Searching the A2A database can identify documents held in local record offices, and the Moving Here website provides useful information if you have ancestors from overseas.
If you don't want to, or cannot carry out research yourself, you can pay someone else to do it for you, either from The National Archives or an independent researcher.
Visiting The National Archives
The National Archives at Kew is open to the public and free to visit. However, if you are coming as part of a group or school trip, you will need to book. To access original documents, you will need to bring two foms of identification and register for a reader's ticket.
You can order up to six documents in advance of your visit. Remember, you will need a reader's ticket to read original documents so bring two forms of identification with you.
RSS feeds provide summaries to subscribers of new content on a particular website, such as news articles and podcasts.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a video or audio file that you can download from the internet and play on your computer, mp3 player or mobile phone. On this site, you can subscribe to our free selection of podcasts and have them automatically delivered to your computer or, if you'd rather not subscribe to the series, you can download individual podcasts. Find more information on how to listen download and subscribe to podcasts.
You can use the comments, compliments and complaints form, write to us at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, United Kingdom, or you can call us on +44 (0) 20 8392 5363.
When you register, you will be able to sign in and visit your own 'MyPage'. Here, you can save information related your research on this website and you will also be able to see links to information that we think may be of use to you.
There are a number of different file formats and media players you can use to access content on this site. View a full list of plug-ins and file formats, and learn how to access them.