Your Archives logo

Update: 30 September 2012
Your Archives is now read-only. We are no longer accepting new registrations, nor are we accepting new (or edited) content.
The content will be available in the UK Government Web Archive. Please read our announcement for further information.

Help:What can I do here?

From Your Archives

Jump to: navigation, search

Have a browse or search for something

Your Archives is here to allow you to find out more about historical records at The National Archives and elsewhere. You can browse or search content submitted by other users.

Register for an account

If you want to submit information to Your Archives, you must first register. We only require minimal information - your name and email address and a unique username which, as a courtesy to fellow users, should resemble your real name.

Try editing an existing article

Your Archives is based on wiki technology, which allows users to edit and create pages directly from their browser. You may wish to start by making a minor change, such as correcting the spelling of a word. Go ahead and try - you'll soon see how easy it is. You can practice in the Sandbox.

Contribute information about records

Check out what sort of information you can submit to Your Archives. Find out how to edit a page or create a new one.

Basic dos and don'ts

  • Do feel part of this community and feel free to contribute what you have learnt from archival records
  • Do edit articles where they need to be corrected and clarified
  • Do contact us if you want to suggest improvements to this site. You can also leave suggestions at Your Archives:Next steps
  • Do feel free to visit The Lobby to discuss a variety of editorial and technical topics
  • Do make time to study our full terms and conditions of use
  • Don't be discourteous or rude to other contributors - treat everyone the way you would wish to be treated yourself
  • Don't supply information which is not in your own copyright or for which you do not have a licence from the copyright owner
  • Don't supply conjecture and unsubstantiated opinions. This site is about the historical evidence supplied by archival records.
  • Don't use Your Archives as your personal webspace, a blog or a social networking site

What can I contribute?

Going digital

Your Archives is a site created for and by The National Archives' users. You are encouraged to submit articles about historical records held by The National Archives (TNA) but please do not submit articles if they are not your own original work or if you do not have a licence from the author or other copyright owner of the work. Articles must not be defamatory and must not infringe any English law (see Terms and conditions of use for more on this).

Note that articles don't have to be finished straightaway - you can start a page and add more later; others may join in.

If you make factual statements please cite the source as this will help others to check what you have written and help them with their own research.

If you get stuck check out the help pages and if you want to practice have a play in the Sandbox.

We hope you enjoy being here. If you have any questions or ideas on how we can improve Your Archives please post it in the Lobby.

Start a new article

Start a new page about a person, place, subject, business, regiment, ship or event etc you have researched using records from TNA. Please remember to cite your sources and not to copy anyone else's work.

Write about a particular document to improve the Catalogue

One way you could contribute is by expanding upon a Catalogue entry. For example, this entry for PROB 31/615 greatly expands upon the existing entry in the Catalogue.

Develop DocumentsOnline

You could publish a transcription of one of the documents available in DocumentsOnline. See for example this transcript of a will proved in 1596 which links through to the reference to the will in the index.

Expand on the National Register of Archives

You could submit further information about individuals, businesses or organisations found on the National Register of Archives. For example, this entry on Alexander Caseby, missionary expands upon the information already available. Has a business been taken over or changed its name? Have you come across some papers which are not currently noted on the National Register of Archives, or where the location is currently unknown, such as FH Dunn & Son Ltd, architectural metal workers? If so, you can contribute what you know on Your Archives.

Help other users with research guidance

Alternatively, you could contribute to the research guidance available to users by expanding and updating one of the National Archives' Research Guides. Remember that you don't have to add the information to the page directly, but could create a new article linking from it. For example, the research guide on First World War soldiers' records includes references to the Household Cavalry and other regiments. If you know something about the history of a unit, why not create a new page by turning the reference into a link and adding your knowledge to the new page.

Use it as a workbook or resource guide

As you read documents summarise the contents which will help other researchers looking for similar information. You can do this by expanding upon a single Catalogue entry or by listing sources on a particular subject. For example the article on Olaudah Equiano lists sources held by TNA relating to him. Have you have found other sources held by TNA or by other archives which can expand this list?

Collaborate on research projects

Because Your Archives is a website which you can edit you can work with other researchers to share sources. Contribute to existing projects or start a new one.

Improve Your Archives

There are many articles in Your Archives which could be improved for example

  • Wanted pages appear as red links - these are pages for which someone has created an internal link but as yet no-one has written anything
  • Short pages and stubs are only a title or only a line or two of text - these could be expanded to say something about the subject
  • To help people browse you could help categorise the uncategorised articles and uncategorised images
  • There is a series of housekeeping categories where moderators and users have identified articles which could be improved by merging duplicate articles, expanding abbreviations, adding sources, and expanding on the content etc