Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday – www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Britain’s National Archives is an amazing resource for genealogists. Using the URL above, go to the site.  You know you are there if you see a red capital “A” logo. Let’s take a tour of the homepage and also note that the Arcives do not hold the BMD records, but you can click to the appropriate sites to order then from this page.

Three large colored squares dominate the homepage; from left to right: ‘education’, ‘records’, ‘information management’.  Below them are two lists named ‘Latest News’ and ‘Quick Links’.  The second choice under Quick Links is ‘Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates.’ Clicking it will get you to the sites where you can order BMDs from England/Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The next row contains three choices; Pod Casts, Sign-up for the enewsletter, and Bookshop. I’d recommend signing up for the newsletter. It comes once a month and brings good articles about their collection.

Nearer the bottom of the page you will find a list of links in the categories of Getting in Touch, Site Help, About Us and Websites. The last link under Websites is another way to find out how to order BMD certificates; directgov.  Click here to go to www.direct.gov.uk, then click ‘Government, Citizens and Rights’; then ‘Registering Life Events.’
Note that the last line gives the Archives famous address in Kew, a London suburb, and its phone number: The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, phone +44 (0) 20 8876 3444 (Not modified for use from the United States)

Of the three main options at the top of the page, choose ‘Records.’  To the right side, there is a list with the choice, “Discovery – our new catalogue. “ I typed in “Norfolk Brett” for a county and an ancestor’s name and got long lists of court cases, probate cases and World War I medal winners. The second choice on this list is “The Catalogue” which seems to give more guidance on how to search and should either be consulted  first or if the initial search in “Discovery” doesn’t pan out. 
In the “Records” section you can get help understanding the archives – reading old handwriting, learning some Latin, converting currency and citing National Archives documents. When all else fails, there is a list of professional researchers for hire.

©2012, Susan Lewis Well

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