The National Archives

This is the official government archives of England, Wales and the United Kingdom. It is based in Kew on the outskirts of London.

Much material held there can be searched by the Discovery Catalogue (though note: this now by default also includes catalogues to many other archives around the UK; you must filter to only see what is available at Kew).


Sources on this website which are held at Kew include census returns for England and Wales, ‘PCC’ wills, death duty records, Court of Chancery proceedings etc., similar for the Court of Star Chamber and for the Exchequer, military records, …

If you are going to visit the National Archives it is worth looking at their research guides first.

The website also has lots of useful information for family historian regardless of whether or not you will be visiting Kew:


Reading old documents – which includes sections and tutorials on Latin, old handwriting and the combination of the two!

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