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April 1, 2009

Finding English ancestors in the National Archives UK

I've been enjoying searching the National Archives website The National Archives is the official archive of the UK Government and they hold over 10 million records.

I've discovered that you can search the archives, then order records of interest if an ancestor's name appears. For example I searched for my King and Dawson ancestors who lived in Suffolk England in the late 1700s, early 1800s. Lo and behold I found 6 very interesting records, including a Bastardy maintenance order served on my 4th great grandfather James King in 1792. The order was for the maintance of a child of Hannah Blandon, single woman - who later married James and became my 4th great grandmother.

Depending on the record you find, you can order it online through the National Archives or you order it from whatever archives has it in their possession. In my case the Bastardy order is housed in the Ipswich Record office, and a clickable link was provided to their website. I wrote to the email address provided and asked for the records. It took several days but I received a reply quoting me a cost (very reasonable) and two forms to fill out and mail back.

I spent several hours last week searching this amazing resource and plan to go back tonight to search for more English ancestors.


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for that, made me feel a little more confident about heading to the archives. I've got no real excuse as I live in London, and I've been wanting to go for a while but the thought was a little daunting - I will check out the site more before I go, that way I'll know more about what I'm looking for. Thanks - and I hope I find something as interesting as what you've found!

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Very interesting find. I know I'll never get to England but this seems to make my search within reach. I'll give it a try.

francella said...

If you can go to Kew in person then register online first for a reader's ticket (it doubles as a copy card to print stuff out in the reading room, very useful!), or at TNA but if you register onlin efirst you'll have longer to spend there on the day! I can only recommend it, it's a fabulous archive.
If you can't go in person: you can also search the 'Documents Online' (e.g. for a will, and many other types of records) - then you can order a pdf file to be emailed to you for a very reasonable fee.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Thanks for the tip Francella. Not living in England makes the visit to Kew seem unlikely but maybe one day! Right now I'm really enjoying searching the website and am eagerly waiting for my first set of ordered records!