Since this blog post was published, our website has been updated, and this text is out of date.
Please read this more recent post instead: Where do I start my research?
“Do you have my grandad’s Royal Air Force service record?”
“Can I do research on the Great Western Railway at The National Archives?”
“Are the records that I want available online?”
“Where can I find out more about the history of my village?”
Very often, the best place to find answers to questions like these will be one of our research guides. These guides are there to help you connect the person, place or subject of interest to you with relevant sources of information. They will tell you what relevant records are held at The National Archives and whether or not you can view them online. Many of them also mention important sources held elsewhere, and quite a few include some suggestions about how to make effective use of the catalogue and other search tools.
- Browse our research guidance online at nationalarchives.gov.uk/records
If you are already familiar with our website, you may have noticed that we have recently rearranged the guides to make them easier to find. You can explore groups of guidance on related topics or browse through an A-Z list.
If you want to do a flexible search of the guides, you can use the page for searching our whole website. Tick the relevant box to restrict your search just to our research guides.
- Tick the box to restrict your search to just the content of the research guides
Our research guides have a long history. Earlier versions of many of them were available as leaflets in our reading rooms long before we had a website and they have grown and changed enormously over many years. Although our collections of historical records are so vast that we cannot have a guide covering every possible area of research, there are now more than 300 guides. No doubt they will continue to evolve as we acquire more records, make more records available online and improve the content of our catalogue.
What next? If this inspires you, you can
Explore our research guidance for yourself
Browse research guidance from other institutions, such as:
- National Records of Scotland
- London Metropolitan Archives
- British Library
- National Archives and Records Administration (USA)
- Archives New Zealand
Learn more about using archives on the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections website