National Records at the PRO
by Phil Westwood
This article will look at National Records kept at the Public Record Office, Kew, London and the British Newspaper Library, Colindale, London.
There are other smaller specialist centres where National Records are kept
but these two Record Sites are an absolute must if you are planning a
research trip to the UK.
The Public Record Office at Kew is an impressive modern building with a vast
store of archives kept in over 100 miles of shelving. Many documents are
very old, some over 1,000 years. It is likely that your Ancestors will
feature here somewhere.There are a vast range of records here the most
heavily accessed being military records. Others include legal records,
records of emigration / immigration, changes of name, police records,
debtors / bankrupts, prisoners of war and many others. To see more of the
vast array of records visit the on line index at
Most of the records are original documents - parchment, paper or bound
volumes although an increasing proportion of records are available on
microform.Very few of these records are on line and a personal visit or
hired researcher is necessary.
The British Newspaper Library at Colindale, London has the largest
collection of newspapers in the UK and Commonwealth from the early 18th
Century onwards. Magazines and periodicals are also kept.
Most newspapers are not indexed making research more challenging... or
frustrating. However a determined researcher can find a gold mine of
information. From the mid 18 th Century Newspapers in an Ancestral area
should be searched for birth, marriage, death,burial & divorce notices,
lists of bankrupts, criminals, property sales, etc.
The Times national newspaper has been indexed from the 18th Century onwards.
The Newspapers Library on line catalogue will now search for Newspapers by
title, place of publication or distribution and date. See
<< Atlantic Crossings
U.K. Parish and Non Conformist Records
British Wills and Probate Records
Civil Registration System
Philip Westwood runs a genealogical service enabling Americans and Canadians to research their English Ancestors.
For more details view his profile.