Navigating TNA’s Website

Our December meeting was a talk on navigating the website of the National Archives of the United Kingdom by Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.. The handout from the talk is published here by permission of the author.

What is TNA?

TNA is The National Archives of the United Kingdom. It is the official archive and publisher for the UK government. TNA was formed in the early twentieth century by merging four entities—the Public Record Office, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, and the Office of Public Sector Information.

TNA’s website—www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

On the home page

Check out links to social media (Twitter, Facebook, and more), info on visiting, blogs, podcasts and videos, free e-newsletter, image library, bookshop, and featured items. There are links near the top of the page to “Explore our records” (research guides, digitized collections, Discovery catalogue) and “Education.”

Note the red button at the top labeled Menu. This button appears on every page and provides an easy way to navigate within the site.

Education resources

Access these from the Education link on the home page or from the red button menu.

While these are primarily designed for teachers and students, family historians will find lots of interesting material organized by time period, as well as Documents of the Month useful for learning about English history and providing context for English family research. Don’t miss the “Starting your research” and “Working with records” guides in the “For students” section.

Help with your research

Access this from the Explore our records link on the home page or from the red button menu.

Do not miss the “Start here” page (access from the yellow “Start here” link at the top of the page)! Explore “What we have,” “What we don’t have,” “What’s online,” “What’s not online,” “What are archives?,” and “How to use archives” for brief videos and research primers. It won’t take long to explore these, and you’ll find them very helpful.

Scroll down to find links to research guides, keep scrolling to find online exhibitions, other research tools, and links to blogs, podcasts, and webinars. Continue scrolling to find guides to reading old documents, another link to “Start here” resources, and guidance on citing sources.

TIP: Read the research guides for record groups you use or want to learn about! There are guides for records TNA does not hold–for example, birth, death, and marriage records–as well as for records in TNA collections.

TNA has many digitized collections available on its website you can search from the associated research guide.

Discovery catalogue

Access this from the blue Discovery box at the top of the home page or from the red button menu.

You can search online, digitized collections, collections not digitized, and collections in other archives. Use Discovery help to learn how to search and filter results.

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