The National Archives in London has recently a number of microfilmed records online. Using the online versions is very similar to using the same microfilms in person at The National Archives or at any library that has a copy: you "crank" through the microfilms one image at a time.
The microfilms have not yet been indexed, so the only method of finding information on them is to manually search each image. In other words, using the microfilms online is the same as using them in a microfilm reader except that you don't have to go to a library or archive to use the films and the readers. You can stay at home and perform the same searches.
The digital images produce very large pages and some files can be up to 800 pages long so a fast internet connection is essential, as is a lot of hard drive space if you intend to save any images. If you have enough disk space and enough time, you can save entire reels of microfilm, all at no charge.
Quoting the TNA web site:
"If you are unsure which catalogue reference interests you, we would recommend searching the Catalogue. In most of our guides to the records below, we have included a link to the catalogue entry for each collection to help you with your search. When you are viewing the catalogue entry for a piece which interests you, click on the ‘View digital image’ or ‘Ordering and viewing options’ button and follow the instructions to download the item."
You can download the following Digital Microfilms:
ADM 10 Admiralty: Officers' Services, Indexes and Miscellanea
Additional finding aid: Indexes to officers' services held in ADM 9/2–81 and ADM 11/7–8.
ADM 13 Admiralty: Supplementary Records
Additional finding aid: Indexes to passing certificates for engineers held in ADM 13/200–205.
ADM 139 Indexes: Royal Navy Continuous Service Engagement Books
Indexes of the service records of ratings (not officers) who served in the Royal Navy between 1853 and 1872. You can also search and download the actual service records from DocumentsOnline.
ADM 142 Navy Board, Navy Pay Office and Admiralty, Accountant General's Department: Registers of Seamen's Wills 1786-1909
Indexes to Wills of Royal Naval Seamen 1786 - 1882 (ADM 48). The ADM 142 registers continue beyond the last recorded will in ADM 48. You can also search and download the actual Wills of Royal Naval Seamen 1786 - 1882 from DocumentsOnline.
ADM 171 Admiralty, and Ministry of Defence, Navy Department: Medal Rolls
Rolls and lists of officers and men of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines who were awarded or claimed medals and clasps issued to commemorate actions and campaigns. The series contains awards of the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914-1915 Star to men of the Mercantile Marine Reserve and to officers and men of the Royal Naval Reserve. The rolls recording the award of the Arctic Medal, 1875-1876; the Sea Transport Medal, 1899-1902; and the Delhi Durbar Medal, 1911, are included in this series.
ADM 175 Records of service of the Coastguard 1816-1947
ADM 175 consists of a variety of records relating to the Coastguard formed in 1822, by the amalgamation of the Revenue Cruisers and the Riding officers (both dating from the seventeenth century), and the Preventative Water Guard, which was set up in 1809. The records in ADM 175 range in date from 1816-1947.
ADM 188 Indexes: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services
Indexes of the service records of ratings (not officers) who served in the Royal Navy between 1873 and 1923 (ADM 188). The indexes are pieces ADM 188/245- 267 and ADM 188/1132-1177. You can also search and download the actual service records from DocumentsOnline.
ADM 196 Indexes: Royal Naval Officers' Service Records
Indexes of the service records of officers who joined the Royal Navy between 1756 and 1917 (ADM 196). The indexes are pieces ADM 196/7, 26-28, 33, 57, 129, 138-139 and 163. You can also search and download the actual service records from DocumentsOnline.
AIR 54 South Africa Air Force: Operations Record Books
Microfilm copies of operations record books of various operational and administrative units.
AIR 78 Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Department of the Air Member for Personnel: Index to Airmen and Airwomen
Index to airmen and airwomen’s service records held in AIR 79. The microfilmed slips contain name and RAF service number only This index is not 100% complete. The great majority of the original index slips were microfilmed, however there is a small number of random gaps, where a slip had been lost prior to filming.
CAB 21 Cabinet Office and predecessors: Registered Files (1916 to 1965)
A selection of registered files on various matters dealt with by the War Cabinet, the Cabinet and the Committee of Imperial Defence (post First World War).
CAB 25 Supreme War Council: British Secretariat: Papers and Minutes
Files and papers of the British Secretariat to the Supreme War Council
CAB 28 War Cabinet and Cabinet Office: Allied War Conferences and Councils Minutes and Papers (IC Series)
Papers of the IC (International Conference) series.
CAB 30 Cabinet Office: Washington (Disarmament) Conference, Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes and memoranda of the Washington Conference on Disarmament and on Pacific and Eastern questions held between November 1921 and February 1922, and its various committees, together with minutes and circulated papers of the British Empire Delegation.
CAB 31 Cabinet Office: International Economic Conference of Genoa, Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes, memoranda and other papers of plenary sessions of the Conference held in April and May 1922, of its commissions and sub-commissions, and of the British Empire Delegation to the conference.
CAB 34 Committee of Imperial Defence, Standing Defence Sub-Committee: Memoranda (SS Series)
Memoranda of the Standing Defence Sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence (CID).
CAB 37 Cabinet Office: Photographic Copies of Cabinet Papers
This series consists of a collection of photographic copies of memoranda circulated to the Cabinet to the end of 1916 compiled from various official and private sources. Includes material on the Reconstruction Committee.
CAB 38 Committee of Imperial Defence: Photographic Copies of Minutes and Memoranda
Photocopies of the numbered series of minutes and the memoranda (A to D series: Home Defence, Miscellaneous, Colonial Defence and the Defence of India) of the Committee of Imperial Defence up to 1914.
CAB 42 War Council and successors: Photographic Copies of Minutes and Papers
Photocopies made largely from the minutes and papers in CAB 22; but they are here arranged in chronological order, and contain also copies of the G series papers (from CAB 24/1-5) and copies of a few other papers from private collections which were circulated to these three committees. The original documents of which this series are photocopies are mainly in CAB 22 and CAB 24.
CAB 43 Cabinet Office: Conferences on Ireland Records
Minutes and memoranda of the Conferences on Ireland, 1921-1922.
CAB 50 Committee of Imperial Defence: Oil Board: Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes and memoranda of the Oil Board and of its various sub-committees.
CAB 51 Committee of Imperial Defence: Standing Ministerial and Official Sub-Committee for Questions concerning the Middle East: Minutes and Memoranda
This series consists of minutes and memoranda of the Standing Ministerial Committee for Questions concerning the Middle East, and the minutes and memoranda of the Official Sub-Committee.
CAB 53 Committee of Imperial Defence: Deputy Chiefs of Staff Committee: Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes and memoranda of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (including some memoranda of the Joint Planning Committee and of the Joint Intelligence Sub-committee) and one volume of papers of the Sub-Committee on Seaborne Land Attack on the British Isles dated 1930.
CAB 54 Committee of Imperial Defence: Deputy Chiefs of Staff Committee: Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes and memoranda of the Deputy Chiefs of Staff Committee (DCOS).
CAB 55 Committee of Imperial Defence: Joint Planning Committee: Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes and papers of the Defence Committee (Operations) and the Secretary's standard file.
CAB 61 Irish Boundary Commission (Feetham Commission): Records
Minutes, papers, correspondence and report of the Irish Boundary Commission, and records of oral and written evidence submitted to it.
CAB 63 War Cabinet and Cabinet Office: Lord Hankey: Papers
Correspondence and papers accumulated by Lord Hankey during his career in public service which ended in 1942, although two files extend past this date.
CAB 69 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Defence Committee (Operations): Minutes and Papers (DO Series)
Minutes and papers of the War Cabinet, Ministerial Committee on Military Co-ordination.
CAB 72 War Cabinet: Committees on Economic Policy: Minutes and Papers (EP and Other Series)
Minutes and papers of the Economic Policy Committee and various other committees and sub-committees on economic policy.
CAB 80 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Chiefs of Staff Committee: Memoranda
Memoranda seen by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, from September 1939 to December 1946.
CAB 83 War Cabinet: Ministerial Committee on Military Co-ordination: Minutes and Papers (MC Series)
Minutes and papers of the War Cabinet, Ministerial Committee on Military Co-ordination.
CAB 85 War Cabinet: Anglo-French Committees: Minutes and Papers
Minutes and papers of various Anglo-French committees and sub-committees during the Second World War. Also included are 'PURCO' telegrams between the Anglo-French Purchasing Board in the USA and the Anglo-French Co-ordinating Committee in London, and Secretary's files of the Anglo-French Co-ordinating Committee, 1939-1940.
CAB 94 War Cabinet: Oversea Defence Committee: Minutes and Papers (ODC Series)
Minutes and papers of the Overseas Defence Committee.
CAB 95 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Committees on the Middle East and Africa: Minutes and Papers (ME, A and other Series)
Minutes and papers of a variety of Committees and Sub-Committees on the Middle East and Africa.
CAB 99 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Commonwealth and International Conferences: Minutes and Papers
Minutes and papers of proceedings of various Commonwealth and international conferences held between 1938-1945 as well as meetings of Dominion and Commonwealth ministers in London during the period. They include papers relating to the main wartime summits, such as the Moscow Conference 1941, Washington War Conference 1941-1942, London Conference of British and US Chiefs of Staff 1943, the Trident Conference in Washington and North Africa 1943 and the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences of 1945.
CAB 131 Cabinet: Defence Committee: Minutes and Papers (DO, D and DC Series)
This series consists of the minutes and papers of the Cabinet, Defence Committee. The minute books contain an internal subject index.
CUST 10 Ledgers of Exports of Foreign and Colonial Merchandise Under Countries
These ledgers of exports of foreign and colonial merchandise show, under the countries to which they were exported, the quantity and value of the several articles shipped from British ports and, until 1870, whether in British or foreign ships.
DEFE 3 Admiralty: Operational Intelligence Centre: Intelligence from Intercepted German, Italian and Japanese Radio Communications, WWII
File copies of teleprinter messages. The various series of messages are of two distinct types: intercepted signals, decrypted, translated, and sent from the German Naval Section of the Admiralty's Naval Intelligence Division at Bletchley Park to the division's Operational Intelligence Centre in the Admiralty; and summaries of intelligence derived from such signals sent to the War Office, Air Ministry and overseas commands. These signals became known as ULTRA.
F 30 Forestry Commission: Censuses of Woodlands: Microfilm of Maps
Six-inch Ordnance Survey County Series maps showing woodland which was assessed in the 1947-1949 and 1952-1959 surveys of private woodland undertaken by the Forestry Commission.
FO 611 Foreign Office: Chief Clerk's Department and Passport Office: Passport Registers Indexes of Names
Indexes of names of passport holders, giving the serial number and date of issue of each passport. There are no indexes for the period 1863 to 1873.
FO 882 Foreign Office: Arab Bureau: Correspondence and Reports
Bound volumes of miscellaneous correspondence of the Arab Bureau including despatches from its agents in the field, among whom was Colonel T E Lawrence, and a series of Arab Bulletins.
HO 9 Registers of the convicts in the hulks and a letter book relating to the establishment of the hulks, 1847 to 1849.
Registers of the convicts in the hulks and a letter book relating to the establishment of the hulks, 1847 to 1849.
HO 10 Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania: Records.
Lists of the male and female convicts and former convicts in the colonies.
HO 11 Home Office: Convict Transportation Registers
Lists of convicts transported in various ships, giving the dates of their convictions.
HO 40 Home Office: Disturbances Correspondence
Home Office original correspondence, military and other reports, precis of information, impounded pamphlets and other papers relating to riots, disturbances, and political activities and writings.
HO 42 Home Office: Domestic Correspondence, George III
Original Home Office domestic letters.
HO 52 Home Office: Counties Correspondence
Original Home Office correspondence and papers from magistrates, officers and other county authorities, from municipal corporations, etc.
HO 396 Home Office: Aliens Department: Internees Index
This series contains records of mostly Germans, Austrians, Italians and their spouses who were interned or considered for internment during the Second World War.
IR 1 Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books
Registers kept by the Board of Stamps of the moneys received in payment of the duty on apprentices' indentures under the statute of Anne c5 and subsequent acts.
KV 1 The Security Service: First World War Historical Reports and Other Papers
This series contains the official history of the Security Service work during World War I compiled at the request of the Committee of Imperial Defence. The duties of the Security Service were principally the control of aliens within and entering the UK, and counter-espionage within the UK and within the Empire.
MEPO 4 Metropolitan Police: Office of the Commissioner: Miscellaneous Books and Papers
The series of Metropolitan Police Commissioner's miscellanea includes: register of manning returns, complaints by members of the public, estimates, office regulations, Daily Police Reports, register of officers' warrant numbers, attestation ledgers, certificate of service records, register of widows' pensions, etc, criminal return book, a precedent book, papers relating to the Commissioner's Office and his annual reports from 1926 to 1981, handbooks and manuals, arrangements for the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, state weddings and funerals, posters and publicity material, war diaries, Metropolitan Police lists, minutes of the Metropolitan Police New Headquarters Steering Committee, and the report of the 1903 committee on Metropolitan Police accommodation.
PROB 10 Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Other Probate Jurisdictions: Bundles of Original Wills and Sentences
These are the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills for 1643-6 proved at Oxford, for which there are no copies in PROB 11. The wills are pieces PROB 10/639-642.
RG 43 General Register Office: Indexes to Miscellaneous Foreign Returns of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Indexes to the non-statutory registers and returns in RG 32 to RG 36, and to certain Army and Statutory registers retained by the Registrar-General.
WO 42 War Office: Officers' Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers
Certificates of birth, baptism, marriage and death, with wills, administrations, statements of services and personal papers of officers and their families, in cases where the officer died on service or on half pay and his widow applied for a pension, or application was made for a child's compassionate allowance.
WO 65 War Office: Printed Annual Army Lists
These official lists give the names of the officers of the several regiments with the dates of their commissions, etc. Lists have been officially posted up with manuscript corrections.
WO 76 War Office: Records of Officers' Services
This series comprises records of officers' services. The records give the different ranks held by the officer and his services, together with certain personal particulars. The dates listed for the series overlap and may not be reliable.
WO 102 War Office: Long Service and Good Conduct Awards, Registers
Download registers of candidates noted for, and recipients of, the Long Service and Good Conduct awards between 1831 and 1953.
WO 116 Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Disability and Royal Artillery Out-Pensions, Admission Books
Registers of the award of out-pensions of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to soldiers discharged from the Regular Army or the Militia on account of disability.
WO 117 Royal Hospital Chelsea: Length of Service Pensions, Admission Books
Service pensions books relating to pensions awarded to soldiers for length of service.
WO 144 War Office: Inter-Allied Armistice Commission: War Diary, and Despatches of Chief of British Delegation 1918-1920
You can download the reports made by the Inter-Allied Armistice Commission between 1918 and 1920. View the full list of pieces within WO 144.
WO 229 War Office: Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and 21 Army Group, 1943–1945
You can download copies of documents originating with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and 21 Army Group relating to a variety of headquarters responsibilities. View the full list of pieces within WO 229
WO 338 War Office: Officers' Services, Index to Long Number Papers, 1870-1922
This series contains the indexes used to identify the Long Number by which the First World War army officer's service records are organised in WO 339.
WO 373 Recommendations for Honours and Awards 1935-1990
You can view whole pieces from WO 373, which contains recommendations for honours and awards, 1935-1990. These pieces are arranged by theatre of war and date, although some of the pieces are indexed by name in the Catalogue. We have made the recommendations available to view as whole pieces, free of charge. This is because the original documents are quite complex, and it was not possible to index all of the series by name.You can also view individual entries from the series WO 373, for a fee of £3.50. This fee covers the cost of transcribing each of the 80,000 recommendations by name. For more information about this collection, you can read our guide to recommendations for honours and awards.
WORK 39 Office of Works: Ancient Monuments Inspectorate: Pitt Rivers' Sketch Books 1878–1890
This series contains books of sketches and notes made during a visit to Brittany in 1878 to 1879 and in the British Isles, 1883 to 1890, by Lieut-General Pitt Rivers (formerly Lane Fox). The volumes are concerned with both his private excavations and official works.
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