The National Archives

The National Archives

The National Archives (TNA) is responsible for keeping the public records of England and Wales. It came into existence on 2 April 2003 through the merging of the Public Record Office (PRO) and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (HMC). It holds the records of central government departments over nine centuries from the Domesday Book of 1087 to the present day. Until recently, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records Act of 1958, government archives were generally available for consultation once they were thirty years old, excepting certain confidential records, such as the census of population, which were closed for longer periods. More recent legislation, in particular the Data Protection Act of 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, means that this general rule no longer has force and that those wishing to consult public records at Doncaster Archives should seek guidance from the staff there as to the availability of these records.

Many of the records of interest to family historians which are held by TNA and the General Register Office, including census, wills and civil registration indexes, are now available online. Details as to how these records can now be consulted can be found in the webpages of The National Archives and the General Register Office. The staff of either Doncaster Archives or Doncaster Local Studies Library will also be pleased to advise on these matters.

TNA also holds records which are important for the study of local history, particularly those relating to central government relations with local government. To find out more, consult Philip Riden, Record Sources for Local History (Batsford, 1987).

The entire catalogues to the records held by TNA are available on the internet and can be accessed through its website. To access the website of The National Archives, use the link under 'Related Links' in the left-hand menu of this page.

The National Archives' website includes features on family history and general historical interest. The National Archives address is Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Telephone; 020 8878 8905. Email


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Contact Details

eMail: Archives

Tel: 01302 859811

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