Family history

Researchers and historians from The National Archives and elsewhere offer expert guidance on researching family history and unlocking the multitude of sources available.

  • Video contentPoster: Women clerks for service in France (catalogue reference NATS 1/109 (2))

    Webinar: Tracing your ancestors – women in the military services during the First World War

    Emily Stidston hosts this webinar which introduces women’s service and other records from 1914 to 1918 and beyond. These records include Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, nursing services and voluntary organisations. You can download a PDF of […]

  • Audio contentLondon railway terminus by Grace Golden (catalogue reference INF 3/1740)

    Tracing railway ancestors

    The National Archives holds a vast collection of railway related material, a legacy passed down by hundreds of railway companies which operated in all corners of the UK from 1825 to 1947. Much of this material provides opportunities for local […]

  • Audio contentChesham War Memorial, Buckinghamshire

    Putting it all together: using archives to discover your community’s involvement in the First World War

    The names of the First World War dead are there for all to see, on war memorials all over the country. Many individuals and groups are researching the stories behind the names, but what about delving even deeper? There is […]

  • Video contentHong Kong (catalogue reference CO 1069/457)

    From British bobby to Hong Kong copper

    This year marks the 170th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Police. This talk traces the history of the organisation through the stories of a few very ordinary British constables from the 1840s up to the First World […]

  • Audio contentAndover Union Workhouse, 1846 (catalogue reference ZPER 34/9)

    Webinar: Why did people fear the Victorian workhouse?

    The workhouse was a major feature in the lives of the poor, whether or not they were ever inmates themselves. This webinar can help you to explore records in The National Archives, showing what life was like inside the workhouse, […]

  • Audio contentEmigration to Australia notice, 1841 (catalogue reference CO 384/66)

    Webinar: An introduction to emigration sources for family historians

    This webinar looks at passenger lists and other records for the popular destinations for migrants leaving the UK. Increasing numbers of these records have been digitised and are now available online. Mark Pearsall is a Family History Records Specialist at […]

  • Audio contentA pedigree sketched in a court case (catalogue reference KB 27/224)

    Webinar: An introduction to medieval and early modern sources for family historians

    Medieval and early modern records can be very informative, although they are often harder to locate than those for more recent periods. This webinar provides an overview of sources in The National Archives and elsewhere. Nick Barratt is head of […]

  • Audio contentCrimean War: Major Stokes and group of Anglo-Turkish soldiers (catalogue reference WO 78/1078)

    Webinar: Army musters – more than just accounts

    This webinar looks at how the army accounted for the money it spent on its personnel and what you can discover in the records in addition to financial costs. William Spencer is The National Archives’ Principal Records Specialist in military […]

  • Audio contentRiver Tigris abover Amara (by kind permission of Jenny Lewis)

    Finding my father in Mesopotamia

    Jenny Lewis’s father fought as a young man in the First World War campaign in Mesopotamia – modern day Iraq, Iran and Syria. He joined the South Wales Borderers in 1915 and served in Mesopotamia until 1917 when he was […]

  • Audio contentKarl Marx request for naturalization, notification of refusal (catalogue reference HO 45/9366/36228)

    British nationality: subject or citizen?

    Mark Pearsall looks at the status of immigrants and the concept of nationality over the last 500 years. This talk covers alienage, denization, naturalisation and registration of citizenship and the records of these statuses that survive. This talk also clarifies […]

  • Audio contentEvicition of poor Irish families in Leather Lane Holborn,1892 (catalogue reference ZPER 34/100)

    ‘…we may lie and die in a land of plenty…’: The Victorian poor in their own words

    In all but the most specialist accounts of Victorian histories the poor are often represented through generalisations, graphs or summed up in ‘averaging’ paragraphs. More detailed work might look at the experiences of individual poor people through pulling together accounts […]

  • Audio contentFlyer from the Keep Our Secrets Secret campaign (catalogue reference EXT 1/111)

    Spies like us: The secret life of Ernest Oldham

    The security service files held at The National Archives in series KV 2 reveal that many people involved in espionage, like Foreign Office clerk Ernest Oldham, were ordinary folk who entered an extraordinary world by chance – often with tragic […]

  • Audio contentTroops travelling to Manchester for review by Lord Kitchener

    Digitising MH 47 the Middlesex military service appeal tribunal

    On the introduction of conscription in 1916, Military Service Tribunals were set up to hear applications and appeals for exemption. Surviving material is fragmented but two complete sets of tribunal papers were retained, including those for the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal. […]

  • Audio contentBlack nurse and baby

    Black in the British Frame

    Stephen Bourne shares his memories of growing up in Peckham and of his adopted Aunt Esther, a black Londoner born before the First World War and the subject of his first book. And he talks about how, from an educationally […]

  • Audio contentFour generations of the Page family (Southampton)

    News from FamilySearch

    Sharon Hintze brings you up to date with the latest developments (2014) on FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogical organisation. It is rapidly evolving, with new features and collections, and partnerships with commercial organisations arising almost weekly. Sharon is Director of […]

  • Authors


You can find help on how to download and listen to our podcasts in our quick guide to getting started. If you wish to re-use any part of a podcast, please note that copyright in the podcasts and transcripts in some cases belongs to the speakers, not to the Crown. Please contact the Copyright Officer with queries. If commenting, please be aware of our moderation policy.


Select an option to receive our free podcast series, using either RSS or iTunes. See our help guide for more information on podcast subscription.