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 contentA screenshot of the Discovery catalogue.

    Webinar: Using Discovery for family history

    The Discovery webinar was delivered on 30 September 2016 by Audrey Collins. Audrey is a records specialist on family history records. She delivers conferences on TNA’s family history record collection around the world and has delivered this talk on many…

  • Audio contentWomen's Land Army group. Catalogue reference: MAF59-146

    100 years of the WI: The acceptable face of feminism

    Professor Maggie Andrews discusses some of the key campaigns and concerns of the Women’s Institute, from its origins in the First World War to the 1950s when, with half a million members, it was firmly established as the largest women’s…

  • Audio contentEnquiry into Causation and Prevention of Shell Shock report. 1922. Catalogue reference: WO32-4748.

    Shell-Shocked Britain: Understanding the lasting trauma of the First World War

    Millions of soldiers were scarred by their experiences in the First World War trenches, but how new was what we now know as ‘shell shock’? What treatments were on offer? And what happened after the men came home? Writer and…

  • Audio contentThe Midwife and the Health Visitor. 1939-1946. Catalogue reference: INF3-1714

    Heidi Thomas: Researching Call the Midwife

    Screenwriter Heidi Thomas shares the process of transforming Jennifer Worth’s memoirs into the BBC period drama  ‘Call the Midwife’, a TV series about midwives working in the East End of London in the late 1950s.

  • Video content

    Webinar: Using the 1939 Register, recording the UK population before the war

    The preparations had been made well in advance. Now Britain was at war, and as the uniformed army prepared to face the enemy, a civilian army was mobilised at home. National Registration Officers, registrars, and 65,000 enumerators set about the…

  • Audio content1939-register

    Using the 1939 Register: Recording the UK population before the war

    The preparations had been made well in advance. Now Britain was at war, and as the uniformed army prepared to face the enemy, a civilian army was mobilised at home. National Registration Officers, registrars, and 65,000 enumerators set about the…

  • 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…

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