A visit to the National Archives at Kew, London is daunting.
If you are trying to research the history of a loved one who was in the military or a particular subject, how do you navigate the thousands of documents? There are many expert researchers who make a living finding their way around the archive for others. That costs.
But you could do it yourself.
Before COVID it would involve
- i) Registering with the National Archives at Kew, visiting it and learning how to find your way around documents yourself. That’s daunting and if you are not within day travel of Kew, potentially costly.
- ii) Go on-line, search and download documents that have been digitised. However, each file had a fee and sometimes it was only after delving into it that you discover it’s one you want. Again, that costs.
Thankfully since COVID it’s possible to register on-line, browse document descriptions and download any files that have been digitised (up to 10 items per basket).
The relevant website is – www.discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk
And while not all files are digitised, it is a lot easier to identify what you might want if you then go yourself, or employ an independent researcher.
Frankly, without the post-COVID service I wouldn’t have been able to afford to create Blighty Thank God.