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TOPIC: The National Archives (TNA)

The National Archives (TNA) 22 Jul 2008 22:26 #1

  • MandatorV8
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We have had a very interesting dailogue this evening concerning research in TNA in which some excellent advice has come out. Is there scope for a dedicated thread for the TNA as a research tool? The TNA houses so much prime research material of interest to us that help and advice on how to use it might be of great use to users of AiX. Any thoughts from the mods?

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The National Archives (TNA) 23 Jul 2008 07:36 #2

  • Paul Francis
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Excellent idea, fire away

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You can tell a builder from an archaeologist by the size of his trowel. Mine is a small one!

The National Archives (TNA) 16 Mar 2009 22:46 #3

  • Peter Kirk
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Airfield publications at TNA

I have used the following documents which are probably well known to a lot of you but the last two I haven't looked at and would like further clarification as to their contents. Dates are as per TNA catalogue.

These four contain an airfield data sheet(s) and a simple plan, location map or aerial photograph though not all are present for every airfield.
AIR 10/4038 - Airfields and Flying boat bases 1943
AIR 10/4039 - Airfields and Flying boat bases 1946
AIR 10/7392 - Airfields and Flying boat bases A-K 1954-9
AIR 10/7394 - Airfields and Flying boat bases L-Z 1954-9

AIR 10/7392 - Airfields and Flying boat bases 1954-9 - What is in this volume if A-Z are covered above?
AIR 20/7586 - Record Site Plans incl Photos A-I 1935-1945 - What is in this? It says Record site plans but are they? What photos are included. I am hoping aerial ones.
I know some advice has already been posted elsewhere so perhaps that could be copied here along with other TNA references along with description of contents.

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The National Archives (TNA) 17 Mar 2009 13:02 #4

  • mawganmad
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It should be pointed out that files held by the National Archives are searchable online here http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htm . This is a great feature if you want to know what is held, or to find relevent files before actually visiting the place, hence saving you valuable time. You can't actually view the files online though.
Files held include ORBs, plans, and photographs.

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James Thomas

The National Archives (TNA) 17 Mar 2009 19:18 #5

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Technically you are correct Mawganmad but sadly the descriptions given often do not relate to the file in question which used to be frustrating but one just accepted it. However recently Carnaby has just informed me that from now you are limited to just 21 files per visit and this could well mean that one could get 20 badly described files and just one good one on a visit - how crap is that?

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You can tell a builder from an archaeologist by the size of his trowel. Mine is a small one!

The National Archives (TNA) 17 Mar 2009 19:49 #6

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Just got a reply from a Gold service request for samples of AIR 20/7586 to see what it contained as the description was vague. The reply was that the documents were available online. I checked and it is a copy of an aerial photo of Filton which I must say is of low quality compared to the scans I have had before. Such a grand title for one photo!!!!
I agree that the search facility does promise a lot but is sadly lacking in content descriptions, understandable maybe, considering the number of files.

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The National Archives (TNA) 18 Mar 2009 14:50 #7

  • OneEighthBit
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Are you chaps aware of the "Your Archives" Wiki:

http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.go ... =Home_page

Basically its a user contributed "encylopedia" of information about the files. So for example if the main title is a bit vague, it's possible another researcher has made some notes for the record.

Here's a good example:

http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.go ... l_Archives

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The National Archives (TNA) 18 Mar 2009 16:32 #8

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Yes, I used your example as a start point. Some didn't seem to fit though, judging by the descriptions they gave.

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The National Archives (TNA) 19 Mar 2009 10:58 #9

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PNK wrote: Just got a reply from a Gold service request for samples of AIR 20/7586 to see what it contained...


How does that work PNK?

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James Thomas

The National Archives (TNA) 19 Mar 2009 13:03 #10

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mawganmad - You have never used the Digital Express service from TNA?

GETTING DIGITAL COPIES FROM TNA

For those that haven't got time to visit TNA I occasionally use their Digital Express Gold Service (24hr turnaround)
All you do is browse the catalogue online and once you have selected the file you are interested in select "Request This".
It will then give you three options :-

1. Digital Express - Purchase a same day digital copy - JPEG
2. Printed or digital copy - Request an estimate - Paper or PDF
3. View original (FREE!) - Available at The National Archives.You can order this in advance of your visit. - Original document

The first offers a digital copy via email and comes in two options:-

GOLD Service (24hrs) £8.50 for up to 10 images (from that file)
PLATINUM Service (4hrs) £10.00 for up to 10 imahges.

I have found that ordering the previous day using Gold brings the JPG images by 5pm the next day. Cheaper than the fare to get there (for me anyway).

The copies are normally very good. I have a number from AIR 10/4039 and AIR 10/7393. If they can't copy the file or have problem with size (larger than A3) then they ask that you request an estimate. I have used this too and it is a good service but you need to be sure of what you are getting copied first, either by previous visit or recommendation from a friend.

I was tempted to get a quote for copying all of AIR 10/4039 but I suspect it would run into hundreds of pounds!

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