NEW: Free access to digital records at The National Archives, Kew


23 April 2020
The UK National Archives has announced that it is offering free access to its digital records for as long as it remains closed to the public during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Registered users can order and download up to 10 items at no cost, to a maximum of 50 items over 30 days. National Archives explains that the limits are there 'to try and help manage the demand for content and ensure the availability of our digital services for everyone'.

Collections to explore

Users can download records digitised by The National Archives and published through Discovery, its online catalogue. These include:

  • First and Second World War records, including medal index cards
  • Military records, including unit war diaries
  • Royal and Merchant Navy records, including Royal Marine service records
  • Wills from the jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
  • Migration records, including aliens’ registration cards and naturalisation case papers
  • 20th century Cabinet Papers and Security Service files
  • Domesday Book

How do I get started?

To access the service and download for free, users will be required to:

  • Register/sign in to their Discovery account before adding items to their basket (maximum ten items per basket)
  • Abide by the terms of the fair use policy
  • Complete the order process to receive a download link, which will remain active for 30 days. (The link will also be saved in ‘Your orders’ in your account for 30 days)

Terms & conditions

The free access applies to the digitised collections on The National Archives website, but it does not extend to its collections on other sites run by commercial partners such as Ancestry, Findmypast and The Genealogist. 

Register for a free account here.

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