What to do during lockdown—National Archives free guides on family research

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Seeking a new way to make the most of lockdown that promises to be interesting and educational at the same time? Why not use the time to explore your family history?

Finders International’s work is all about researching people’s family trees to find the rightful beneficiaries to an estate, and we can vouch for the fascinating facts this exploration often throws up.

The National Archives have free research guides that can help you unearth the history of a place, a person or uncover a particular historical subject. You might investigate a branch of the family tree only to discover an ancestor who lived through turbulent societal shifts, which will in turn encourage a thirst to know more about those times.

More than 350 guides available

Each guide tells you where you can find, access and understand the records that are relevant to your research. There are more than 350 guides available. Topics covered include:

  • Births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales
  • Bankrupts and insolvent debtors
  • Bomb census survey records 1940-45
  • British army and militia 1760 to 1915
  • British army casualty lists 1939-1945
  • British army war diaries 1914 to 1922
  • Census records
  • Changes of name
  • Conscientious objectors
  • Crimes, prisons and punishment 1770 to 1935
  • Criminal Transportation
  • Death duties 1796-1903
  • Dissolution of the monasteries 1536-1540
  • Domesday Book
  • Enslaved people and slave owners

… and many more.

The guide on Criminal Transportation, for example, reveals that after 1776, all criminal transportation was to modern-day Australia and specifically New South Wales and Tasmania. Though plenty of records survive from the time, few are indexed by name so finding an individual can be tricky. However, if you have some information about the person you are looking for it might be possible to find them.

If drawing up a detailed family tree has always been at the top of the to-do list, the research guides will provide much-needed expertise in how you set about the task. It’s a great activity to do with all the family, encompassing educational subjects such as history, geography, politics and more.

Researching the past also diverts the mind from the present and future, both of which are challenging to think about under the current circumstances…

Finders International locate missing beneficiaries to estates, properties and assets.  We are operating as usual with staff working remotely where possible.  Our telephone lines remain open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, call us on +44 (0)20 7490 4935 and for general enquiries send an email to [email protected]

To see a full list of our services, please visit our website.