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Your view on The National Archives

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Your view on The National Archives

Postby Editor » Mon May 16, 2011 3:49 pm

I'm off to see the new Chief Executive of The National Archives on Wednesday. Have any of you got any questions you would like me to ask him? Anything that bugs you about The National Archives? Do you have any concerns about the future of TNA? Give me your feedback asap and I'll throw your questions to him.

Sarah
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Re: Your view on The National Archives

Postby bandit » Mon May 16, 2011 6:20 pm

Dear Editor,

First of all I think it is a brilliant idea to have a meeting with the NA and secondly I think my viewpoint will echo a lot of other peoples.

Not all of us who do genealogy have the means to travel to London or indeed any family history building . Neither do we have the means or indeed the access to do it . For those of us who do family research online we just have a laptop or a computer and perhaps access to a paid subscription on line or use free resources. Those databases, use a form of means to search using a name , a place or a date to find a list of items that we can choose from. They are by the whole very easy to search on and don’t have flashing adverts in front of our eyes that cause a distraction or drag us on to another page.

I often search in the NA for service records and they drive me mad trying to find the answers; it is not an easy task and its asks for an ADM number or a ww/r number ( who knows what that stands for) ? . Can there not be at the front a search section something like the paid sites where say you can search for say JOE BLOGGS and it will bring him up as a say a BMD, a census, a service record, or in a book , or in a war and so on. We could then choose the subject to further search on. When we start looking at records we often don’t know if someone has a service record or even where they were or when they were born or where ; we need a clue and a helping hand to even start looking .

Also we should also be told where records are incomplete. Many records have been lost by fire flood, water damage and so on, so how do we know when looking if all the records in that area are there or not. We need to be told where records are incomplete or lost or not trans cribbed etc and could not a list be placed on the site to simply list all the records you hold. Instead money is wasted going up a blind alley where records where often records have been lost or dont exist.

I often go to FH fairs and was told when I couldn’t find someone in a certain county that I knew they were from, that the county did not part with their records, and I had to buy their CD’s in order to get the information that I wanted . I realise that this a means of raising income for that county or society, but equally so others gave freely of their time and expertise at the same time.

These records should be easy to access on the national site, where you have access to the nations best records, the best books, the best files , the oldest records , the best history, the best brains, the best skills, access to the best finance for genealogy and so on and this should be shared in a manner that gives us far easier access.

Why does England , Scotland and Ireland have to be separated especially in genealogical terms north and south Ireland; can some one not bring all those records together. After all we all have relations from an assortment of British lines not to mention other lines .

These records are ours , our families , our relations , our ancestors, our lives our loves and our past, and not to mention the lives of those brave men and women who gave up their lives in the wars ; we don’t know exactly what they went through and those that lived suffered terrible experiences and don’t always want to explain, so we really do need their records from other sources as we are mere mortals and need to retain these precious meories and moments for others to share

We are British subjects, and you hold our lives in your hands and we want to know how to find our missing links , as at the moment a lot of information is only findable by an elitist group of people, who perhaps actually work at the NA or are paid and elite amount of money to find the answers.
I realise also this is a big ask and has a monetary tag attached to it, not to mention a large helping of computer geeks – god bless them to turn codes into searchable databases. But can you find the means to help us simplify your site and enable us to simply search your site for our records?

I am sorry if this is a bit of a rant, but you asked for an opinion and from one who does genealogy almost ( sad I know) every waking moment when not in work you gather its a subject close to my heart and one which I hasten to say I do not get paid for either.

Thank you for your time and for reading this

kindest regards

bandit
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Re: Your view on The National Archives

Postby callbrian » Mon May 16, 2011 6:25 pm

Hi Sarah,
I would echo some of 'bandits' comments regarding ease of finding related subjects, all the headings are daunting. I assume also that it is all down to hard cash and someone has to pay for it.
I have been pleased to see the NA's are trying to make it easier for viewing and finding items on the website. Personally I would like to see on the home page a listing of 'free' items (if any) that are available. I have found myself searching for a subject and then find it costs £x to go any further.
Regards
Brian
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Re: Your view on The National Archives

Postby Editor » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:09 pm

Thanks for this input. Much appreciated! I enjoyed meeting Oliver Morley and brought up some of your points. He is very aware that access to TNA records for those who don't live in London or can't get to London is an issue and digitisation is obviously a priority (as is improving the catalogue of what TNA holds so that you can at least see if they are likely to hold a record that might be useful to you).

Hope you enjoy my article in the July issue on sale 14 June. It also covers some of the forthcoming digitisation projects including the first major Second World War release that is currently being planned.

Sarah
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Re: Your view on The National Archives

Postby bandit » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:09 pm

Hi Sarah

thanks for the update on the TNA and glad that they are aware of difficulties in getting to the information we want. Lets hope they keep their word and look foward to the improvememts

I hope you have more meetings with such Executives to bring about changes and we have a chance to have an input into them.Thankyouy for your efforts.

kindest regards

bandit
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