Getting started with research
Don't be intimidated by the idea of getting your hands on the 'real thing'. The National Archives has a number of resources to help you work with original documents.
To learn more about ordering documents and how to find what you are looking for using our catalogue, see our helpful step-by-step videos. Always bear in mind that our collections contain many millions of items and finding what you are looking for is serious research task all on its own.
Documents from the 19th and 20th century are generally easy to work with, but many documents written between 1500 and 1800 can be very difficult to read even when they are in English. Our palaeography guide can help decipher hard to read texts.
You can bring your own camera into the Archives to take your own images of documents which you are then free to use in the classroom, though we also have copying machines for the use of readers and additionally offer a professional service.