Poor law record, Aberystwyth Union poster (catalogue reference: MH 12/1576)

Take a look at some examples of the different ways in which volunteers have helped us to catalogue and contribute to our records.

First World War unit war diaries

These WO 95 records provide an insight into the daily activity and movements of troops on the Western Front and are among our most popular records produced on site.

With the centenary approaching in 2014, we decided to digitise these records and publish them online, taking the opportunity to carry out essential conservation work in the process. A group of volunteers has helped us to sort the pages and diaries into the correct order before we digitise them.

Poor law records

The poor law records (MH 12) project was a large-scale cataloguing and outreach activity. It saw The National Archives working with volunteers from local and county archives, local studies librarians and museums, and local and family history societies to research and list a selection of the letters, memos and reports from poor law union correspondence records.

In total, 200 project volunteers across the country catalogued 108 pieces and added 4.6 million words to our catalogue.

View a short video of Paul Carter, The National Archives' principal modern domestic record's specialist, discussing the project.

Military records

In 2011, volunteers from the Friends of The National Archives completed a lengthy cataloguing project of the record series WO 97, WO 119 and WO 121, resulting in the addition of more than 20,000 soldiers' records to the catalogue.

The same year, the Friends volunteers also embarked on an indexing project of the records of the Royal Artillery (WO 69). Hear more about this cataloguing by the Friends. 

Royal Marine service records

The Royal Marine service records project (ADM 157) was an on site cataloguing project to improve our catalogue descriptions. The project was presented with an award from the Royal Marine Historical Society.