Our paid search service

Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000, you have the right to see information held by us unless one of the exemptions set out in the FOI Act applies – find out more about Freedom of Information.

Our paid search service is prompt and professional and reflects our expertise in historical records.

Can you do the search yourself?

  • Take a look at our research guides for advice on what records we hold and how you can search for them
  • You can search Discovery, our online catalogue, for records
  • Catalogue descriptions indicate whether you can download a copy or, if unavailable online, how you can order paper or digital copies

What can we search for?

  • Details of people, places and subjects within our records
  • Digitised versions of our records on commercial websites like Ancestry and Findmypast – it is often more cost effective to subscribe to the websites and do the searching yourself (consult our online collections page to see which records have been digitised)

How much does a paid search cost?

  • £27.30 (incl. VAT) per 15 minutes of research
  • You will receive a quote for the cost once our researchers have assessed your request and before you commit to the paid search itself
  • The prices we charge are set out by the Fees Regulations under the Public Records Act (1958) and are based on recovering the costs of providing the services.
  • Alternatively, you can use an independent researcher who may offer more competitive rates

How to request a paid search

  • First, check the PDF guides below to see if you can find a pre-priced search which covers your request
  • Then, fill in our paid search request form
  • Alternatively, write to us at: Advice and Records Knowledge, The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU
  • Remember to give as much detail as possible about what documents you would like us to search

When will you get a response?

  • Within 20 working days of receipt of payment

Pre-priced searches

  • The paid search guides below cover our most popular paid searches, listing details of the information we will look for and how much we will charge
  • To request a pre-priced search, select your required search (e.g. “House history Search a”) from the drop down list on our paid search request form

House history

House history (PDF, 0.06MB)

Registered designs

Registered designs 1839-1991 (PDF, 0.10MB)

Army personnel and operations

British Army officers 1757-1913 (PDF, 0.05MB)

British Army soldiers 1760-1913 (PDF, 0.08MB)

British Army soldiers and officers in the First World War (PDF, 0.10MB)

British Army operations in the Second World War (PDF, 0.05MB)

Royal Navy personnel

Royal Navy ratings 1660-1945 (PDF, 0.10MB)

Royal Navy officers 1660-1945 (PDF, 0.09MB)

Merchant Navy personnel

Merchant Navy officers and seamen 1913-1972 (PDF, 0.07MB)

Merchant Navy seamen 1835-1857 and officers 1835-1913 (PDF, 0.09MB)


Chancel repair liability (PDF, 0.04MB)

Criminals and prisoners (PDF, 0.09MB)

Metropolitan Police (PDF, 0.06MB)

Royal Irish Constabulary (PDF, 0.06MB)

Wills and Administrations 1383-1858 and Death Duty Registers 1796-1903 (PDF, 0.07MB)

1939 Register

1939 Register: subject still living (DPA enquiry) (PDF, 97 KB)

1939 Register: subject deceased (FOI enquiry) (PDF, 98 KB)