Our paid search service

Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000, you have the right to know whether we hold the information you want; and if we do, to see that information. Find out more about Freedom of Information.

If you would like some information from the archives, we can carry out a search for you.

Our paid search service is prompt and professional and reflects our expertise in historical records. We will report on the results of a search within 20 working days.

What kinds of searches do we offer?

The paid search guides below give you an idea of the kind of information you can find out through some of our most popular paid searches. The guides include our standard charge for each search and catalogue references for the specific record series that we will consult to find the information in each case.

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)

How much does it cost?

Please tell us exactly what you are looking for using the link to the online form below before sending any money. We will write back to tell you how much our search for the information will cost – our charges apply to every 15 minutes that the search takes. When we receive your payment we will carry out the search and, if we find the information and can make it available, we will provide it to you.

Our charge for searches is £27.30 per 15 minutes, including VAT.  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.

How to request a paid search

Please fill in our paid search request form or 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.

What other options do I have?

  • You can visit us and carry out the research yourself – see our research guidance to help you get started
  • You can do some initial research yourself, using Discovery, our catalogue
  • You can employ an independent researcher to do the work for you