Current opportunities

The National Archives offers the following volunteering opportunities:

  • Remote projects
  • On site projects
  • Projects involving online collaboration – you do not need to contact us to take part in these activities

Get started using the links below.

To find out more about upcoming opportunities, sign up for regular email updates from The National Archives. You can contact if you would like to get involved.

You can also read more about other volunteering projects happening at The National Archives now and the experiences of our volunteers.

Remote projects

Royal Navy First World War Lives at Sea

We are currently running a joint collaboration between the National Maritime Museum and The National Archives, with the generous support of the Crew List Index Project team, to recreate the crew lists of Royal Navy ships for the First World War from service records of Officers and Ratings.

The project’s aims are to identify from service records which officers and ratings served in the First World War, their dates and place of birth, their occupation prior to joining the Royal Navy, names and dates of ships, submarines, shore establishment served in during their service, together with their ranks or ratings, what battles they served in, and cause and date of discharge.

The project team is looking for more volunteers to ‘work from home’ to create this online resource to be hosted by the National Maritime Museum.

If you would like to volunteer to help us with this project by transcribing these service records, please get in contact at

Ecclesiastical Census 1851

HO 129/1 Ecclesiastical Census 1851

We are running a project to index the records of the Ecclesiastical Census of 1851 held in record series HO 129.

This survey was run in conjunction with the 1851 census for England and Wales, to gather information on places of worship.

The records are available as digital microfilm and provide details of the religious denomination, date of foundation, and the size of the congregation.

Currently, the records are catalogued only by registration district, and this project will make them searchable by place and by religious denomination, which will be of great benefit to family and local historians.

If you would like to participate, you can sign in and begin transcribing immediately using this link.

Returns of British Army Officers 1790s to 1830s

We are running a project to index the returns of Officers’ service record held in the series WO 25/780-806.

WO 25

The records include the dates of promotion and regiments of commissioned officers, from Ensign through to Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels. They also include Quartermasters, who were non-commissioned officers, and assistant surgeons and surgeons. The returns also contain details of marriages and children’s births.

These records are available as digital microfilm, with some incomplete and inaccurate cataloguing of these pieces on Discovery. This project will make these records completely searchable by name, regiment, date and place of birth, and family names where given. This will benefit military, social and family historians.

If you would like to participate, you can sign in and start transcribing immediately using this link.

On site projects at Kew

There are currently no on site projects.

Projects involving online collaboration

  • Help us to describe our records online. We are encouraging users to help tag and contribute to our records, both in our online catalogue, Discovery, and on other interfaces such as the photo-sharing website Flickr.
  • Discovery – the introduction of a tagging tool to Discovery allows users to assign key words or phrases to our records, helping other users to find records that they previously wouldn’t have identified. As much of the catalogue data also uses older language to describe our records, tagging presents the opportunity to refresh and modernise some of this language, making it relevant to today’s users. This will lay the foundations for future developments, such as adding user-generated content to catalogue descriptions and tagging records with location information.
  • Through a lens – our ‘Through a lens’ series has seen the publication on Flickr of the CO 1069 series of photographs, providing online access to thousands of photographs previously only available at Kew. This has given users the opportunity to engage with our records, to tag and contribute comments and suggestions to help improve catalogue descriptions and geographical references. Our ultimate intention is to extract these contributions from Flickr and add them to our catalogue. Building on the success of our Africa through a lens project in 2011, and the Your Caribbean Heritage cataloguing project, our wider Caribbean through a lens project seeks to build relationships with under-represented communities regionally and engage with non-traditional audiences of archives. Contribute to our collections on Flickr now.