The National Register of Archives

About The National Register of Archives

The National Register of Archives (NRA) was created in 1945 to record collections relating to British individuals, families, groups, organisations and businesses held in repositories in the United Kingdom and around the world. It was originally set up by the Historic Manuscripts Commission (HMC) but since 2003 has been maintained and updated by the Archives Sector Development team at The National Archives.

The NRA consists of two parts: the indexes and the surveys (known as NRA lists).

Accessing the indexes

The indexes are now part of our database Discovery. You can do a simple search by typing in the name of a person, family, organisation or business into the search box at the top of the screen and pressing ‘enter’. Then click on the ‘record creator’ tab at the top of the results page to see the entries in the NRA indexes. Alternatively, you can click on the ‘advanced search’ link under the search box then click on ‘search for record creators’. Fill in some of the boxes to narrow down your search and press ‘enter’.

Clicking on an entry displays all the collections we are aware of relating to the person, family, organisation or business. Clicking on a collection gives you a summary of the collection and which archive holds it. Clicking on the ‘held by’ link will take you through to the Find An Archive directory, which provides contact and access information about a repository.

Accessing the NRA lists

The NRA lists are no longer on open access in our reading rooms in Kew. To access the lists, please email the following information to with ‘NRA list request’ in the subject line at least two weeks in advance of your visit:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The date of your visit
  • The NRA list number(s) and title(s)

We will send you confirmation that the lists will be available and where to go to access them, or let you know if there are any problems. Please note that retrieval is subject to staff resources. There also may be limits to the number of folders or volumes that we are able to retrieve. NRA lists may consist of more than one folder or volume. We are unable to provide copies of NRA lists due to copyright and format restrictions.

Updating the NRA

If you are a repository with collections in the NRA or wish for your collections to be included, please email any updates or additions to us at (with ‘NRA updates’ in the subject line) and we will make these changes.