How to look for records of... Free online records: digital microfilm

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

How many are online?

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Why use this guide?

This guide lists and provides access to all the record series at The National Archives which are available to view and download for free. These are all digital microfilm records.

What are digital microfilm records?

Our digital microfilm records cover a wide and varied set of subjects, from military and naval records to Foreign Office and Home Office correspondence. They are all listed in the table in this guide.

Many of these records are indexes to other records which may not themselves be viewable online. They are all records which were previously available on microfilm in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew.

These documents are free of charge to download and are delivered as large PDF files.

How to search and use digital microfilm records

You can use digital microfilm records in much the same way that you would normal microfilm records, but instead of needing a microfilm reader, you can simply download them from our website and scroll through them on your computer.

You cannot search these records in the same way that you can other kinds of online records. There is no way to locate any of the information contained within them, including names of individuals, other than by scrolling through the PDFs.

Using the links in the table below, find records on digital microfilm as follows:

Step 1: Click on the record series title in the table to view the series description in our catalogue (for example, click on ‘Records of service of the Coastguard 1816-1947’ to view this record series, which has the catalogue reference ADM 175).

Step 2: Find the piece number covering the date and subject of interest. Piece numbers always contain a forward slash (for example, ADM 175/4). If you cannot see the piece numbers displayed to the right of the series description, click on ‘Details’ and then ‘Browse by reference’.

Step 3: Having chosen a piece number, click on Details.

Step 4: Click on ‘Add to basket’ and download.

As we are currently unable to provide on site access for the foreseeable future, we have decided to make our digital records available free of charge.

To download for free, users will be required to:

  • Register/sign in to their Discovery account before adding items to their basket (maximum 10 items per basket)
  • Abide by the terms of our fair use policy

Downloading, saving and printing digital microfilm

Digital microfilm files are much larger in size than the rest of our digital content (files contain up to 800 pages) and so is only available to online users with a broadband connection. Computers with limited memory may struggle to open them and it will almost certainly take your computer some time to download each file. They are on average 400MB in size

We recommend that you save the document to your computer’s hard drive before attempting to open it. How you do this will depend on the web browser you are using and whether you are using a PC or Mac. See the table below for instructions.

Mozilla Firefox Google Chrome Internet Explorer Mac users
Right click and select ‘Save link as’ Right click and select ‘Save link as’ Right click and select ‘Save target as’ Click the mouse while pressing the control button on the keyboard simultaneously – a pop-up box should appear, allowing you to save the files

To view the PDFs you will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, which can be downloaded free of charge.

When printing from these files specify which page numbers you would like to print, as many are up to 800 pages long in total.

If you experience problems saving or downloading, contact our helpdesk team.

A-Z of record series on digital microfilm

Please note that with most of the record series below only part of the series is available online, not the whole series.

Catalogue reference

Record series title

ADM 10 Admiralty: Officers’ Services, Indexes and Miscellanea
Additional finding aid: Indexes to officers’ services held in ADM 9/2-81 and ADM 11/7-8
ADM 13 Admiralty: Supplementary Records
Additional finding aid: Indexes to passing certificates for engineers held in ADM 13/200-205
ADM 36 Admiralty: Royal Navy Ships’ Musters (Series I)
Muster books of HMS Victory of the Royal Navy, recording the presence of every person on board the ship
ADM 101 Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals
Sphinx, Asst Surgeon T Coghlan: illustrations of Pelem Islands
ADM 104 Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries
Establishment books of naval hospitals, lists of officers entitled to half pay, entry books, complement lists, and service records of medical, nursing, pharmacist, and other staff, case books of the Royal Naval Hospital Bermuda, 1832 to 1883, and a history of the hospital, and wages and salary lists of persons employed in the care of prisoners of war. Also registers of reports of deaths, and of killed and wounded; and medical department general notation books
ADM 139 Indexes: Royal Navy Continuous Service Engagement Books
Indexes of the service records of ratings (not officers) who served in the Royal Navy between 1853 and 1872. You can also search and download the actual service records from our website
ADM 142 Navy Board, Navy Pay Office and Admiralty, Accountant General’s Department: Registers of Seamen’s Wills 1786-1909 Indexes to the Wills of Royal Naval Seamen 1786-1882 in ADM 48. The ADM 142 registers continue beyond the last recorded will in ADM 48. You can also search and download the actual wills of Royal Naval seamen 1786-1882 (ADM 48) from our website
ADM 171 Admiralty, and Ministry of Defence, Navy Department: Medal Rolls
Rolls and lists of officers and men of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines who were awarded or claimed medals and clasps issued to commemorate actions and campaigns. The series contains awards of the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914-1915 Star to men of the Mercantile Marine Reserve and to officers and men of the Royal Naval Reserve. The rolls recording the award of the Arctic Medal, 1875-1876; the Sea Transport Medal, 1899-1902; and the Delhi Durbar Medal, 1911, are included in this series
ADM 175 Records of service of the Coastguard 1816-1947
ADM 175 consists of a variety of records relating to the Coastguard formed in 1822, by the amalgamation of the Revenue Cruisers and the Riding officers (both dating from the seventeenth century), and the Preventative Water Guard, which was set up in 1809. The records in ADM 175 range in date from 1816-1947
ADM 192 Lists of officers in the Royal Marines 1760-1886
The information contained in these volumes includes the dates of commissions, rates of pay, company numbers and details of the officer establishment of the corps.
ADM 196 Indexes: Royal Naval Officers’ Service Records
Indexes of the service records of officers who joined the Royal Navy between 1756 and 1917 (ADM 196). The indexes are pieces ADM 196/7, 26-28, 33, 57, 129, 138-139 and 163. You can also search and download the actual service records from our website
ADM 321 Admiralty: Women’s Royal Naval Service: Registers of Appointments of Officers (Short Service)
Registers of appointments of WRNS officers who served between 1917 and 1919
AIR 54 South Africa Air Force: Operations Record Books
Microfilm copies of operations record books of various operational and administrative units
BT 90 Board of Trade and Foreign Office: Advisory Committee to the Department of Overseas Trade (Development and Intelligence): Minutes and Papers
Minutes and papers of the Department of Overseas Trade (Development and Intelligence)
BT 107 Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Transcripts and Transactions, Series I
This series contains the register of shipping kept by the General Registry and Record Office of Seamen which, until 1855, consists of transcripts of the original registries, with manuscript notes of any subsequent changes of ownership, known as ‘transactions’, on the reverse
BT 110 Titanic: Transcripts and Transactions, Series IV, Closed Registries
Titanic: Name of Ship: TIG-TOL (second part), 1911-1920
BT 111 Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Transcripts and Transactions, Indexes to Transcripts
This series contains indexes to the transcripts of the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen and its predecessor. These indexes relate to BT 107 and BT 108
BT 124 Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Registers of Certificates of Service, Masters and Mates, Foreign Trade
Registers of Certificates of Service of masters and mates aboard foreign-going British merchant ships kept by the General Registry and Record Office of Seamen and its successor. These volumes register certificates which were awarded to already serving officers
BT 162 Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Annual Lists of Ships Registered
This series contains lists of registered ships from home and colonial ports, compiled annually by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen and its predecessor
CAB 21 Cabinet Office and predecessors: Registered Files (1916-1965)
A selection of registered files on various matters dealt with by the War Cabinet, the Cabinet and the Committee of Imperial Defence (post First World War)
CAB 25 Supreme War Council: British Secretariat: Papers and Minutes
Files and papers of the British Secretariat to the Supreme War Council
CAB 30 Cabinet Office: Washington (Disarmament) Conference, Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes and memoranda of the Washington Conference on Disarmament and on Pacific and Eastern questions held between November 1921 and February 1922, and its various committees, together with minutes and circulated papers of the British Empire Delegation
CAB 31 Cabinet Office: International Economic Conference of Genoa, Minutes and Memoranda
Minutes, memoranda and other papers of plenary sessions of the Conference held in April and May 1922, of its commissions and sub-commissions, and of the British Empire Delegation to the conference
CAB 61 Irish Boundary Commission (Feetham Commission): Records
Minutes, papers, correspondence and report of the Irish Boundary Commission, and records of oral and written evidence submitted to it
CAB 63 War Cabinet and Cabinet Office: Lord Hankey: Papers
Correspondence and papers accumulated by Lord Hankey during his career in public service which ended in 1942, although two files extend past this date
CAB 80 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Chiefs of Staff Committee: Memoranda
Memoranda seen by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, from September 1939 to December 1946
CAB 95 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Committees on the Middle East and Africa: Minutes and Papers (ME, A and other Series)
Minutes and papers of a variety of Committees and Sub-Committees on the Middle East and Africa
CAB 99 War Cabinet and Cabinet: Commonwealth and International Conferences: Minutes and Papers
Minutes and papers of proceedings of various Commonwealth and international conferences held between 1938-1945 as well as meetings of Dominion and Commonwealth ministers in London during the period. They include papers relating to the main wartime summits, such as the Moscow Conference 1941, Washington War Conference 1941-1942, London Conference of British and US Chiefs of Staff 1943, the Trident Conference in Washington and North Africa 1943 and the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences of 1945
CAB 131 Cabinet: Defence Committee: Minutes and Papers (DO, D and DC Series
This series consists of the minutes and papers of the Cabinet, Defence Committee. The minute books contain an internal subject index
CO 107 Colonial Office: Griqualand West, Original Correspondence
This series contains original correspondence relating to Griqualand West
CO 110 Colonial Office: Guadeloupe Original Correspondence and Accounts 1758-1816
Guadeloupe, otherwise a French dependency, was occupied by the British from 1759-1763, from 1810-1814, and from 1815-1816. The records include entry books, public accounts and vouchers, and shipping returns
CO 207 Colonial Office and Predecessors: New South Wales Entry Books Relating to Convicts 1788-1868
The entry books contain alphabetical lists of convicts with particulars 1788-1842, savings bank ledgers for convicts 1824-1868 and letters to and from the Superintendent of convicts 1824-1827 and 1854-1867. The original documents were transferred to Archives Authority of New South Wales
CO 336 Colonial Office and Predecessor: Registers of Correspondence for the Cape of Good Hope 1850-1910
These registers will help you identify original correspondence held in the series CO 48 relating to the Cape of Good Hope
CUST 4 Ledgers of Imports 1809-1899
Information grouped by the exporting country providing details on quantities, official values and gross duties on imported items
CUST 10 Ledgers of Exports of Foreign and Colonial Merchandise Under Countries
These ledgers of exports of foreign and colonial merchandise show, under the countries to which they were exported, the quantity and value of the several articles shipped from British ports and, until 1870, whether in British or foreign ships
CUST 17 Inspector General of Imports and Exports 1772-1808
Yearly statistical tables giving detailed information on navigation, commerce and revenue
DEFE 3 Admiralty: Operational Intelligence Centre: Intelligence from Intercepted German, Italian and Japanese Radio Communications, WWII
File copies of teleprinter messages. The various series of messages are of two distinct types: intercepted signals, decrypted, translated, and sent from the German Naval Section of the Admiralty’s Naval Intelligence Division at Bletchley Park to the division’s Operational Intelligence Centre in the Admiralty; and summaries of intelligence derived from such signals sent to the War Office, Air Ministry and overseas commands. These signals became known as ULTRA
F 30 Forestry Commission: Censuses of Woodlands: Microfilm of Maps
Six-inch Ordnance Survey County Series maps showing woodland which was assessed in the 1947-1949 and 1952-1959 surveys of private woodland undertaken by the Forestry Commission
FO 84 Foreign Office: General correspondence of the Slave Trade Department and successors before 1906
Correspondence and other papaers of the Slave Trade and African Departments
FO 115 Titanic: Foreign Office: Embassy and Consulates, United States of America: General Correspondence
Titanic disaster – Treasury decisions
FO 611 Foreign Office: Chief Clerk’s Department and Passport Office: Passport Registers Indexes of Name
Indexes of names of passport holders, giving the serial number and date of issue of each passport. There are no indexes for the period 1863-1873
FO 800 Foreign Office: Private Office Papers
Private office papers of secretaries of state (1900-1938) and undersecretaries of state (1886-1948) and miscellaneous papers relating to foreign affairs
HO 9 Registers of the convicts in the hulks and a letter book relating to the establishment of the hulks, 1847-1849
Registers of the convicts in the hulks and a letter book relating to the establishment of the hulks, 1847-1849
HO 10 Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania: Records
Lists of the male and female convicts and former convicts in the colonies
HO 11 Home Office: Convict Transportation Registers
Lists of convicts transported in various ships, giving the dates of their convictions
HO 40 Home Office: Disturbances Correspondence
Home Office original correspondence, military and other reports, précis of information, impounded pamphlets and other papers relating to riots, disturbances, and political activities and writings
HO 42 Home Office: Domestic Correspondence, George III
Original Home Office domestic letters
HO 52 Home Office: Counties Correspondence
Original Home Office correspondence and papers from magistrates, officers and other county authorities, from municipal corporations, and so on
HO 73/51-53 Correspondence between the Home Office and the Poor Law Commission 1835-1840 including copies of reports from Assistant Poor Law Commissioners
There are six pieces but only three have been digitised. These papers include reports on a wide range of social and economic subjects. Find detailed piece descriptions in our catalogue.
HO 129 Home Office: Ecclesiastical Census Returns
Ecclesiastical census returns of churches and chapels, endowments, sittings, estimated attendances on 30 March 1851 and average numbers during the preceding twelve months. In a few cases the papers include returns of the educational census, 1851
IR 1 Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books
Registers kept by the Board of Stamps of the moneys received in payment of the duty on apprentices’ indentures under the statute of Anne c5 and subsequent acts
IR 27 Indexes to Registers of Legacy Duty, Succession Duty and Estate Duty kept by theEstate Duty Office and predecessors
Indexes to the Estate Duty Office registers, recording legacy, estate and succession duties in IR 26
J 54 Titanic: Supreme Court of Judicature: High Court of Justice, Chancery, Common Pleas, Exchequer and Queen’s Bench Divisions: Pleadings
Titanic: Supreme Court of Judicature: High Court of Justice, Chancery, Common Pleas, Exchequer and Queen’s Bench Divisions: Pleadings
KV 1 The Security Service: First World War Historical Reports and Other Papers
This series contains the official history of the Security Service work during World War I compiled at the request of the Committee of Imperial Defence. The duties of the Security Service were principally the control of aliens within and entering the UK, and counter-espionage within the UK and within the Empire
MEPO 4 Metropolitan Police: Office of the Commissioner: Miscellaneous Books and Papers
The series of Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s miscellanea includes: register of manning returns, complaints by members of the public, estimates, office regulations, Daily Police Reports, register of officers’ warrant numbers, attestation ledgers, certificate of service records, register of widows’ pensions, etc., criminal return book, a precedent book, papers relating to the Commissioner’s Office and his annual reports from 1926 to 1981, handbooks and manuals, arrangements for the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, state weddings and funerals, posters and publicity material, war diaries, Metropolitan Police lists, minutes of the Metropolitan Police New Headquarters Steering Committee, and the report of the 1903 committee on Metropolitan Police accommodation
MINT 13/3 Royal Mint: Coinage Colonial and Foreign. Letter from K Trenor to the Deputy Master commenting on the pars of exchange since 1785, and enclosing a copy of the Colonial Par of Exchange for 1837
MINT 19/4-6 Papers of Sir Isaac Newton as Warden and then Master of the Mint 1700-1726
MINT 19/6 is a calendar to the whole series
MT 9 Titanic: Board of Trade and Ministry of Transport and successors: Marine, Harbours and Wrecks (M, H and W Series) Files
Titanic: This series consists of correspondence and papers of the Marine Departments of the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Shipping, the Ministry of War Transport, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation
MT 15 Titanic: Board of Trade and Ministry of Transport and Successor Bodies: Consultative Marine (M, CB, and CM Series) Files
Titanic: This series contains correspondence and other papers of the Marine Survey Service and the Consultative Marine Branch of the Board of Trade and its successors relating to survey and inspection of ships, engines, boilers, wireless, and so on in the interest of safety. Some files contain plans of ships
PREM 2/105,110 Prime Minister’s Office: Honours lists and papers. Only Gallantry awards for 1940-41 are on digital microfilm
Use our catalogue to search the rest of the series
PROB 10 Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Other Probate Jurisdictions: Bundles of Original Wills and Sentences
These are the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills for 1643-1646 proved at Oxford, for which there are no copies in PROB 11. The wills are pieces PROB 10/639-642
RG 43 General Register Office: Indexes to Miscellaneous Foreign Returns of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Indexes to the non-statutory registers and returns in RG 32 to RG 36, and to certain Army and Statutory registers retained by the Registrar-General
T 1 Titanic: Treasury: Treasury Board Papers and In-Letters
Titanic: Original correspondence of the Board of Treasury and of letters to the Treasury together with reports and draft minutes
T 185 Committee on Currency and Foreign Exchange (Cunliffe Committee): Minutes and Reports
Original correspondence of the Board of Treasury and of letters to the Treasury together with reports and draft minutes
T 200 Committee on Finance and Industry (Macmillan Committee): Records
All the surviving documents of the Committee on Finance and Industry (Macmillan Committee). Includes a list of of Committee members
TS 27 Titanic: Treasury Solicitor and HM Procurator General: Treasury and Miscellaneous; Registered Files (T & M Series)
Titanic: Compensation for dependants of Post Office Officers who died in the loss of SS Titanic
WO 25 War Office and predecessors: Secretary-at-War, Secretary of State for War, and Related Bodies, Registers
Entry books and registers of the Secretary-at-War and the Secretary of State for War and also a few kept by independent or subordinate departments
WO 42 War Office: Officers’ Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers
Certificates of birth, baptism, marriage and death, with wills, administrations, statements of services and personal papers of officers and their families, in cases where the officer died on service or on half pay and his widow applied for a pension, or application was made for a child’s compassionate allowance
WO 65 War Office: Printed Annual Army Lists
These official lists give the names of the officers of the several regiments with the dates of their commissions and so on. Lists have been officially posted up with manuscript corrections
WO 76 War Office: Records of Officers’ Services
This series comprises records of officers’ services. The records give the different ranks held by the officer and his services, together with certain personal particulars. The dates listed for the series overlap and may not be reliable
WO 100 War Office: Campaign Medal and Award Rolls
This series comprises original lists submitted by regiments and units of officers and men entitled to campaign medals and clasps
WO 102 War Office: Long Service and Good Conduct Awards, Registers
Download registers of candidates noted for, and recipients of, the Long Service and Good Conduct awards between 1831 and 1953
WO 144 War Office: Inter-Allied Armistice Commission: War Diary, and Despatches of Chief of British Delegation 1918-1920
You can download the reports made by the Inter-Allied Armistice Commission between 1918 and 1920. View the full list of pieces within WO 144
WO 229 War Office: Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and 21 Army Group, 1943-1945
You can download copies of documents originating with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and 21 Army Group relating to a variety of headquarters responsibilities. View the full list of pieces within WO 229
WO 338 War Office: Officers’ Services, Index to Long Number Papers, 1870-1922
This series contains the indexes used to identify the Long Number by which the First World War army officer’s service records are organised in WO 339
WO 343 War Office: South East Asia Command British Army Aid Group, China. Papers of Col Lindsay Tasman Ride CBE 1942-1945
Please note some are retained by Ministry of Defence under the Security and Intelligence blanket retention schedule
WO 357 War Office: South East Asia Command, War Crimes Branch: Record Cards 1945-1948
A collection of record cards which record progress in war crimes investigations and prosecutions by the War Crimes Branch, South East Asia Command
WO 373 Recommendations for Honours and Awards 1935-1990
You can view whole pieces from WO 373, which contains recommendations for honours and awards, 1935-1990. These pieces are arranged by theatre of war and date, although some of the pieces are indexed by name in the Catalogue. We have made the recommendations available to view as whole pieces, free of charge. This is because the original documents are quite complex, and it was not possible to index all of the series by name. You can also view individual entries from the series WO 373, for a fee of £3.50. This fee covers the cost of transcribing each of the 80,000 recommendations by name. For more information about this collection, you can read our guide to recommendations for honours and awards
WO 389 War Office and Ministry of Defence: Military Secretary’s Department: Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross Registers 1911-1982
WORK 39 Office of Works: Ancient Monuments Inspectorate: Pitt Rivers’ Sketch Books 1878-1890
This series contains books of sketches and notes made during a visit to Brittany in 1878 to 1879 and in the British Isles, 1883 to 1890, by Lieut-General Pitt Rivers (formerly Lane Fox). The volumes are concerned with both his private excavations and official works