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Remembered Today:

The National Archives (Kew)


Tom Tulloch-Marshall
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Has anybody else had recent experience at TNA with regards to accessing the Red Lists (indexes) which have been withdrawn from public open areas ? - maybe also spoken with staff about access to a Red List ? - or spoken / corresponded with TNA ref the usabilility of "Discovery" compared with the Red Lists ?

Tom

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One argument excuse that TNA have used for not updating and withdrawing Red Lists is that Joe Public aren't interested and don't use them.

Looks like we really are swimming in a shallow pond.

Tom

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is that Joe Public aren't interested and don't use them.

I'd never heard of the Red Lists before this thread, let alone needed to access them on trips to Kew.

Joe

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You mean the red books where all the war diaries are listed numerically?

They are gone?

It's the only secure source to easily look up something.

Jan

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The lack of replies suggests not many people are aware of the Red Lists and why they should be retained. Can you please explain their importance?

The Red Lists are the TNA indexes which are bound in red folders and kept in the first floor enquiries area at Kew - the remnants of what used to be the PRO / TNA indexes to the archive holdings. TNA have been gradually whittling them down by removing volumes which cover "less used" record classes, and stopped updating the paper lists some years ago. Their reasoning - the digital index "Discovery" makes the paper lists redundant.

There are those of us who are a long way off sharing TNA's enthusiasm for "Discovery", - maybe in the way that some on this forum contribute to the topic about finding the worst indexing on "Ancestry".

My latest letter from TNA (17/12/14) regarding concerns about the WO339 indexes includes this - "... we have recently completed a significant catalogue enhancement of WO339 ..." - this in the same week as I have submitted yet another correction to the "enhanced" WO339 indexes where they have changed a man's forename and managed to confuse the East Surrey Regiment with the Royal West Surrey Regiment as the unit he served with. That's an enhancement ?

Looks like I'm posting this in the wrong place though.

Tom

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Thanks Tom.

I knew what they are and was aware of their removal but I'm afraid I haven't needed to look at them in hte 7 years I've been going to Kew. Admittedly, I did a big data grab from the old Catalogue before it was switched off.

It does look like you are correct about the lack of interest and replies here though.

Glen

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I believe these were pointed out to me by a member of staff when I visited (my visit of a couple of years ago?) but dismissed as being so out of date that they weren't worth using.

So I have not used them....

CGM

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I don't know what the plans are for the red index books, but I know that at least some of them are currently being used to check and order the contents of the war diary document boxes as part of the preparation for the NA digitisation of the war diaries.

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It does look like you are correct about the lack of interest and replies here though.

That would appear to be because only a very (extermely) small number of people posting here(*) seem to have much grasp of the workings of The National Archives and the way that much of the source material for what is discussed on this forum is being managed. That's a pity because the fewer the number who do take an interest the more chance there is of record accessibility being lost because of commercial expediency being applied over archival administration. (*I do realise that there are GWF members who havent posted here who have an A1 grasp of the situation).

I believe these were pointed out to me by a member of staff when I visited (my visit of a couple of years ago?) but dismissed as being so out of date that they weren't worth using.

So I have not used them....

Have you also shown a WW1 medal index card to a TNA staff member and asked them to explain it - and had the "explanation" that includes there being medal rolls which arent worth looking at because they add nothing to what the cards show ? Dont laugh, - one (no longer there) TNA staff member used to answer almost every WW1 enquiry that was put to h** with an "answer" which included going upstairs and looking at the trench maps. Didnt matter what the question was - trench maps.

Just because somebody wears a badge saying "HALFORDS" doesnt mean they know anything about bicycles !

Tom

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