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Welcome to the indexes of the National Register of Archives (NRA), which is maintained by The National Archives.

The indexes of the NRA offer a means of searching the catalogues and lists held within the NRA. This material provides information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records relating to British history. They can be consulted in The National Archives’ reading rooms, see Visit us for further information regarding access to The National Archives.

The NRA, as a collection of catalogues and lists, was established in 1945. It developed out of the Reports and Calendars, which the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts had been producing since its formation in 1869. The Reports and Calendars were originally produced to provide a survey of the nature and location of records relating to British history held in private hands throughout Britain. It was, in part, because of the extent of the material collected that the Historical Manuscripts Commission formed the NRA as a source for maintaining catalogues and lists.

In 1995 the indexes of the NRA were made available online. Since then, as more and more catalogues and lists have been made available electronically, the indexes have provided links to electronic catalogues.

The material in the NRA is collected in a number of ways: lists of records produced by institutions and organisations are sent to The National Archives, staff researching in their fields uncover material previously unknown and accession reports, which are collected annually, all provide sources of information that is entered into the indexes of the NRA.

The National Archives continues to map the location of manuscripts and records today as a result of the movement of records and, more importantly, because material is continually being produced and discovered. Records relating to British history are also regularly found in repositories throughout the world and are noted in the indexes of the NRA.

Currently there are over 44,000 unpublished lists and catalogues in the NRA.

For further information on the collection and dissemination of material in the NRA see Frequently Asked Questions.

To find out how to contribute to the NRA, please see our new online guidance.