Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: National Archives old/new file references

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    2,517
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default National Archives old/new file references

    Gentlemen,

    I'm familiar with the current filing system used by the National Archives, but the references are not consistent with old file numbers. For example I have an old file reference 'A.M.File S.96904 (it's in respect of wind forecasts for Bomber Command); I'd like to view it but obviously it's nothing like the current numbering system. Is there any catalogue that enables one to cross reference between old and new files?

    TIA
    Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    4,520
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 36 Times in 33 Posts

    Default Air 2/5029 S96904

    Tah dah

    AIR 2/5029 OPERATIONS: General (Code B, 55/1): Bomber operations: supply of wind information by Meteorological Office

    Scope and content OPERATIONS: General (Code B, 55/1): Bomber operations: supply of wind information by Meteorological Office
    Covering dates 1943-1946
    Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years
    Former reference (Department) S96904 ID/46/1702
    Held by The National Archives, Kew

    Now, I only found it by searching for the word 'wind' under AIR and there only 87 hits!

    Note the old file reference is given but I don't think that's a searchable field.
    I searched for 96904 and S96904 and neither worked.

    Dennis
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 28th August 2008 at 22:50. Reason: Correcting terrible typing errors
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    4,520
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 36 Times in 33 Posts

    Default Advanced search

    At the search screen, click on advanced options, then the Advanched search tab, and down the form there is a 'Former reference (Department)' field.

    Click all the tick boxes at the top of the form, and

    it finds the files using

    "S96904 ID/46/1702"

    but not with S96904 or S96904*

    but play around with it, I'm it works that way also.

    Dennis

    Always look for advanced feature on these things.
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 28th August 2008 at 22:51. Reason: Typos
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    2,517
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default

    Many thanks Dennis - it's obviously a case of finding the right keyword for a search. The thing is that I have a number of old references I'd like to access (and could use a variety of keywords) and a catalogue would make matters so much easier.

    Perhaps I should have addressed the query to the NA - in fact I will. If there is a catalogue I'll post the reference here.

    Cheers, and thanks again.

    Brian

    Just seen your second post - mucho gracias

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,011
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default

    I see that Dennis posted a good answer while I was composing mine, but if you have other queries this might be of use. Apologies if I am repeating what has already been posted.

    The digital catalogue has an ‘advanced’ feature which allows searches including ‘old reference’ criteria (I tried yours and drew a blank). I have had some success with using old file numbers, but it is hit and miss. The staff at the help desk sometimes pull a rabbit out of their hats, but not often for some reason with WW11 era old file refs.

    However, there is another trick that sometimes works: in the digital (online) catalogue, select the advanced search option and …
    (1) tick all the boxes in the first field, marked 'Select catalogue levels (Mandatory)'.
    (2) enter the department heading you think the file is now under (AVIA, AIR, DEFE etc) in the box at the bottom of that same field.
    (3) in the next field, 'Which fields do you want to search?', go to 'Content and Background' and enter a key word from the new files title or description (make a guess, they are usually named something obvious) in the box marked 'Scope and Content',
    (4) and lastly, still in the same field, enter some dates that will bracket the date on the document in the two boxes marked 'Start date' & 'End date'.

    If needed, repeat step two with alternates. If this search works, it will catch your document in a net and it may appear as one of a hundred: if you are lucky, and with a key word like meteorological you might be, it will a much smaller number. I ran a test and got 275 hits for AIR files between 01/01/1941 and 01/01/1942 with keyword ‘meteorological’. It isn’t perfect but it gives a manageable number of files to trawl through instead of starting from scratch.

    Hope this helps,

    Bruce

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    483
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Thank you

    I would just like to add my thanks to Dennis and also to Bruce I have been trying to crack this one for a few years now and I have to say that I have asked the desk staff about it several times in the past without getting much help to be honest.

    There is just one tidbit to add which is that the old file reference does still appear on quite a few entries in the old paper index in the red binders this does work if you know the correct general area in which to look. However as the paper index is being replaced by new pages the old file refs seem to be omitted from the new page.

    Thanks again both

    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    2,517
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default

    To be honest I'm still not getting anywhere. The reply I've just received from the NA is along the lines suggested by Dennis and Bruce ie

    "You can try searching by former reference on the following page of the catalogue:
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp?SearchType=2

    Scroll roughly halfway down and enter the former reference in the "Former reference (department)" field. You will also need to select a catalogue level to search within, at the top of the page. You may need to try different levels in order to obtain the modern reference."

    Which I've tried but still I'm not getting any hits.

    I can't for the life of me understand why there isn't a simple sequence in which one enters an old file reference and is presented with the current one. It must be so easy to program; failing that it can't be that difficult to create a catalogue of old references that can be scrolled to find the current file.

    Whinge over - I'm just not very bright.

    Apologies Bruce - many thanks for your advice.

    Brian

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,011
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default

    Brian
    Don't despair, you are not the first to have this frustration, and you will not be the last. I thought Dennis was very clever to find the report you first asked for (AIR 2/5029 ) but I think that, for any others, if the old reference doesn't come up on the advanced search then you just have to use the process we have described to narrow the field and then pick out the ones you like.

    Can I suggest you send me a PM with all the data you have: dates, name of report(s), old file refs etc.? I will try my tricks and email back the search results.

    Bruce

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •