Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: A is for … A2A (Access to Archives)

You might think hang on, what is she doing. Is she starting the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge again??  In short no, but let me explain. As I never actually did the letter A thanks to a lack of inspiration which lasted until about the letter J or so, and I really would like to complete the whole alphabet, I am doing it now. And I figured it was better to do it at the end, rather than right in the middle. So for my A post …

A is for … A2A (Access to Archives)

Some of you may have heard of the A2A website, others may not have. But for me it is one of the most amazing sites around.

As part of the UK’s National Archives, the A2A database contains indexed listings of items and documents that archives throughout England hold. These records date from the eighth century to the present day. While it contains an impressive 10.3 million records relating to 9.45 million items held in 418 record offices and other repositories, the estimate is that this is still only about 30% of all records that the archive repositories hold.

Even with only 10 million records (who am I kidding, 10 million records indexed is 10 million more than I would have known about had it not been for this site) this site is awesome.

On the opening search screen, you can type in a keyword such as a name or a place, and see what comes up. However if you click on Advanced Search you can narrow it down to include “all these words”, choose a date range, choose a place, select a repository, or select a region.

I nearly always just do the original search – to keep it broad, as you really have no idea what records will show up where.

The records that you can find via A2A is amazing … a quick search using the surname PHILLIPS, shows there is 27,210 records. Now I would need to narrow it down further with either another name or region. You’ll notice that each has a short description of the document, together with details of where this document is – so you know who to contact to get copies or further information.

On the A2A Access to Archives site you can find personal letters and collections, business records, land and property records, wills, court papers, parish records, bastardy bonds (child maintenance payments) – and pretty much anything else that is likely to have required paperwork. Below are the first 10 entries for the PHILLIPS search, which will give you an idea on the broad range of records.

Oxford University, Museum of Natural History: John Phillips (1800-1874): papers and drawings in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Contents Letters to Phillips, ordered chronologically (1815-1874), Phillips/Box 1-38 Undated letters to Phillips, Phillips/Box 39-41 Letters from Charles Darwin (1839-1860), Phillips/Box 43 Letters from Henry De la Beche (1830-1853), Phillips/Box 44 Transcriptions
These documents are held at: Oxford University, Museum of Natural History

Record book
payments made to Ninfield parishioners from private benefactors and from Fuller’s Blind Charity of Catsfield. The notes also explain the purposes of the Rev John Phillips Charity and the Mary Phillips Charity. The John Phillips Charity was established
These documents are held at: East Sussex Record Office

Answers to Interrogatories
that the plaintiff did live incontinently with Mr Edward Morris of Penybont. The plaintiff by the name of Frances Phillips widow purchased lands and paid for them and in other things acted by the name of Frances Phillipes widow. She purchased lands near
These documents are held at: Shropshire Archives

of 700 years is in trust to allow Margarett (if the marriage take place and after Phillip’s death) to receive from the rents £400 as her jointure, paying out of it any public taxes etc., proportionally; if Phillip die without male heirs by Margaret living,
These documents are held at: Shropshire Archives

Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir David Chilton Phillips, FRS b. 1924
is the extensive material assembled by Phillips for his Memoir of W.L. Bragg written for the Royal Society and published in 1979. Phillips found time to act as referee or editorial consultant to many publishing houses though he was obliged to decline very
These documents are held at: Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts

An abstract of Humphrey Sandford’s title deeds to the Isle Gate estate. 1688 Purchased by Humphrey Sandford of Mr. John Adams
the trustees and after the decease of Edward to the use of his first son and heirs, and in default of such issue to the use of Thomas Phillips son of Abraham Phillips of Salop Butcher, in default of his heirs to the use of the right heirs of Thomas Phillips,
These documents are held at: Shropshire Archives

Marriage settlement of Robert Adams and Hannah his wife.
Indenture between Thomas Phillips of the town of Salop gent. Dorothy his wife, and Hannah Phillips daughter and only child of Thomas Phillips 1st part, William Adams of Chatwell Staffs, Katherine and Robert Adams, wife and son and heir of William Adams
These documents are held at: Shropshire Archives

Information relating to document ref. no. SRO 1045/530
of Richard Phillips of Church Stretton yeoman, eldest son and customary heir of Thomas Phillips deceased, his heirs and assigns, and he was admitted. Richard Phillips and Anne Phillips widow of Thomas Phillips deceased surrendered the property to use of
These documents are held at: Shropshire Archives

Admiral Phillips prefaces his memoirs with the observation that he had decided to put his recollections on paper because, “I know of few from those who had a part in, and shared, the common dangers, the ‘men behind the men’.” Owen Phillips was born in
These documents are held at: Imperial War Museum Department of Documents

Prisoners: certificates of acquittal
Thomas Greenaway, William Harris, Thomas Evans, Ann Price, James Lewis, Joseph Hawkes, William Hodges, Hester Berriman, Luke Phillips, Stephen Hooper, William Davis, Elizabeth Wood, John Wood, Mary Dovey, John Dovey, Sarah Jones, Ann Day, Thomas Whittington,
These documents are held at: Gloucestershire Archives

So for all of your English family research make use of the A2A website. It is there, it is free, but just a note when requesting copies from the various archives, you may well have to pay (but hey, they house that record, and indexed it which without that you wouldn’t have known it even existed right … so paying a little for a copy, is no big deal).

Now go and have fun playing on A2A


2 Responses to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: A is for … A2A (Access to Archives)”

  1. Great post, Alona! Thanks for the info *hurries off to check A2A*

  2. Catherine says:

    Thanks for all that info Alona… Just brilliant!!!

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