ARA Announces New Archives Card

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today announcesthe development of a new Archives Card for England and Wales, having securedthe commitment of 41 public and private bodies that will make the projectfinancially viable.

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ARA Announces Development of New Archives Card

Boost to Family History and Local Researchers from April 2019
One Card to Access 41 Archives and County Record Offices in England and Wales
Former CARN and Wales Reader Ticket System to Close

10 August 2018

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today announces the development of a new Archives Card for England and Wales, having secured the commitment of 41 public and private bodies that will make the project financially viable.

The new Archives Card will enable local researchers to use one personalised card to explore the richness and variety of local archives and record offices from Northumberland to Dorset, and Ceredigion to Norfolk. The new Card will take six months to develop and will then require a short period for testing and ensuring that the required equipment and materials are dispatched to participating services. It will then launch formally in April 2019.

The new Card will be free to individuals who register for it online. Registration and applications will start in 2019. The ARA will announce details on precisely when – and on how - to do this later this year.

John Chambers, the ARA’s CEO said:

“The new Archives Card will be more convenient for users, eg it has an automatic reader facility and offers updated security features and data protection compliance, reassuring cardholders and participating services that their data is safe. The Card will give researchers flexibility to access research material in multiple locations and make it easier for people to access important statutory environmental, planning, etc. records that serve the public interest. The Archives Card also offers local services an opportunity to attract more members of the public to explore the wonderful documentary heritage on their doorsteps.”

We very much hope that the Archives Card will improve user experience and convenience and that more services will choose to participate from 2019 onwards, including in Scotland and Ireland.”

CARN Reader Ticket and Welsh Reader Ticket to Close

The Archives Card will replace the long-standing CARN reader ticket and Welsh Reader Ticket schemes. These schemes will be closing to new applications for registration.


The ARA acknowledges the commitment of the founding 41 archive services and record offices (listed below), many of whom face significant financial pressures, and support from the Welsh Government, the Family History Societies’ Federation (FFHS) and an anonymous donor, all of whom have enabled us to meet the set-up costs of the new Archives Card.

Steve Benson, Chair of the Federation of Family History Societies, said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to help get the new Archives Card off the ground. Many of our 160-plus societies' members were dedicated users of the old CARN reader ticket and found it very beneficial. They will find a new, updated card that will enable them to do research at multiple record offices convenient and welcome. I would hope that those services that have not yet signed up will do so in time, as they understand the benefits it will offer to our members and those of other grass-roots organisations.

Key objectives of the Federation of Family History Societies include funding and organising projects for the benefit of family historians, and the preservation, security and accessibility of archival material. We will continue to encourage member societies to liaise with their local archives and other organisations to ensure that family history is promoted positively and that archives are preserved and made accessible to family history researchers. Anyone interested in finding out more about our work, please visit

The ARA further acknowledges the financial sponsorship of Ancestry, which will help reduce the annual subscription costs for participating services in the first three years of the new scheme.

Miriam Silverman, Senior Content Manager at Ancestry said:

“We are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with the ARA to support the valuable and innovative work they do, bringing history discoveries to people across the country. The ARA’s work is incredibly important and we hope that the new Archives Card will assist local researchers enjoy the extraordinary depth of archival record collections that are available nationwide.”


The new Archives Card is based on the iMIS platform, selected after an open tender process in 2017 as the best-value, best-service and best-technology option.

Contract Management and Service Delivery

The ARA will manage the administration of the new Archives Card to ensure maximum efficiency and to minimise costs and management overheads for participating services.

Notes for editors:

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) is the leading professional and membership body for records managers, archivists and archive conservators in the UK and Republic of Ireland. For further details on the ARA or the Archives Card, see: or contact Jon Elliott (Head of Public Affairs) on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07587 635402.

The founding archives and county record offices committing to the new Archives Card are:
St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Berkshire Record Office, Birmingham City Archives, Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Cambridgeshire Archives, Canterbury Cathedral Archives, Cardiff University, Ceredigion Record Office, Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, Conwy Archive Service, Coventry History Centre, Cumbria Record Office (all branches), Denbighshire Record Office, Derbyshire Record Office, Dorset History Centre, Essex Record Office, Flintshire Record Office, Gloucestershire Archives, Gwent Archives, Gwynedd Archives Service, Hampshire Record Office, Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre, Isle of Wight Record Office, Lancashire Record Office, Leicestershire, Rutland & Leicester Record Office, Norfolk Record Office, Northumberland Archives, Oxfordshire Record Office, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Peterborough Archives Service, Richard Burton Archives, Southwark Record Office, Staffordshire Archives, Surrey History Centre, Teesside Archives, Warwickshire County Record Office, West Glamorgan Record Office, West Sussex Record Office, Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, Ynys Mon - Anglesey Record Office