What is the significance of The National Archives reference number?


The National Archives' reference number is a unique identifier for a record or images of a record. It consists of a Piece number and Item number. An example of a 1939 Register Piece and Item number is: 1234a/123

The National Archives explains what a Piece and Item Number is here.

A reference number is provided with every unlocked record and using it as an Advanced Search can help you to return to it easily. Likewise, anyone with whom you share this reference will also be able to use it for searches; it could be a reference in someone's family tree, a reference in someone's research or one shared by a family member.

The National Archives reference numbers are displayed on purchased, unlocked records and, once a record or household has been unlocked and the reference number provided, it can be used as search criteria on the advanced search form. The piece level catalogue's reference numbers which are displayed on The National Archives' Discovery system will enable users to focus their searches accurately using the advanced search form. This will enable users to cite appropriately The National Archives' catalogue's references to images or information in the 1939 register in published works.

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