UK Public Records Office #general


David Aron <davidaron@...>
 

I was interested to read about David Kravitz's visit to the UK Public
Records Office (PRO) last Friday and his problems with access.

As it happens I was in the PRO on Monday looking at the records of Isaac
ARONE a cousin who lived in Margate and who was responsible for looking
after my father when he came to the UK as a child before WW2. I was told
before my visit on the phone that records of both the naturalisation
certificate and the file were available. Isaac was naturalised in 1924.
I saw both the certificate and the file and the PRO made copies of the
documents.

Yesterday I had a call on my answer machine >from the PRO informing that
I had seen a restricted document being the files! I had noticed in passing
that the document had said restricted to 2025 but I assumed that the rules
had been changed to 75 years. The file was moderately interesting and my
cousin was a model citizen being a dentist and being vouched for by clergy
and a member of the Margate council. I did get the date and place of his
marriage in Vilnius, one of my favourite Eastern European towns. Oh yes
I have just breached the Official Secrets Act in saying that!

Our US friends will realise that this situation is plainly absurd. I am
intending to write to my local Member of Parliament (who happens to be
a Jewish barrister and a member of the UK government) to consider changing
these rules. It would be very helpful to know >from any US contacts what
are the procedures that govern access to naturalisation records in the USA.

Waiting for the knock on the door >from MI5 (our version of the CIA).

David Aron
London, UK

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