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1939 Register online at FMP

This article was posted in Essex Resources, Miscellaneous, UK History.

FindmMypast in conjunction with the National Archives have published the 1939 Register for England and Wales. This Register is a very useful database for researching your ancestors as it goes some way towards bridging the information gap caused by there being no census records between 1922 and 1951.

Furthermore, the 1921 census is not due to be released until 2022. Extracts from the 1939 Register were previously only available by application to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and then only for a deceased person.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the National Registration Act 1939 required a national registration of the civilian population of England and Wales as at 29 September 1939. The registration was needed to help to administer the issue of identity cards and ration books. The registration books are arranged in National Registration Number order and address. The Register reveals the whereabouts of the civilian population on a specific date. Serving members of the forces do not appear in the Register although members of the reserves auxiliary forces or civil defence services may be listed.

There are over 7000 volumes, each containing up to 2000 residences. Over 40 millions names appear. The information supplied was as follows:

  • National Registration number
  • Residence
  • Surname
  • First Forename
  • Other Forename(s)/Initial(s)
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation, profession, trade or employment
  • Membership of Naval, Military or Air Force Reserves or Auxiliary Forces or of Civil Defence Services or Reserves

The provision of a date of birth is extremely useful as this can narrow down the search for a birth certificate to a specific quarterly volume. In addition, because the register was updated at least until 1948, provision of the change of name following marriage will also help narrow down searches.

There are two downsides to the Register. The first is because of data protection; if a person would now be under 100 years old then the information is redacted (hidden). These entries will be reviewed regularly by Findmypast as time goes on. The other downside is that on launch it will cost £6.95 per household or £24.95 for a 5 household bundle (£4.99 per household). It does not form part of the normal Findmypast subscription.

Whatever the price, though, this is certainly a welcome additional of a new database for the family tree researcher.

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