Monday 4 May 2020

Family History Detective Help Desk - the 1939 Register

If you have tracked down one of your ancestors born before 1920 in the UK you will probably be able to find them on the 1939 register.

The 1939 register was created just after the outbreak of the Second World War. It was very important in organising the war effort at home. It was kept up to date for over ten years to issue identity cards and organise food rations, and was used to set up registration for the new NHS in 1948.

This is what an entry from the 1939 register looks like.

What is the address of this household?

What is the surname of the family in this household? How many people were living there?
Can you see who the head of the household is? What was this person’s job?
Does anything about this record surprise you? 

To look at the 1939 Register yourself you can use the Ancestry website.
There are a number of boxes that you can fill out to find your ancestors on the 1939 register, the most important being their name, date or year of birth, and the street or town where they lived. 

If you don’t find them at first, try again using a different spelling of their name or widening your search to cover the entire county. This is where it helps to have an unusual name!

1 comment:

  1. I prefer to use the 1939 register on the Find My Past website (rather than Ancestry) as they open redacted records on a regular basis, and will also open redacted records for you free of charge if you can prove the person concerned has passed away.