Tharston sign

Information # 2

Title:1939 Registration
Description:1939 Register, 29 September 1939
Detail:The 1939 Register was taken on 29 September 1939. The information it gathered was used to (1) produce identity cards, (2) when rationing was introduced in January 1940, to issue ration books, (3) to administer conscription and the direction of labour, and (4) to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation. It captured the details of every member of the civilian population on the specific date. Military persons were not recorded. Whilst the 1939 Register is not truely a census, it was arranged along similar lines and includes similar, but less detailed, information. It does show exact dates of birth where the 10 yearly census returns simply give a person's age. Registration of members of the armed forces was dealt with by the military authorities. So the Register does not include service personnel in the army, navy and air force, nor does it include members of the armed forces billeted in private homes, including their own homes. As conscription did not begin in earnest until January 1940, most people who subsequently served in the armed forces during the Second World War were still civilians in September 1939. Over the following decades and from 1948, it was the basis for the National Health Service Register. The 1939 Register is an extremely important genealogical resource, not only for the rich detail and information recorded for each person and household, but also in helping to bridge a thirty-year gap in census data. The census taken in 1931 was destroyed during the Second World War and no census was carried out in 1941 due to the ongoing conflict.
Other linksThe National Archives
National Registration Act 1939
Who Do You Think You Are
The Guardian - The 1939 register: a tale of a country on the eve of world war

Page last updated: 16 May 2022
© Nigel Peacock 2022
Tharston Past Data Project