1939 Register Information             


In December 1938 it was announced in the House of Commons that in the event of war, a National Register would be taken that listed the personal details of every civilian in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This Register was to be a critical tool in coordinating the war effort at home. It would be used to issue identity cards, organise rationing and more.

On September 3rd 1939, Britain declared war on Germany. With this declaration, on September 5th, the National Registration Act received royal assent and it was announced that National Registration Day would be September 29th.  

The 1939 Register, then represents one of the most important documents in 20th century Britain. This was mainly because the 1931 census was destroyed during an air raid on London and the 1941 census was never taken. The 1939 Register is therefore the only surviving overview of the civil population of England and Wales spanning the period 1921-1951.

Officially closed records  

The Register was updated until 1991 and, owing to privacy regulations, if people in the Register who were born less than 100 years and a day ago and are still alive, then the record was marked 'officially closed'.


Example of 1939 Register Image