1939 Register...in general.

The 1939 Register provides a snapshot of the civilian population of England and Wales just after the outbreak of the Second World War.

As the 1931 census for England and Wales was destroyed by fire during the Second World War and no census was taken in 1941, the Register provides the most complete survey of the population of England and Wales between 1921 and 1951, making it an invaluable resource for family, social and local historians.

The Register was taken on 29th September 1939. The information was used to produce identity cards and, once rationing was introduced in January 1940, to issue ration books. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription and the direction of labour, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation.

It was designed to capture the details of every member of the civilian population on a specific date - military personnel were not recorded. It contains details of around 40 million people, recorded in more than 65,000 volumes.

These records do include the civilian populations of England and Wales, members of the armed forces on leave and civilians on military bases.

They do not include the civilian populations of:

the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

For each individual the following details are included:

  • address

  • schedule number

  • sub number

  • surname

  • first name(s)

  • role (for institutions only)

  • gender

  • date of birth

  • marital status

  • occupation

www.national.archives.co.uk