18 February 2010

NHS IC Launches U.K. 1939 Register Service

Editor's note: The following information comes from Laurence Harris, Immediate Past Chairman - JGS Great Britain and professional genealogist. I found the cautions to be particularly worthy of note, especially the fact that a death certificate may not be sufficient evidence when requesting a record, combined with the fact that no refunds of the
£42 ( about $66 U.S.) will be given once the search is started. Be sure to read all instructions and cautions before making your request.

The NHS IC, England's Information Centre for Health and Social Care, has launched a service that provides access to previously unreleased information on the 1939 National Registration. As Great Britain has a 100 year rule before releasing census information, and the last UK census released is 1911 (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which released it in 2009, a bit ahead of the 100 years, this is a valuable genealogical resource for those who had ancestors living in England and Wales on September 29, 1939 -- the date of the enumeration. (See below for information on Scotland, which will not be released until 2011.) Data will only be released for those individuals who who have died and are now recorded as deceased.

According to the website, providing a death certificate may not be sufficient evidence. Because the entries are over 70 years, some of the entries may be incomplete or illegible, due to natural deterioration.

The National Health Service Information Center (NHS IC) is providing this information. The national registration was required by Parliament as an emergency measure at the beginning of World War II. This was the beginning of the requirement of identity cards that everyone was required to have. The registration number was assigned after everyone in the household after the following information was collected: names, sex, age, occupation, profession, residence, marriage status, membership in the military or civil defense.

For information on how to apply for the registration and more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/ydhsy67

The charge for searching for the information--regardless if it is found or not- is £42. No refunds will be given once the search is started.


The National Registration register has been kept secret because the 1939 Act prohibited publication of the information; but, thanks to an application under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act of 2002, that restriction has been reviewed, and details about people who have since died are now being made available. The fee is £13 plus evidence of the death of the person who is the subject of the enquiry. For information on where to send the inquiry, go to: http://tinyurl.com/yc3hpjs

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