In September 1939, at the beginning of WWII, it was necessary for the Government to list the population of England and Wales. To issue identity cards and ration books, the 1939 Register was produced and enumerators recorded those living in each household on 29th September. By address, we see the names of those present, their date of birth, marital status, occupation, and any role which they had in the war effort. That could be as an air raid warden, ambulance driver, having work in vital communications or being in military service.
|St Mary's Road, Camberley, Surrey |
The register was subsequently annotated with changes of surname, specifically for women who later married, and sometimes years of death. Amendments are usually recorded with a date when evidence was submitted to the authorities. This makes it a very useful source for family historians and genealogists who are researching what became of a person after WWII. It may be one of the few ways of obtaining a birthday without identifying the relevant birth registration and obtaining a copy of the certificate.
|Arthur, Reg & Edith Swinfield about 1954 |
with Susan "Cissie" Worsfold (1879-1957)
As people died, their deaths were supposed to be notified to those who then maintained the Register. That was the duty of their doctor and became almost a voluntary responsibility. It was later neglected altogether.
|My grandparents at 9 St Mary's Road. Reg Swinfield, my father, born in 1925, is still living and "redacted". (Family 5)|
The 1939 Register has now been digitised through the National Archives and made available online at FindMyPast, a commercial website. It is indexed by name and can be searched by date of birth and place of residence. Not all of those who appear in the Register have information which is available for public inspection. The entries for those who would not yet be 100 years of age (i.e. born after 1915), and where no evidence has yet been provided that they have now died, have been "redacted". The information is hidden under a black line.
At present, 199 people have "open" records and can be identified as members of our Swinfield families. Their details have been added to the compiled pedigrees.
|The large Swinfield family at 16 Mount Avenue, Leicester (RG101/6009C/018/9) (Family 4A)|
Three of the ten children of George and Naomi are still redacted.
If any of you would like to see the entry for your relatives in England, recording them in late September 1939, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can try to find them for you.