1939 Register

The 1939 Register is the most important census substitute of the early 20th century. On 29th September 1939, as Britain faced the certainty of war, householders were given a card to fill out answering questions that would give the Government to a breakdown of the population and assess their needs, a process that would culminate in the setting up of the NHS.

This information would inform their decisions on identity cards, rationing, conscription and more. In 2015, for the first time, Findmypast in partnership with The National Archives are publishing the 1939 Register online, providing an unprecedented insight into a country on the verge of war.

The Census Act of 1920 provides that no UK census can be made available for the public to view until 100 years after being taken. Owing to World War 2, there is a 30 year gap between available censuses. This is significant, as it means a three decade-long gap between surviving censuses. The 1939 Register bridges that gap.