Recently in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, through a Freedom of Information request, the 1939 National Register has become available to researchers. You can only get it for people who are deceased and you need a name and address to request the information.
The information gathered was to provide everyone with their National Identity Card and with the evacuations and mobilization it needed to be done quickly. The date was 29 September 1939.
The questions asked were name, address, gender, birth date, marital status, occupation and whether you had any membership in any kind of military forces which included Civil Defense Services and a like.
In England the fee to get this information is 43 GBP. In Scotland you would pay 13 GBP.
Since the register entries became available in England and Scotland, Northern Ireland has also started to release their information. It is not as easy to get the information yet, mainly because of the large amount of files and the fact that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is getting ready for a big move and will be closed from September 2010 to May 2011. You can read a description of how to order the registration from Northern Ireland at the Scottish Genealogy News and Events blog. I would recommend reading this blog regularly if you have Scottish ancestors.
Remember one thing – this is only for Northern Ireland. The war was after Home Rule and the South of Ireland was not officially involved in the Second World War.
What I find very interesting is that this information is only coming to light now in the United Kingdom. In Canada we had a similar national registration but ours is called the 1940 National Registration. The public have been able to order copies of this registration for a long time. You need to prove the person is deceased twenty years and a newspaper death notice is accepted. You also need to provide as much identifying information as possible. The fee is $47.25, which includes the GST, and will not be refunded if the search is negative. You can find details for ordering a copy at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.
I have ordered this information several times and it provides much more information than the 1939 National Registration. The information includes: name, address, age, date of birth, marital status, number of dependents, place and country of birth of individual and his or her parents, nationality, year of entry into Canada (if an immigrant), racial origin, languages, education, general health, occupation, employment status, farming or mechanical skills and previous military service.
There are two forms one for men and one for women. Copies of these can be found on the website. Every man and women 16 years of age and over had to complete these forms except for members of the armed forces, religious orders or those confined to an institution. If they died between 1940 and 1946 then it is possible that the form was destroyed. Try anyway because I know of some instances when this was not the case. It can also take upwards of three months to get the registration.
The information I received when I got the 1940 National Registration form was an abstract of basic information like name, place, age, etc, then a copy of the form that had been transcribed and a copy of the original form. I was very glad they sent the original because where the transcriber was not able to decipher the writing I could decipher it. The copy of the original is not very good but careful study can provide more accurate information.
If you are researching someone who was alive during this time period in Canada I would recommend getting a copy of their 1940 National Registration. It could prove to be very enlightening.
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