Friday, 6 November 2015

The 1939 Register

On Monday 2 November, the much anticipated 1939 Register was released through Find My Past. The register was taken on 29 September 1939, only a matter of weeks after the Second World War was declared. From the Register, Identity Cards were issued to each and every citizen and it also played a part in the formation of the National Health Service. 

Due to the 100-year rule, the names and information of those born after 1915 has been redacted. The Register was actually updated for some people up until 1991, so there are some results for people born after 1915 if they have since died. 

Sadly Find My Past were not able to publish the Scottish Register, so I am not able to find my paternal grandfather and his family yet. 


I had some difficulty locating my paternal grandmother's family, the Storeys, at first. She and all of her siblings were born after 1915, so I did not expect to find them, however her parents were born in 1887 and 1893. I knew that the family would be living in New Sandridge, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. I eventually did find them under STONEY, so I have e-mailed Find My Past to try and rectify this mistranscription. 

I found my Great Grandparents, Robert Mavin and Mary A Minnie Storey living exactly where I knew they were. Three of their four children are present, although blanked out due to being born post-1915. One son of theirs I know to have been in the Royal Air Force, so he is possibly the one child missing. 

Robert M Storey is listed as a 'Master Builder', and his wife Minnie is down as 'Unpaid House Duties'. Minnie's birthdate is given as 5 September 1892, so is a year out.

Living across the road from Robert and Minnie, was old Adam Storey - my 2x Great Grandfather. Like with Robert and Minnie, I knew exactly where Adam would be. His dear wife Jane Mavin had died eight years before, so Adam is described as a Widower on the Register. He is also a 'Retired Fishsalesman'. 

Another person is living with Adam, although I can't be sure who that is as they are redacted. I think it might be one of his granddaughters who was known to care for him. 

The Register also gives Adam's birthdate as 11 September 1853 which is fantastic. I was originally told this birthdate by my grandmother. Adam was known as the Grand Old Man, but sadly I was not able to prove his birthdate before, as it appears his birth was never registered by his parents. 


I next turned to my maternal grandparents, Albert Victor and Sarah Jane Quinnin. I found them where I knew they'd be, living at 41 Jackson Street, Annitsford. Their first two children are with them, although redacted due to them being born in 1937 and 1939, respectively. Both of these children have died in recent years. 

My Grandma was actually born in June 1916, so under the 100-year rule she should have been redacted. My guesses are that somehow my Grandma's information was updated to say that she died in 1984, or it's just a simple mistranscription. 

My Granddad is a 'Public Works Labourer' which fits with what I knew already, and my Grandma is noted as 'Unpaid Domestic Duties'. 

When looking for my Great Grandparents I had no idea where they would be. They were actually living in 5 Wallridge Cottages, Matfen where they ended their days. I imagined that the family had first moved there in the mid-1940s, so this was a surprise to me. 

My Great Grandfather Martin was a 'General Labour', with my Great Grandmother Margery described as 'Household duties unpaid'. Two of my great uncles were living with them, with my uncle Martin (Barty) described as a 'Quarryman Heavy Worker'. My uncle Alex is described as an 'Invalid'. Family members who remember uncle Alex described him as resembling my Granddad in height and build, and showing no signs of a physical disability. He did however die when he was only 49. 

One possibility is that Alexander was described as an 'Invalid' in order to save him from the war and conscription by his parents. This is total guess and personally I'd say not likely in this case, but still a possibility.


I knew where my other maternal Great Grandparents would be, and true enough I found James and Sarah Jane Harbertson living at 5 Orange Street, Annitsford. 

James is described as being a 'General Labourer' with Sarah Jane undertaking 'Unpaid Domestic Duties'. There are four people living with my Great Grandparents who have been redacted, but luckily I know who they all are. They are two great uncles and a great aunt (all deceased). The last is a granddaughter of James and Sarah Jane who was cared for by them. She is still living.  


There was a such a big hype during the lead-up to the release of the 1939 Register, which was slightly dampened when Find My Past announced their plans for the Register to be made available through the purchasing of credits. Myself, like many others were disappointed that the 1939 Register was not being made available through a subscription. The credits are also very expensive on top of the subscription, some actually saying they were exorbitant. 

The 1939 Register is still a fantastic resource however, and I've enjoyed going through and attempting to find aunts, uncles and cousins. It certainly fills a gap between the lost 1931 Census and the 1951 Census, the first taken after the war.

Hopefully in the near future the 1939 Register will be included in one of Find My Past's subscriptions and I will be able to find more family members.

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