Have a go at National Archives webinars

SOLD OUT webinar for ‘Using the National Register of 1939
I recently took part in one of the webinars organised by The National Archives – in this case ‘Using the National Register of 1939‘.  These ‘webinars’ are a relatively new service and offer a combination of a live broadcast and an element of interactivity as you can pose questions during and after the broadcast. I have signed up for a couple of these now and they have been a useful introduction to similar topics – I’d recommend having a go!

In this instance we were introduced to this significant newly available register, compiled in the autumn of 1939 and used to prepare the nation for the introduction of identity cards and ration books at the very beginning of World War 2.

Bombed out family cross the road with their belongings
(catalogue reference: INF 2/1) from National Archives online

Unlike the census process, there is less emphasis on the birthplace of individuals but more accurate data was collected as to birth dates and skills/experience, in addition to occupation. The military were enumerated separately to the general population. These registration volumes were kept at a government department in Blackpool and continued to be updated manually with changes of name and notification of death until the NHS computerisation projects of the early 1990s!

Searches produce images of whole pages (not just individuals) and comprise the left hand page of a two-sided record. However, a good many entries are deemed to be ‘closed’ records on the following basis – anyone born less than 100 years ago and who is still alive. Thus the records will be ‘opened’ successively as time passes and as the individuals concerned pass away.

The powerpoint attachment from The National Archives expands on these issues and provides a number of examples. The records are available on ‘Find My Past’ on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.

Seasons Greetings! Alison Smith