1939 Register for Martham

Generally speaking, census records are not released until 100 years has passed (to protect personal data) but another similar record exists that is only just over 80 years old; The 1939 Register. In 1938 the threat of War was imminent. The 1931 census material had been lost in a fire so official population records were not available post 1921. The Government decided that more up-to-date information was needed to prepare for War and it was decided a National Register would be taken that listed the personal details of every civilian in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This Register was to be a critical tool in co-ordinating the war effort. It was used to issue identity cards, organise rationing and more. The National Registration Day was 29th September 1939. Details from this register have been made publicly available before the passing of 100 years because legally speaking it is not a census. Some records have been blanked out, or kept private, where an individual is under 100 years old and may still be alive.

This can be a really excellent record because it remained in use for many years after the war. It became the register for the new National Health Service in 1947 and was kept up to date for entitlement purposes. This means that in most cases if a lady married you will see her maiden name crossed through and her married name recorded in green ink and sometimes the date of marriage was also entered. You can see an example of this by looking at page one in the album below. Under record number TRAK 1/5 you will see Margaret J Grimes and after 1939 she got married so the entry has been crossed through and her married name of Symonds entered in green with a marriage date of 29th May 1961. This shows that the register was still in use an amazing 22 years after its original purpose and continued to be so until the NHS obtained computer records.


The 1939 Register for Martham is provided in two formats.

1. You can see a copy of the actual register as a pdf file by clicking HERE.

2. Below is an album of photographs showing the actual Register pages for Martham.

You can click HERE to see a pdf list of people in alphabetical surname order to find which page of the Register they are on, but I have kept couples and families together so the list is not in total alphabetical order. This should make it easier to identify whole families. Make a note of the ‘code’ , ‘No’ and ‘Sub No’ to find the page and entry you want.

Original data: Crown copyright images reproduced by courtesy of TNA, London England. 1939 Register (Series RG101), and/or  public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The National Archives, Kew, London, England. The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided. Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.

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