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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

1939 National Register to be released 2 November

Following a two-year project, FindMyPast UK has announced that the 1939 National Register for England and Wales will be released on Monday 2 November.

The collection will be of enormous interest to those with ancestors from Ireland who emigrated to England or Wales, and I expect it to provide many family historians on both sides of the Irish Sea with a 'Eureka' moment (or two or ten) as they explore it for direct or extended family.

I'm hoping for one of those moments myself. All I know about my maternal great grandfather, Patrick Doyle, was that he was born in 1862 in Wexford, the son of Patrick Doyle. So, we're talking pre-civil registration; no known townland/parish; and an outrageously common name: thanks a bunch, Lady Luck. But in 1901 and 1911 he was working in County Carlow with his younger brother, John, born – take your pick – in 1864/5 or 1867/8. I should, in theory, be able to find John's birth in the civil registration records, but do you have any idea how many John Doyles were born in County Wexford in that four/five-year timeframe? I'd need a lottery win.

My grandmother told me John went to London after WW1 and was able to give me a partial address dating from the early 1930s. Maybe I'll be able to identify John or his wife in the Register. He'd have been 70+ by 1939, so my fingers are tightly crossed.

The details included in the 1939 National Register include date of birth. The actual date. If the register can provide me with this information for John Doyle, I'll be able to identify his birth registration record and find out not only the name of my great great grandmother but also where she and her husband brought up the family. Such a development would open up a whole new branch of research.

I'm sure there will be many Irish researchers with similar reasons for digging deep into this important new release.

Existing subscribers to FindMyPast will be disappointed to learn that this new collection will not be included in their subscription; they'll get a discount (annual subscribers will receive a 25% on the 5-household option). The standard price for purchase of these records will be €9.50/£6.95 per household or €33.50/£24.95 for a five-household bundle (€6.70/£4.99 per household). That'll certainly curb the extent of exploration!

Even so, roll on Monday.

(Find out about access to Northern Ireland's 1939 National Register on my Toolkit website.)