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1939 identity register opened to the public

07/01/2010

Family historians have been given access for the first time to information from the National Identity Register drawn up at the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1939, the National Registration Act ordered a register of everybody living in the UK - for the purpose of issuing identity cards, ration books and call-up papers. The register was compiled by the Registrar General of the time, James Kyd, and his successor still preserves the original register. It records personal information of great interest to family historians - name, address in 1939, marital status, age and occupation.

The register has been kept secret because the 1939 Act prohibited publication of the information but thanks to an application under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 that restriction has been reviewed and details about people who have since died are now being made available.

Welcoming the new release of information, Jim Mather Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, said:

"Scotland has an unrivalled reputation for making information available to family historians. This release of information from the 1939 register will give a starting point for people who do not have a record of their recent family history. It is a good example of the way that the Scottish freedom of information legislation is unlocking records which have up to now been secret."

Requests for information from the 1939 National Identity Register can be made to:

Extract Services
General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
3 West Register Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3YT

enclosing a fee of £13 and evidence of the death of the person who is the subject of the enquiry.