Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Exploring the 1939 Register of England for Richman Cousins

I noted with pleasure that Findmypast recently included the 1939 Register for England in a member's subscription, rather than being pay-per-view.

While I don't have any ancestors residing in England in 1939, I do have many English cousins  who reside there because of my Vaux and Richman 19th century immigrants to the USA.  I added several more generations to my RootsMagic database for these families, including many who were alive in 1939, from correspondence with cousins in England and the USA.

For many of these cousins, I have only an approximate birth year based on the cousin's information.  I found out that many entries in the 1939 Register have a birth date, but not a birth place.  In addition, knowing where they resided in 1939 might be helpful, and knowing their occupation might be interesting.

For instance, my 3rd cousin once removed was Douglas William W. Richman (1901-1985), born and died in Wiltshire, who married Mildred May Chapman (1903-1984), born and died in Wiltshire.

Unfortunately, when I put Douglas Richman into the search field with a 1901 birth date, I received no hits in Wiltshire.  I tried Mildred Richman in the search field and a birth date of 1903:

I chose to use "Name Variants" for the name fields.

I clicked on the "Search" button, and saw the search results:

While there were 93 results, the only Mildred Richman was the first entry, and she resided in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.  I clicked on the blue "Preview" button:

The entry for Mildred M. Richman gives her birth date as 19 Jan 03, and her husband's names William D.W. Richman.  I think this is them - Douglas's name has reversed a first and middle name.

Note the reference number at the bottom of the screen above - this is probably the reference to the file in The National Archives for the original records.

I clicked on the blue "View Original image" button on the screen above, and saw the record page:

From this record, I can see that they resided at 3 Clarendon Gardens, Trowbridge U.D., Wiltshire, England.  Here is a summary of the information for these persons:

Mildred M. Richman:  a Female, date of birth was 18 Jan 03, Married, Occupation is Unpaid Domestic Duties.

William D.W. Richman: a Male, date of birth was 20 Sep 01, Married, Occupation is Maintenance Engineer, Privinder M..

The record transcription said William Richman's date of birth was ? Sep ?, but the record is very clear as 20 Sep 01.

Do you want a source citation?  Here is my effort, using a "Census, U.K./Wales (online images)" template in RootsMagic 7:

1939 Register, Wiltshire, England, Trowbridge, U.D., RG101/7132E/012/17 Letter Code: WRNC, Schedule 152-1, William D.W. Richman entry; digital image, The National Archives, Findmypast Ltd. ( : accessed 24 February 2016).

Next, I wondered "Where did they reside?"  The address was 3 Clarendon Gardens in Trowbridge.  Further down the transcription page is a map:

This map cannot be zoomed in or moved around, but there is a dropdown menu that says "1937-1961 Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Map," and the dropdown menu has a "Present day map" link:

As you can see, the roads around Trowbridge have changed a bit.

Well, that was fun!  The search system is logical and works pretty well.  However, there is no real source citation provided by Findmypast, and there should be for folks who want one.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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David said...

I can confirm that the RG 101/etc/etc is the archival reference for the 1939 register. TNA have a very good style guide for how to cite things from their collections.

As for the maps, although you cannot scroll this map around all that you need to do is to head over to the National Library of Scotland's maps site. It has the very map that Findmypast are using for show where people in the 1939 register are plus a great many others. You can also choose various background maps and there is an opacity slider so that you can compare the two and see how layouts have changed.

vernonsca said...

The following is a very useful link to using the 1039 Register.

Unknown said...

Hi, The reference RG101/7132E/012/17 points specifically to your cousin's wife. His reference would be RG101/7132E/012/16. The last 2 digits are the line number. As a UK genealogist that number and "TNA" would be sufficient. We English know that "The National Archive" is OURS! Findmypast's default choice of maps might look rational as it has dates covering 1939 but it is the only map series, in their set, which does not show street names for most places. The earlier map is better for that and looking from here to Google maps will show you how much our towns and cities have changed with war damage and slum clearance.

In Sunny South Yorkshire