Monday, December 28, 2020

Peculiar Codes in the 1939 Register

Sample from the 1939 Register

The National Registration Act 1939 was an Act of Parliament in the UK. The act established the National Register which began operating on 29 Sept 1939 (National Registration Day), a system of identity cards, and a requirement they must be produced on demand or presented to a police station within 48 hours. (Wikipedia The National Archives (UK)  holds the originals explains the "Register is available to search and view on their partner sites (charges apply) and (charges apply)."  

Deciphering a specific set of annotation codes was answered by Audrey Collins, TNA Records Specialist - Family History and are listed below with her express written permission.

Re: A strike through in the original name, and a new surname written in red ink with the following codes: NR230 2/7/47 AIA

NR230 is the code for a change of name other than by marriage. AIA is likely to be the area code where the change was recorded - a different set of area codes was adopted later, but in 1947 the original area codes were still used, so AIA would be Hackney.
Concerning the lack of a list for researchers to decipher such entries in the future, Audrey writes "We know what some of the codes mean, they are often the serial numbers of forms used to notify changes. But there is no definitive list, because there were so many changes made over the 50 years the register was in use. The information I have found comes from a a selection of memos, circulars and sample forms, and there are still plenty that I haven't found. I may add some to the 1939 Register guide, but I need to be confident I am giving correct information."

There was follow-on question concerning the publication of name changes in The Gazette, to which Audrey replies "It's always worth a look, but informal changes of name were also allowed, and the National Registration authorities were fairly relaxed about it. For example, they had no problem with a woman using the surname of the man she lived with, even if they weren't married."

IMAGE: Our sample (shown above) is from Dorset, Poole MB, Enumeration District WKFG show annotations in green ink. in database ID 61596

Useful Links

FindMyPast - 1939 Register
TNA (The National Archives - UK)

NOTE: The 1939 register is also available at and

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

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