With the 1939 Register, you have the opportunity to carry out a free search using a wide range of fields that can help you to identify the correct record prior to unlocking it, whether you're looking for an individual, a household or an institution.

Head to the 1939 landing page

As you can see, the 1939 Register advanced search screen allows you to search by name, precise date of birth (you can also be more vague, searching only by year), sex, occupation, marital status, street, district and more.

What's also useful is the option to search by other household member. This means that if the person for whom you're searching has a common name, but was living with someone with a more distinct name in 1939 then you can add them to the search to refine your results.

You'll notice the TNA Reference box. This is for those of you who have a reference from The National Archives for a specific record, which will allow you to go directly to the individual you're searching for.

As well as searching for an individual, you can search for a household or institution by address on this search screen:

This gives you the opportunity to explore who lived at your house in 1939, clear up any mysteries concerning the whereabouts of family members and more. It's particularly useful for researchers interested in the history of a specific household, street or institution.

How will I know I have the right person?

Before you commit to unlocking a record, you'll be taken through to a preview page. On this page, you'll be given information about the person's name, year of birth, town and county of residence. In addition, you'll be able to see how many other people lived in the house at the time and how many of them are closed due to being younger than 100 and still alive.

With this information, you can confirm that you've found the correct record or household. The image above shows the preview for Lily Phillips. We can see that she was born in 1898, is resident in Bolton, Lancashire and lives with three other people, one of whom has a closed record (either because they were born after 1915 and are still alive, or born after 1915 and their death hasn't been recorded in the register. With this free information, we hope to help you to be more confident that the correct record has been found.

If you have any questions about the 1939 Register, just check our FAQs.