Tag Archives: national registration

Why I won’t be wasting my money on the 1939 Register Service

17 Feb

Dick Eastman has pointed out that the National Health Service Information Centre have issued guidelines for accessing the information gathered as a result of The National Registration Act 1939.

I don’t think that it will be worth me accessing any of the data, certainly not worth £42 of my money (that’s equivalent to six GRO certificates). I have been mentally going through my research, wondering if anything that would be revealed by an information request that would actually benefit my research, but I can’t think of one case where it would.

I think it all boils down to how I value the information in my family history research and how it would benefit my research. It would be lovely to have the time and money to find out everything about all my relations, but I have to prioritize where my resources are directed.

So before forking out money for a record or spending time searching I perform a simple cost-benefit analysis. Will it actually solve a problem or progress my research? or would the money/time be better spent elsewhere?

I am sure I could pursue all sorts of additional information about my ancestors, from all sorts of sources, and in some cases I do if I am trying to create a biography of an individual, but there needs to be a limit.

It is not just about money, but also time. I know that if I was to take the time to search through decades of local newspapers I could find some really interesting information, as well as lots of background material. That would take hours of my time and unless there is some specific goal to be achieved, it is just not worth it.

I am sure the information will become more readily (and cheaply) available in due course, as more and more organisations realise the value of their data and the likes of Ancestry and Findmypast become ever more eager to digitize it.

So, I for one won’t be wasting my money on this information, but I am sure that there will be some people who may find answers to some of their brick walls within the data, so good luck to them.

What are genealogists of the future going to have to look forward to?

27 Nov

This story on the BBC News website caught my eye the other day. The basic story is that Guy Etchells has used a Freedom of Information request to try and gain access to details from the National Registration enumeration, which took place on the 29th September 1939.

The implication is that like his previous request to access the 1911 census, this could possibly lead to an early release of the data, like it did eventually for the 1911 census (and then presumably similar moaning about the price and quality of the transcription).

Given that the 1931 census has been destroyed and there was no census in 1941 (due to the Second World War), the data contained within this enumeration will probably help fill in a few gaps for some genealogists who are struggling to get past the first few generations of their family tree.

Personally I don’t think there would be much contained in the enumeration that would be of importance to me, and it is certainly not something that I think I shall be getting to excited about.

Of course there are many issues involved in deciding whether the data should be made available, not least of which is the fact that many of the individuals listed will still be alive, and in much greater numbers than was the case with the 1911 census.

What worries me most is what future generations of genealogists are going to have to look forward to?

If this data is released early then there will be nothing left between the 1921 and 1951 census. Assuming that the hundred year rule applies, between 2022 and 2052 genealogists will have very little left to look forward to. Put yourself in their shoes, could you imagine going for 30 years without the release of a major new data collection.

So fellow family historians, please lets not be too greedy, save something for your children and grand-children to get excited about. They should know the excitement of the release of a new data collection, the anticipation of the possible discoveries, and the frustrations of finding the website overloaded and a dodgy index.

What do you think? Are we too greedy and impatient as genealogists? Should we save of the excitement and frustrations for future generations? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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