Posted by Kristen Hyde on August 19, 2016 in Collections, United Kingdom

Ancestry Content Acquisition Manager, Rhona Murray talks about the value of WWI registration cards in tracing your ancestors movements during this period. Start exploring our new WWI Registration Cards for Bexley on Ancestry.

The first National Registration exercise in the United Kingdom was taken during the First World War.

The National Registration Act came in to play in July 1915 – and it required the registration of all men and women aged 15-65 effective on the 15th of August 1915. The aim was to establish how many men were available to join the armed forces should it be required. There had been a lot of casualties in WWI and enlistments were beginning to level off by early 1915 – resulting in a fear that there would not be enough men to win the war.

Some 29 million registration forms were said to have been filled out across England, Scotland and Wales. The forms were summarised and the summary details held centrally by the Registrar General. The actual forms were held locally. These forms can potentially be found in record offices all across the country, however, survival rates are patchy.

Beyond the initial form completion, the Act enforced a ruling that people moving house must register in their new constituencies. This was to trace the movement of people accurately. The result is that we see registers in which people list their old address, alongside their new address – making for a dream genealogical source tracking the movement of families.

In our new WWI Registration Cards for Bexley, we have digitised 11,100 surviving records pertaining to Bexleyheath in Kent, as it was then.

Bexley WWI Registration Cards

The details contained within are the collection include name, address, gender, age, marital status, occupation, and old address if moving in to area – registration took place after the act came in to play:

A. registering when living in an area or
B. registering when entering the area as a new resident over the period of 1915-1919.

Start exploring the Bexley WWI Registration cards today on Ancestry.

Kristen Hyde

Kristen is Ancestry's Social Media Manager for the United Kingdom.

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