The 1939 Register, taken on 29 September 1939, provides a snapshot of the civilian population of England and Wales just after the outbreak of the Second World War. The records were used to produce up-to-date population statistics and identification cards and, once rationing was introduced in January 1940, to facilitate the issuing of ration cards. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation.
The Register contains the names, addresses, marital statuses, occupations and more of over 41,000,000 people. The records include the civilian populations of England and Wales, but do not include the civilian populations of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The Register was not meant to record members of the armed forces.
The 1939 Register was released online by Findmypast in partnership with The National Archives. Owing to privacy regulations, the personal details of people in the Register who were born less than 100 years and a day ago, and are still alive, are not shown. The Register was updated until 1991, meaning that anyone who was born less than 100 years and a day ago but died prior to 1991 will have their record opened.
A search of the register on Findmypast with Kelsall (no variants) yields 1,413 names. Some obvious variants (Kellsall, Kilsal, Kelsal, Kelsale) yield another 55 names. The search also produces 70 names in the format [another] Kelsall and another 260 in the format Kelsall [another]. It seems that the [another] Kelsall names are females who were entered in the register as Kelsall and the other name has been entered on the register later, likely signifying a married name added to confirm perhaps that the person was deceased. These names are added to provide a database of 1,538 names. Conversely the names in the format Kelsall [another] appear to be females who married into Kelsall and they are not included in the database.
The population examined for 1939 is almost identical to that evaluated for 1881. This is surprising given that the population of England and Wales increased from 26 million in 1881 to the 41 million recorded in 1939. One possible explanation lies in the number of closed records. I have seen online speculation that this is a s high as 12 million. If that is the case the total Kelsall population in 1939 would have been about 2200.
The distribution of the 1,538 names by county is shown in the following table. About 80% are in 4 counties, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. As in 1881 Lancashire is the most populous county but it has a lower population in 1939 compared with 1881 whereas the populations for Staffordshire and Cheshire show small gains compared with 1881. It is interesting to speculate that there may have been a movement of mining and manufacturing jobs from Lancashire to Yorkshire.
About 18% of the Kelsall population was living in Stoke-on-Trent. Counting also Newcastle-under-Lyme the total is 314 or 20%. About 200 or 13% were living in Greater Manchester.
For men the most common forenames were William (42), John (40), Joseph (29), James (28) and Thomas (27). All these numbers would be higher counting those who were listed with a full name and an initial. For women the most common were Elizabeth (27), Mary (24) and Mary E. (23).
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