In December 1938 it was announced in the House of Commons that in the event of war, a National Register would be taken listing the personal details of every civilian in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Unofficially called the ‘wartime Domesday book’ The Register was taken on 29 September 1939 and was to be a critical tool in coordinating the war effort at home .
The information was used to produce identity cards and, once rationing was introduced in January 1940, to issue ration books. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription and the direction of labour, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation.
Here is a transcription of the register for the South Petherwin Parish. Part of the records remain closed so that details of those still living are protected.