Using The 1939 Register To Research Old Photos

October 14, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I find that both Find My Past and Ancestry.co.uk are excellent resources for researching family history. Infact it is virtually impossible to manage without sites like these. I remember spending days at public records offices and libraries in my early years of researching but now it is nearly all online. I can't help but miss those days out though. I have such fond memories of eating a sandwich in the sunshine, watching the signets on the pond outside the Public Records Office at Kew. Everyone was so chatty and you could build up quite a freindship with other regulars in those days. We offered each other advice and compared notes.  The "help" section on a family history website doesn't quite seem the same. I suppose that is the price for technology!

Without the internet, I doubt I would have been able to find out anything about the family in a collection of recent photos I purchased. There were very few clues, but a magazine cutting gave me a starting point. 


William Brownbill, Joseph Rainford, John McEgan Retirement Notice. D L Boult Divisional Works Manager.William Brownbill, Joseph Rainford, John McEgan Retirement Notice. D L Boult Divisional Works Manager.

One of the men in the photo is in other photos of a couple identified as Mum and Dad, but how to find which is his name as they are not identified individually in the photo. Another of the photos was of two young women in the back yard of a house with the caption Doreen and Lilian 308 Boundary Road, St Helens 1952. 

Lilian And Doreen Brownbill 308 Boundary Road St Helens Lancashire 1952Lilian And Doreen Brownbill 308 Boundary Road St Helens Lancashire 1952Lilian (Lily) Brownbill was born in 1934 and she is here on the left with her elder sister Doreen who was born in 1931.

With this information I could search the 1939 register on Find My Past which has a really useful address search option. I scrolled to number 308 and the family who lived where the Brownbill family. I had found the family so quickly. William and his wife Elizabeth with their daughters Doreen and Lily. Without the internet I'm sure it would have been days of trawling through files at The Public Records Office. For anyone who is trying to research family around that time I have found the 1939 register to be one of the most useful resources. I can now add photos of the Brownbill family to the website in the hope that one day a family member may find them.

William And Elizabeth Brownbill Scarborough 1965William And Elizabeth Brownbill Scarborough 1965William Brownbill was born in Prescot in Lancashire in 1900 he married Elizabeth Gillibrand who was also born in 1900 in 1924 and they had two daughters Doreen and Lilian.

Search The 1939 Register Here

 


 


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