Saturday, 21 November 2015

1939 National Identity Register - TNA refs removal on preview screen

I have previously commented on the removal of the TNA reference numbers on FindmyPast ( for preview views of the 1939 National Identity Register for England and Wales search returns, stating that I had been contacted by a source in the know that this was allegedly to prevent data mining from the site (see

Confirmation on why the numbers have been removed has now been finally made available on the National Archives blog, via a response to questions by Martin James and Nigel Osborne. Here is the reason as given by administrator Nell Brown on Friday November 20th at 9.53am, confirming this to be the case (see

Hi Martin and Nigel, Findmypast have removed The National Archives catalogue reference from search results in response to concerted efforts by some online groups to share and even build apps and spreadsheets encouraging the manipulation of the embedded file references which allows people to access large amounts of information without paying. The remedial action was taken by Findmypast to prevent this systematic breach of their terms and conditions and fair usage policy and to protect their income. You can still search using The National Archives’ catalogue reference in the advanced search and the reference is returned when accessing the full transcript and image. Best, Nell.

I'm still not aware that FindmyPast has itself made any effort to explain to customers why it has done this, though more than willing to be corrected on that.


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1 comment:

  1. How very cynical of them, but does fit with the announcing of the pricing structure at the last minute and the misleading info that the death date info is included in 1939 register It is, BUT not made available to the public.

    Who needs to build robots to achieve AI?