World War II Ration Books

Posted December 27, 2012 by Amanda | 2 Comments

Have you come across ration books in your genealogy research? Perhaps your relatives received ration books during World War II. Did you know that these books could hold significant clues into your ancestry?

During World War II, ration books were distributed to families by the Office of Price Administration (OPA) to help regulate food shortages as a result of the war. Between 1942 – 1947, the government issued four different series of ration books. Each book required different identification and some were more detailed than others.

Every person in the household received a ration book, which always contained fields for their names and addresses. Of the four books issued, ration books no. 1 and no. 3 will likely yield the most genealogical information. In addition to the person’s name and address, these books also required a physical description of the individual, their sex, and their age.

Book no. 3 was issued in October 1943, and as you can see in the above image, contains fields for the person’s age, gender, height, weight and occupation. By knowing the time frame of when each book was issued, you may even be able to estimate when your ancestor was born. With all the information you find in these books, you might even breakthrough a brick wall or two!

Did your family receive ration books during the war? What discoveries have you made? Let us know in the comments below!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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  • Smadar Belkind Gerson

    Great records! I haven’t found any for my family? Do you know who has the database on-line?

  • Orville Bless

    Some years ago I bought a Ration Book at a yard sale, the name on it is Mary B Weaver, she was 5 years old when the book was issued, and she lived at that time in Santa Monica California. I wrote a letter to the address, but it came back saying no one with that name at that address.