Put your plans on hold this weekend as this week’s Findmypast Friday update is our biggest yet with millions of Electoral Registers from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales released online for the very first time in association with the British Library.
The 100 year period covered by these fascinating records includes some of the most important events in the history of British democracy: from the vote being extended to working class men and the reform of representation up until women’s suffrage. Explore these extensive new collections to discover where your ancestor lived, when they could vote and details of the property your family owned in the 19th & 20th centuries.
The England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932 form the largest single collection released on Findmypast to date with over 5.4 million images and approximately 220 million names. The registers have been released in association with the British Library and are the result of a mammoth digitisation project to scan 100 years of microfilmed copies of printed registers, housed on 2.25 miles (3.62 linear km) of shelving. Electoral Registers are listings of all those registered to vote in a particular area. The lists were created annually to record the names of eligible voters and their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property.
This is the first time these registers have been made available online. They can be searched by name and constituency, as well as by keywords which will allow you to discover the history of your family's home in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921 contains over 20,000 pages listing over 100,000 names of service men, women serving with the auxiliary forces, merchant seamen, diplomats and others working in occupations recognised as supporting the war effort. Absent voters’ lists are registers of eligible voters who were absent from their homes. Lists were sent to the Adjutant General’s Department of the War Office who then arranged to send voting cards to men and women in the UK and ballot papers to those in France.
Lists were completed by August 1918 and therefore include names of men who were killed, missing or taken prisoner in the period of time between the compiling of lists and the publication of the register. Records can reveal your ancestors name, a description of their service and their qualifying premises allowing you uncover details of the home they left behind and the part they played in one of history’s bloodiest conflicts.
The Ireland, Electoral Registers 1885-1886 contain over 3,000 records covering 12 counties. The 1880’s was a period of drastic change in Ireland, from land reform and the beginning of the Home Rule Crisis to the rise of the Irish Parliamentary Party. It was also a vibrant time for Irish culture with the Gaelic and the Irish Literary Revivals in full swing. Search the registers by name to pinpoint the exact location of your family during this exciting period of Irish history, or by address to learn who was living in your family home. From the Act of Union in 1801, until Ireland’s independence, over 7,000 electoral registers were created, but the British Library only holds the registers for a single year.
Containing over 23,000 records, the Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Electoral Registers 1864-1931 cover the traditional county of Linlithgowshire. The registers allow you to find out where your West Lothian ancestors lived, what they did and whether they owned property in the area.
Electoral Registers are a powerful resource for genealogists. For the first time, these registers are available online and can be searched by name. Previously, when researching your family history you would need an address in order to find your ancestor in the register for that constituency. Today, we can search by name across thousands of places to discover your ancestors. Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Friday’s page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.