Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Finding Electoral Registers

Last but not least, let’s talk about where to find an electoral register. The source for these records on a national basis is the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, www.bl.uk which has a partnership with www.findmypast.co.uk. The website has begun its digitization in 1832 and is moving forwards.

Beginning with 1947, the British Library has a complete set of registers for the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).  A complete list of their holdings is in a publication titled, Parliamentary Constituencies and Their Registers Since 1832, which also includes earlier burgess rolls and poll books. Once in hard copy, it can now be downloaded at www.bl.uk/reshelp/finhelprestype/offpubs/electreg/parliamentary/constituenncies.html.
Because of concerns about identity theft and commercial use of the lists, restrictions apply to the electoral registers from the past ten years.

Having voting information after 1832 is not always helpful to American genealogists because it is just too late. Locations of earlier records can be found in the following pamphlets:
Gibson, Jeremy and Colin Rogers Gibson. Poll Books c. 1696-1872, a directory of holdings in Great Britain. Birmingham, UK: Federation of Family History Societies, 1994.

Gibson, Jeremy and Colin Rogers. Electoral Registers since 1832and burgess rolls. Birmingham, UK: Federation of Family History Societies, 1990.
Check on purchasing copies at www.ffhs.org.uk. Even the British Library states that if the early roll you need is not listed in one of the above, “it may well be that no copies of the register sought survive.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: UK Voter Disqualifications

In my last post, I mentioned very generally who would be included in the election records because they were qualified to vote by age and land ownership or tenancy, above a certain assessed value or rental amount. In the Gibson and Rogers booklet cited below, there is a nice list of who was disqualified and that may be a better beginning point. You simply will not find your ancestors if they fall into any of the categories listed.

The occupations that disqualified a potential voter will surprise North Americans.
                    -          Before 1887, active policemen, while serving and six months after leaving the force.

-          Before 1918, election agents and other paid election workers; postmasters; those receiving welfare, their spouses or children; collectors of government revenues.
Less surprising to North Americans are these types of non-voters. People who were and are not allowed to vote in the UK and who also might not be allowed to vote in some U.S. states includes:

              people with mental disorders

anyone serving a prison sentence (UK laws prohibit anyone convicted of election bribery from voting for five years after the crime.)
A purely British reason for disqualification was being a conscientious objector between 1918 and 1923. Another is being a peer. On the other hand, peeresses were allowed to vote by the reform bill of 1918 but the right was taken away again in 1963.

Gibson, Jeremy and Colin Rogers. Electoral Registers. Birmingham, UK: Federation of Family History Societies, 1990. www.ffhs.org.uk