The Genealogist Research Guide

What are Poll Books and Electoral Registers?

Poll Books give names, addresses, occupations and show how people voted in the election. The Poll Books available on TheGenealogist pre-date the census records and go back as far as the 1700s, making them a valuable resource for family historians.

Before the Reform Act of 1832, there were no fixed rules of who could vote and it largely depended on the traditions within your local area. After 1832, any (male) householder whose town property exceeded an annual value of £10 became eligible to vote. In 1867 this was decreased to £4 and also included lodgers who paid more than £10 per year in boroughs. By 1884, 59% of all adult males were now able to vote.

Once the secret ballot was introduced in 1872, how a person voted was no longer available to the public and poll books were no longer necessary. Electoral Registers, which were first introduced in 1832 became the predominant record of voters, containing details of everyone who qualified to vote, their address and details of their property which enabled them to qualify (before 1918).

 

The father of the famous Brontë sisters is recorded in the 1835 Poll Book for West Riding, Yorkshire. To read more about this, take a look at our article 'Tracing the Brontë Family in Yorkshire' in our featured articles section:

http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2009/the-bronte-family-101/

What's available?

You can see a full content list for Poll books and Electoral Registers here:http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/coverage/polls-electoral-rolls/?level=diamond#includes

 

How to: Using the Poll Books & Electoral Registers

The Poll Books and Electoral Registers can be searched directly via the master search and also via the drop down menu titled 'Poll & Electoral Records' located below the master Search .  Both the Poll Books and Electoral Registers can be accessed in book format.  The Poll Books are also available as Transcripts.

Printed Books

To access the Printed Books for Poll Books and Electoral Registers, select ‘Electoral Registers’ from the drop-down box:

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You will then be taken to a list of available counties.  Some counties and also all international registers are only available within the Diamond Premium subscription (see Diamond Content).  You can search across all counties or you can select your preferred county/country then choose a volume from the next page.

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Once you have selected a county you can click on a book title to open that specific book and browse through the pages via the Bookmarks. Or if you wish to Search the Yorkshire only Poll & Electoral Books please use the Search boxes on this page:

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  1. Use the navigation links to browse backwards and forwards through the book
  2. Bookmarks are available to jump directly to other sections of the book

Transcripts

The Poll Book Transcripts are available to Diamond subscribers.  Select ‘Poll Books Database’ from the drop-down box and you’ll immediately be taken to the main search page.

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The transcript records provide both standard and advanced search options. 

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Enter your search terms, then click ‘search’ to submit.  Scroll down the page to view the results directly below the search box.

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Many of the transcripts also provide access to the original page.  Where available, select the icon on the right hand side to open the page in the Adobe Image Viewer. 

How to: Using the London 2005 Electoral Roll

The Electoral Roll for London 2005 can be found on your Research View page under 'Poll & Electoral Records'.  Select this from the drop-down box to continue to the main search page.

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Your results will be listed with details of name and district. To view the complete record, select the 'Full Details' link on the right of each entry.

 

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