Findmypast Friday – 3 April 2020

Findmypast

Findmypast add over 116 million new records to their exclusive collection of English and Welsh Electoral Registers

  • Second phase of vast collection published online for the first time in partnership with the British Library 
  • Enables researchers to trace ancestors between census years, uncover details of the property they occupied and explore the history of their home or local area 
  • Over 6.7 million records spanning 1832 to 1932 now available to search online – only at FIndmypast

Leading family history website Findmypast have announced the online publication of over 116 million records of English and Welsh voters in association with The British Library

This vast update forms the second phase of Findmypast’s exclusive England and Wales Electoral Registers 1832-1932 collection and is the largest single release published by Findmypast this year. 

Now available to search online for the first time, these new registers are the latest result of a mammoth digitisation project to scan 100 years of microfilmed copies of the British Library’s unique collection of printed registers, housed on 2.25 miles (3.62 linear km) of shelving.

The registers can be searched by name, date, constituency, place, or keyword, allowing researchers to locate ancestors or properties in this vast resource with greater ease and accuracy than ever before.

They are a special resource for family historians who now have even more opportunities to locate ancestors between the census years, where they lived and when they were given the right to vote, or to explore the history of their home or local area. 

Electoral Registers are listings of all those registered to vote in a particular area. The lists were created annually (and later biannually) to record the names of eligible voters and their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property. 

Previously only accessible as printed volumes or on microfilm at the British Library’s Reading Rooms at St. Pancras and Boston Spa, now over 6.7 million Electoral Registers spanning the years 1832 to 1932 can be explored online at Findmypast. 

The registers that are now available open up a treasure trove of material that was never before accessible to automated searching. No expert knowledge is needed, allowing anyone to trace their family across 100 years of English & Welsh history regardless of where they are or their level of experience.  

The period covered by England and Wales Electoral Registers 1832-1932 includes some of the most important events in the history of British democracy and demonstrates how the British electorate changed during the 19th and early 20th centuries: from the vote being extended to working class men and the reform of representation up until women’s suffrage.  

Highlights include records of the first eligible voters enfranchised by the Great Reform Act of 1832, the first working class voters following the Representation of the People Act of 1867, the first female voters in British history following the 1918 Representation of the People Act, lists of absent voters on active service during the First World War, and much more.

Paul Nixon, UK Data Strategy Manager at Findmypast, said “Electoral registers are hugely helpful in placing our ancestors at specific locations over time and we’re delighted that, thanks to our continuing partnership with the British Library, we’ve been able to offer up millions more of these records to our customers. For those of us researching the First World War, the absent voter list additions for 1918 and 1919 will be of particular interest.”

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