New on Ancestry: Glasgow Electoral Registers 1857-1962

Searching Glasgow’s Electoral Registers just got a whole lot easier! Over 100 years of electoral registers (or voters' rolls) from the Mitchell Library’s extensive family history collection have been digitised and are now available in Ancestry©. This equates to over 30 million records of people in Glasgow eligible and registered to vote. The inclusion ​ of the registers, from 1857 to 1962, will make a huge difference in terms of undertaking both local history- and family history-related research. Previously, we were only able to search through our holdings of printed registers by using the street indices – it was not enough just to know a person’s name, but it was necessary to know what street or what ward they lived in before you could find them – now, however, the digitised records will give us yet another tool in our kit with which to assist the public in their research.  Being able to search by name alone, means that you can use the digitised registers for the sheer pleasure of people-spotting!​

 


What information will I find in the Electoral Registers?

 

Electoral registers record those people eligible to vote, at a given time, in particular local, regional or national elections.  They can be used, in conjunction with census returns, to gather demographic information that tells us about the history of local properties and the communities in which they were situated. 

 

They are useful because entries may state not only an individual’s name, but also give their address, occupation and qualification for voting.  While the names that appear in the database will be limited by the franchise qualifications of the time, our digitised registers cover a period during which democratic reform grew at a rapid pace: while in 1857, there had already been a number of Reform Acts to extend the franchise more widely across society, by 1962, the registers reveal a dramatic shift, with an enormous increase in the number of voters.

 

To understand a person, an area or a community, we first need to establish key facts that help us gather evidence about them.  Electoral registers record those people eligible to vote, at a given time, in particular local, regional or national elections.  They can be used, in conjunction with census returns, to gather demographic information that tells us about the history of local properties and the communities in which they were situated. 

 

They are useful because entries may state not only an individual’s name, but also give their address, occupation and qualification for voting.  While the names that appear in the database will be limited by the franchise qualifications of the time, our digitised registers cover a period during which democratic reform grew at a rapid pace: while in 1857, there had already been a number of Reform Acts to extend the franchise more widely across society, by 1962, the registers reveal a dramatic shift, with an enormous increase in the number of voters.

 

As these registers are published annually (except the wartime years of 1915-1917 and 1941-1944)it is possible to trace an individual or members of a family over a number of years by checking the registers for the area where they lived: the appearance of a person in one year’s register and not in another can suggest a death, which can then be checked against Old Parish Records or Statutory Records.  

 

The registers can also help to identify people with the same surname, which might lead to the discovery of members of extended family.  Having established the correct address for a person, the registers can be checked at regular intervals (for example, of five years) to trace any changes in the occupancy of particular properties.  In this way, they might also be traced forwards to help find living relatives. 

 

How can I access the Glasgow Electoral Registers on Ancestry©?

 

Ancestry is free to access for library members in any Glasgow Life Library. Glasgow Electoral Registers 1857-1962​ is one of thousands of databases available for searching.

 

You can still access the printed electoral registers for these years and more recent years in The Mitchell by visiting Special Collections on Level 5. Conditions may apply. 

 

 

Where can I find out more about my Glasgow & west of Scotland ancestors?

 

If you have ancestors who lived in Glasgow, or the west of Scotland in particular, you can find out more about The Mitchell Library’s extensive family history collections, including burial records, census returns, maps, newspapers and Scottish directories by browsing this website. You can also visit the Family History Centre at The Mitchell on level 5 and discuss the best way to get started with staff in the Registrars’ Genealogy Centre, Glasgow City Archives or Special Collections.

 

We run regular workshops and courses in family history- check out our Events in The Mitchell http://bit.ly/2cY4J5H

 

If you’d like more information about these Glasgow Electoral registers and Ancestry, contact Special Collections at The Mitchell on specialcollections@glasgowlife.org.uk or call 0141 287 2988.

 

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