Each record contains both an image and a transcript of the original electoral register. The amount of information varies but the registers can generally tell you the following about your ancestor:
Name as transcribed
Spouse’s first name
The image can include additional information such as:
In later electoral registers, abbreviations were used to explain an individual’s eligibility to vote. A list of the abbreviations can be found below in the Electoral register codes section.
Scotland, Dundee & Forfarshire (Angus) Electoral Registers 1857-1939 is a collection of parliamentary electoral registers and municipal registers.
Electoral registers were recorded annually and are a valuable source in finding your ancestor in the years between census records. They are also a great source for discovering the history of your family home.
Electoral registers were first introduced in 1832 with the Great Reform Act. As the number of voters increased and polling days were reduced to one day, there was a need to establish the right to vote in advance of the polling day.
Who is recorded in the registers?
The registers include anyone entitled and registered to vote in either parliamentary (national) or local elections. The requirements for voting eligibility changed a number of times between 1832 and 1928. Prior to 1918, only men owning or occupying a residential or business property and some male lodgers could vote in national elections. Then after 1918, all property restrictions were lifted and all adult males could vote. In that same year, women over the age of 30 who met minimal property qualifications were given the vote and a separate vote was given to those with a business qualification and to graduates of British Universities. Finally, in 1928, all men and women of voting age (21) could vote, regardless of employment or property qualifications. The voting age was further reduced to 18 in 1969.
What will I discover?
The electoral registers are a special resource for family historians because you can discover your ancestors in an exact location between the census years. Also, through the registers, you can discover the history of your family home, such as who lived in your home before you. Have you ever renovated and found layers of wallpaper or discovered items from a previous owner in your attic? Is it possible that someone famous lived in your house? Now you can find the names of those who called your house their home for a period of time. Furthermore, you can see how the area around your home developed over the years as new homes or businesses were built.
The registers began to use codes to decipher an individual’s basis of voting qualification as the British electorate increased and more people were given the right to vote in both parliamentary and local elections.
In registers from about 1850 onwards, the word ‘successive’ can appear next to a person’s residence. This means that the individual has moved within the last 12 months and their qualification to vote carries over to the new home.
Registers after 1918 included the following codes:
A dash ( – ) – Person could not vote in the election
R – Residence qualification
BP – Business premises qualification
O – Occupational qualification
HO – Qualification through husband's occupation
NM – Naval or military voter
Registers after 1928 include two codes next to an elector’s name. The first code is a qualification to vote in parliamentary elections. The second code is the voter’s qualification to vote in local elections.
R – Residence qualification (man)
Rw – Residence qualification (woman)
B – Business premises qualification (man)
Bw – Business premises qualification (woman)
O – Occupational qualification (man)
Ow – Occupational qualification (woman)
D – Qualification through wife's occupation
Dw – Qualification through husband's occupation
NM – Naval or military voter
Attached to names, the following extra codes can sometimes be seen
J – Eligible to serve as juror
SJ – Eligible to serve as special juror
a – Absent voter
Begin your search broadly with just a first and last name.
You can narrow your results if needed by adding a year, place, or spouse’s name.