Next week, we go to the voting booths and make our selections to decide the fate of different candidates and issues in our area.
Have you ever wondered if you can access your ancestor's voting records?
The answer is yes, and no. While you can't see which way your ancestor voted, you can sometimes view their voter registration.
Voter's registers can be harder to find, but are well worth the effort. Along with census records, they place our ancestors in specific places at specific times.
- Fill in gaps between censuses
- Find middle names
- Find spouses and other family members registered at the same address
- Naturalization information
- Where born
- Political party affiliation
- Migration from other locations.
- Physical characteristics
EXAMPLES OF REGISTERS
State Voter Registration Records
- Ohio- Ohio counted adult men every 4 years in various counties to determine voting districts, called quadrennial enumerations. Some of them are view-able on the FamilySearch.org web site and the Ohio History Connection has some of them in their Library And Archives.
- Historic records not available on FamilySearch yet. Ohio took quadrennial enumerations of men 21+ years old to determine voting districts from 1803-1911. Under taxation...
- Current registrations: Check Your Voter Registration
- Arizona - Has "great registers" similar to California's at Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) (and Ancestry.com), FamilySearch.org and at their State Library
- California - "Great Registers"
- Chicago - (not a state!) have late 1800 voters records at FamilySearchand some are also available on ALE
- Georgia - At FamilySearch.org - has the 1867-68 Returns of qualified voters
- New York - ALE has a list of registered voters in 1880
- On ALE, Leavenworth, Kansas Voter Registration, 1859 and Kansas Election List, 1854
- And for free on the Kansas GenWeb site
- Massachusetts - on ALE Massachusetts, Applications of Freemen, 1630-1691
- Wyoming - The State Archives has poll lists and voting lists in their collection.
- FamilySearch - do catalog search for location "United States, Indiana" then go to bottom of list for "Voting Registers"
- Ancestry Library Edition - catalog search "voter" narrow by location or date. Returns many census records
- Fold3 - enter "voting" in search box.
- Cyndi's List search for "voters"
- Worldcat.org - search under the location and "voting register"
- Before 1920, will not include women in most locations in the US
- In earlier time periods will only include white men of property
- Convicted felons aren't permitted to vote