Discussion in 'British Electoral Rolls' started by CaroleF, Mar 5, 2017.
I get an update Eectoral roll form every year.
The largest collection of UK electoral registers is at the British Library, and you can read a brief introduction to their holdings here:
About halfway down the page there's a paragraph headed "Parliamentary Constituencies and their Registers Since 1832". This contains a link to a downloadable pdf of the same name, which has a list of the BL's holdings and a comprehensive guide to the registers and the registration process. It answers a lot of the questions that come up about registers and registration.
In brief, since 1918 the system has been for forms to be sent out each year for householders to complete and return. Qualification for the electoral roll is based on residence on a particular date (the pdf guide tells you when this was - it has changed a bit over the years), so in the case of @Bonzo Dog's grandmother it may be that the lodgers were only there for a few days, yet still managed to get on the register.
Things may have been slightly different when the system was getting back to normal after WW1 and WW2, but in normal time there doesn't appear to have been any provision for names to be carried forward from one year to the next.
Thank you. That's very helpful of you Arthur and I'll go take a look myself now. If forms have been sent out each year since 1918 then that would suggest that my relative (on the roll for 1960 and 1962) was indeed still alive then.
She and her sister are both named at the same address in 1960 and 1962 and I know they lived together there for approx. 10 years prior to that and this is supported by the electoral rolls. The sister who was the most 'clueful' one is likely to have completed the forms and surely she would have left her dead sibling off if she had died in 1957 or 1958 as I had thought was likely? She might miss it once, (for 1960), but surely not twice?
There was no record on the Midlands Historical Data site for these two sisters in 1958, 1959 or 1961 and indeed prior to that the records are at varying intervals, never consecutive years.
.... Or am I missing something?
The midlands historical Data site does not claim to have all the years. They are compiled by a single individual who scans the pages for his and our interest, and he presumably has not the time to scan every page, though he does add some extra years from time to time. As I understand it, the only years in which a register was not compiled are the war years (WW1 & WW2), which is understandable as there were no elections.
I hope you're not expecting me to answer that...?
I've never used the Midlands Historical Data site (no rellies there), so I can't really comment on that, other than guessing that their holdings aren't complete (like mikejee says). I think the BL guide shows some gaps in their coverage too.
Thank you for this,@mikejee . I didn't spot any info. about the scanned pages at MHD being a 'selection' and until Arthur's post #22 I wasn't sure whether some years were just not included, or how often forms for registration were sent out in the '50s and '60s.
I'm not sure whether I am seriously desperate to know exactly when my relative (a great aunt) died - but a distant relative in the US does want to know as this person is her 2x great grandmother and I said I'd try to help her find out.
No. Not really Could well be that what I am missing is a screw or two!
More seriously, I was wondering out loud whether there was an angle on all this that I was just not spotting and that someone here could point out what that might be.
Still getting to grips with what the BL guide says, but if they seem to have the Birmingham Electoral Rolls for the consecutive years I am interested in I might well visit when next I am up in London.
Unfortunately, for me that is, ". All the registers up to and including 1997 are held off site in Yorkshire where they are housed in a high density store with robotic retrieval."
I have no reason to go there so it looks as if I am only going to know when my great aunt really died is when the death certificates arrive - and possibly not then if they prove to be the wrong person. Ah well ... I tried.
Oooh, looks like the registers (for Birmingham) are at Birmingham central library too. I should have read the entire file before jumping to conclusions. I am going to Birmingham for WDYTYA so I'll try to find time to go to the library too.
Thanks for the help everyone - much appreciated.
Just re-read my post, and it did not read as I meant it to. What I should have said is that "he presumably has not the time to scan every year" not every page. Do apologize.
Yes the Birmingham central library does hold the electoral rolls. Opening hours have been reduced and are now:
Mondays and Tuesdays: 11am - 7pm.
* Wednesdays to Saturdays: 11am - 5pm.
* Sundays: Closed.
No need to apologise @mikejee I think I actually interpreted what you meant as 'year' rather than 'page'. I have just emailed the owner of the MHD site to ask him several questions about Birmingham Electoral Rolls so I am hoping he will be able and have the time to answer.
Thank you for that info. I have visited the central library before - not so long ago. I think I ought to be able to tie a visit in there with my trip to WDYTYA if I don't get too engrossed in that event!
SUCH a great shame that hours there have had to be reduced - but at least Birmingham still *has* a central library. The plan in Bath (close to where I live) is to close the central library and shift bits of it, piecemeal, to other locations. However there was a pretty big demo about that and the justified claim that the Council had failed to consult properly has forced them back to the drawing board. I don't hold out great hopes for the outcome though and our own local library is also to shut, be scaled back and shifted to a different location in with other local government offices. GRRRRRRRRRR !!!
The library are in the process of putting the City's archived records on-line, but the budget constraints you mention mean it is a very slow process. So far as I can tell, electoral registers have yet to be started. The site for this is:
Edited several times to get the link to work.
Separate names with a comma.