Friday, 15 January 2016

Finding one of those rare relatives who had the vote in 1832 .............. more records go online

Now if you want to find out if your ancestor voted in the 1830s then the Poll Books and Directories are the first port of call.

James Brundrett, a man with a vote
They are the records of all who were eligible to vote, will offer up how they qualified to vote and can also show who they voted for.

Not of course that any of mine back in the 1830s voted.

I am fairly confident that  all of our lot will not have qualified for the vote for another fifty-four years and it would then still be another thirty-four before some of the women in the family could take part  and not till 1928 that all my female ancestors had a vote in General Elections.

All of which puts the idea that we were a parliamentary democracy into perspective.

That said these Poll Books and Directories are immensely useful to anyone wanting to know about the history of where they or their family lived.

Not all have survived and those that have can be scattered across the country in reference libraries and local studies centres.

But more and more are on line.  Ancestry has been adding them and now today Findmypast has announced that they too now offer up the opportunity to “search through over 62,000 records to discover who your ancestor voted for in the election of 1830. This valuable census substitute can also include details of their occupation, residence, religious beliefs and even a short biography.”

James Bracegirdle, another who could vote
So even if yours like mine could only watch as the small group of electors cast their votes in the open the records allow you to dig deep into an area.

Here in Chorlton-cum Hardy in 1835 only 31 men in the township were entitled to vote which represented just 16% of all men over the age of 21, and 9% of the entire adult population. This was still better than the national average which in 1833 stood at just 7%.*

They were a mixed bunch of freeholders and tenant farmers.

And armed with their names it is possible to cross check them against the rate books, the tithe schedule, land and tax assessments  and census returns.

So as well as Chorlton I have wandered through Eltham where I grew up  and worked out who voted there which just leaves me Peckham where I was born to search.

And for anyone wanting to learn about those 31 Chorlton electors, they are all well documented in the book on Chorlton-cum-Hardy. **

Pictures, two Chorlton electors, Jeremiah Brundrett and James Bracegirdle from the Wesleyan Handbook, 1909, 

*Britain in the Nineteenth Century 1815- 2005, 2005, Chris Cook

**the Story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, 2012, Andrew Simpson,

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