Sunday, 6 May 2018

Looking for family in 1920 ...... an Electoral Register goes online

Today I fell on the news that the Electoral Registers for 1920 are now online.

Family records, Greenwich, 1981
Some have been there to cruise for a while on Ancestry, but from memory they were of London but now Findmypast has published more than 6.7million records from the England and Wales 1920 Electoral Registers.*

For many of us it will fill in a gap between the 1911 census and the 1939 Register.

Of course, as ever there are caveats, and in this case only women who were householders or over the age of 30 will be there because in 1918 not all women got a Parliamentary vote.

This is not to diminish the significance of this huge advance in women’s rights only to point out that many were still excluded from voting and would be for another ten years.

So for the family historian this new addition can be tinged with frustration.

In the case of my great grandmother she is there, living in number 2, Court 5, Hope Street Derby.

Greenwich, 1978
Now Hope Street was no great shakes.  It consisted of a series of terraced properties dating from the late 18th century close to the centre of Derby, and were bounded by the canal, a railway line and an assortment of factories, timber yards and iron works.

But our Eliza is there because she was 48 years old, having been born in 1872.
I had already found her on the 1920 Electoral Register, but only by doing it the hard way of trawling hard copies at the Derby Heritage Centre, although that is not entirely accurate in that someone in the Centre did the search for me.

Derby is a long way from Manchester and popping down for the day on the off chance of finding her was not that practical.

All of which means that the online resource is a real step forward, particularly for those friends and colleagues of mine in Canada searching for relatives, which points up the immense value of online records.

The Rochdale Canal, 1979
I have no truck with those sniffy individuals who think using the internet is not proper research.

It betokens of arrogance and I may say a bit of stupidity.  I doubt I will ever be able to visit some of those Universities in the mid west of the USA who have acquired a collection of 19th century books on Britain, or sit in the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa looking for records on my Canadian family or for that matter in the Naples Town Hall for information about that other side of our family.

So for all those around the world, may the various genealogical sites bring on lots more.

Pictures, 1978-1981 from the collection of Andrew Simpson


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