Thursday, 15 September 2016

Ancestry adds Glasgow electoral registers 1857-1962

A major new resource for those with connections to Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, has just been added to Ancestry ( in the form of the city's electoral registers from 1857-1962. From the site:

About Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1857-1962

This database contains yearly registers listing names and residences of people in Glasgow, who were eligible to vote in elections. These year-by-year registers can help place your ancestors in a particular place and possibly also reveal a bit about property they owned.

Historical Background
Electoral registers are lists of individuals who are eligible to vote during the time the register is in force (usually one year). Registration for voters in Scotland has been required since 1832, and registers were typically published annually. Restrictive property requirements denied the vote to much of the population for years, though these were eased somewhat in 1867 and 1884 through the Second and Third Reform Acts. There were also requirements when it came to local elections that varied from burgh to burgh (e.g., residency), and voters had to petition to be added to the electoral registers.

Property restrictions were finally removed for men in 1918, when most males age 21 and older were allowed to vote. The franchise was extended to some women over age 30 in 1918, but it was not until 1928 that the voting age was made 21 for both men and women. Thus, the number of names listed in the registers increases with the expansion of suffrage in Scotland.

Searching the Registers
Electoral registers typically provide a name and place of abode, and older registers may include a description of property and qualifications to vote. Registers were compiled at a local level, with names appearing alphabetically within wards/districts. Many of the registers in this database have been indexed electronically, which allows you to search them by name, but if you’re searching for a somewhat common name it will be helpful to know the area in which your ancestor lived to narrow your results.

It is worth noting that Parliamentary Division boundaries may have changed over time. If you are looking for a particular parish or place, you may find it useful to search using the key word field rather than try to browse the image sets which are listed by Division.

Note: This index was created using text recognition software. Records were not transcribed.

To search the collection visit

(With thanks to @GlasgowLib on Twitter - it too has the announcement, and details on how to access the records in the city's libraries - at


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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