PROVO, UTAH â€“ January 31, 2008 â€“ Ancestry.com, the largest online resource for family history, today announced the launch of California Voter Registration Lists documenting more than 30 million names of Californians who registered to vote between 1900 and 1944. The collection, now searchable for the first time online, comes just prior to Super Tuesday, one of the most significant milestones in the 2008 race to the White House.
The unique collection reveals the political persuasions of California residents â€“ including famous celebrities who registered to vote during the first half of the 1900s. The collection also documents the voterâ€™s name, occupation, gender, age, street address, voting district, and city and county of residence. Many of the earliest voter registrations include detailed physical descriptions of the register and even naturalization information. Because the lists were updated every two years, the collection enables users to track their ancestors through time and serves as a valuable replacement for census records since California did not take state censuses.
â€œPeeking into the political preferences of our ancestors and celebrities is fascinating,â€ said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com. â€œVery few historical records actually reveal the opinions of our ancestors. With this collection of voter registrations, someone with California family ties can discover the political black sheep in the family or which ancestor changed their familyâ€™s party affiliation forever.â€
Several California celebrities and political figures are found inside the collection, including:
â€“Â Actor and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan was registered to vote in 1942 as a Democrat and remained a registered party member until at least 1954. According to Reaganâ€™s 1958 voter registration, he and wife Nancy Reagan changed their party affiliation to Republican.
â€“Â Lucille Ball is found in the collection registered as a Communist in 1936 and 1938, and was later asked to testify before Congress during McCarthyâ€™s Communist witch hunts.
â€“Â According to the 1944 records, Ozzy and Harriett Nelson are both registered as Republicans. Harriett was employed as an â€œactress,â€ and Ozzy as an â€œorchestra leader.â€
â€“Â In a 1924 voter registration list, Walt Disney is found alongside brothers Robert and Roy. Walt and Robert were registered as Republicans, while Roy chose to â€œdecline statement.â€ In 1940, Waltâ€™s wife Lillian changed her party affiliation to Democrat, while Walt remained Republican. Continue reading