Tips from the Pros: Voter Registration Records, from George G. Morgan

Many counties and municipalities maintain their voter registration records for extended periods of time. While censuses were taken every ten years, a voter registration roll may provide verification in those years in between to help you confirm that your ancestor may have been in an area. It also is helpful to do a little preliminary research into the voting laws at the time. If your ancestor was on a voter roll and the voter residency requirement at the time was one year, that knowledge can verify that your ancestor was in a location for at least that long. By the same token, if a decennial census record shows your ancestor at a location and not on the voter roll, it could indicate that he may have been a new arrival and had not been there long enough to meet the residency requirement.

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6 thoughts on “Tips from the Pros: Voter Registration Records, from George G. Morgan

  1. I second George Morgan’s suggestion to check local voter registrations. A friend told me about this, and even went to my home town to find my father’s registration. The clerk there didn’t think it would be worthwhile, but in fact, it was very helpful, since the registration recorded my father’s naturalization date and place, as well as his immigration file number. The document also included changes of address.

  2. So how do you find voter registration records? Do you have to go to the place?

  3. IN UK the ELECTORAL ROLL is held at the town hall with older versions at the Central Library

    In 1957 when I was 21 my mother listed me as away in the army

    when voting right were restricted to property owners these are in POLL BOOKS which go back much further

    A copy of the 2007 Electoral Roll is now on line along with the phone directories

    I see in Australia every AEC office has the Australian Commonwealth electoral roll available for viewing in electronic format.

    Hugh W

  4. Nebraska did not start state-wide voter registration until 1961 or 1962. Omaha, Lincoln and some other larger cities and counties had voater registration before then. Current record retention schedules do not require these records to be kept any longer than the Federal requirements concerning removing a voter from the data base after moving, about 5 years. Some counties retain them for longer but space is one of the reasons some do not retain them longer than required.

  5. thanks for hte tip on the voting records. Ancestry could do a great service by simply asking everyone to check with their local town clerk to see if they keep the records and how far back they go. It would simply be four pieces of information,
    town name, zip code, and yes or no and the dates. Such information could be a big time saver.

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