Election Fever: Discovering Your Ancestors’ Politics

Election Day in New York, 1864Unless you can unplug yourself completely from the outside world, you’re probably being inundated with reminders of the upcoming election. Here in Indiana, “inundated” is an understatement. I have to say though that it’s heartening to see such interest and passion, with so many people so engaged and involved in the political process.

Last night I spent a little time exploring the political ties of some of my ancestors. I know that several of my ancestors dabbled in politics through newspaper articles and that’s where I started my searches. I found one family mentioned repeatedly in the Brooklyn Eagle online as a delegate from the 5th Ward in Brooklyn to the state Democratic convention. Another article mentioned some hard feelings between him and the powerful mayor of Brooklyn at that time.  The Brooklyn papers are full of mentions of him in attendance at weddings and funerals, and other events.

Although our ancestors may not make it into the history books with their political activities, they will often make it into newspapers, local histories, and other records where we can uncover them.  Here are some resources that can help you seek out your ancestor’s political ties:



Voter Records at Ancestry




New York



Image: Election Day in New York, 1864 (Illus. in: The Illustrated London news, 1864 Dec. 3, p. 560.) Click on the image to enlarge it.

2 thoughts on “Election Fever: Discovering Your Ancestors’ Politics

  1. Juliana,
    I found your posts when researching Tobin’s and thought that
    you might be interested to know that I have just listed an old advertising card for Tobin’s Hat Store on ebay – the item no is
    350119669857 if you want to take a look.

  2. What I am interested in is who posted comment by Sylvia. I am interested in the Tobin’s as they are on my husband’s side of the family.

    Thank you,
    Sonya Yager

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