Electoral Registers.

Image result for registry of electors ireland

For the week that’s in it with our upcoming general election this Saturday, and sorry if you thought that genealogy was a peaceful respite from all that jazz, I thought that a quick look at a few of the resources available to researchers would be pertinent.

Electoral registers can be very useful sources of information for 20th century family research particularly from the 1930s. These registers are held by the National Library but are offsite, so you need to order them in advance. The years held vary by county so you would need to key in ‘Register of Electors’ and then your specific county in the online catalogue https://catalogue.nli.ie/ – for instance, Limerick’s register of electors date from 1936. There is often not a full run so you may have to look outside of the year that you’re specifically interested in.

Dublin’s city electoral rolls from 1937 to 1964 are available on databases accessible in the Gilbert Library on Pearse Street; they also have online access to Dublin electoral rolls for 1899 and 1908-1915 https://databases.dublincity.ie/. The library also holds a near complete run of Dublin electoral registers in paper form to the present, accessible in the reading room.

It’s useful to remember that it was only in 1918 following the Representation of the People Act that the vote in Ireland was a right of all men over 21 years of age or 19 if they had seen active service and women over 30 years of age with restrictions attached.

For the 19th century a source that is well worth a look is Ireland, Select Committee on Fictitious Votes 1837-1838 available on www.findmypast.ie. The title ‘Fictitious’ is misleading as the majority of those listed were men legally entitled to vote; the committee had been established to investigate alleged vote rigging and corruption.

By Helen Moss.

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