Explore new electoral register collection with 32 million names in England and Wales

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27 September 2021
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Trace ancestors in the decades between the 1911 Census and the 1939 Register
A collection of 32 million names and 14 million addresses for added to FindMyPast will help researchers bridge the gap between the 1911 census and the 1939 Register.

The new additions to the England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1910-1932 collection have been added to Findmypast’s existing collection of indexed 1920 to 1932 registers to create a new resource containing 150 million records spanning more than two decades.

Ahead of the company’s release of the 1921 Census of England & Wales in January 2022, improved access to these important British Library documents will enable family historians to locate their ancestors between the 1911 Census and 1939 Register with greater ease and accuracy. 

As well as adding the 32 million names, the England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1910-1932 collection now contains over 14 million additional addresses making it a valuable resource for anyone looking to explore the history of their home

What are Electoral Registers?

Electoral Registers are listings of all those registered to vote in a particular area. The lists were created annually to record the names of eligible voters and their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property. Registration for voters in England and Wales has been required since 1832 and registers were typically published annually, making them particularly useful for tracking ancestors between censuses, uncovering previous occupants of a property or exploring the history of a local area.

Thanks to a new technique known as “Structured Data Extract”, England & Wales Electoral Registers 1910-1932 has been fully indexed, allowing users to search millions of images by name, date, location and keyword. As well as images, each search result provides a transcript recording:

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  • the individual’s name
  • registration year
  • address or abode
  • the nature of their qualification to vote or a description of their property
  • occasionally their occupation or age.

This new method has allowed this data to be structured and organised to a greater degree than traditional Optical Character Recognition. This not only enables more precise searches but FindMyPast also state that the use of name variants which will catch a huge assortment of miss-spelled names.

Richard Jackson, Findmypast’s Data Development Manager said: To extract meaningful data from images, the documents go through three distinct steps. Firstly, Findmypast process the images, de-skewing to align wonky text. Then the images are enhanced to amplify the text on the page for better character recognition. Once the text on each image has been captured, the Structured Data Extract process analyses and identifies the contents and structure of each image based on a variety of expectations. 

'In the case of Electoral Registers, names are expected to appear on the left-hand side of each image with address information on the right. In time, we hope to revisit this dataset to extract even more value for our customers and hope that they enjoy the results of this first stage of extraction. 

You can explore the collection here with a FindMyPast subscription. FindMyPast often offer a free trial to new users and you can also access the site via group subscription at many UK libraries and archives.