Voting Records


The majority of the voting records for this country start in the mid-1800s. Some colonial and European records go back to the early 1700s and before. These records may be called Voting Registration, Great Registers, Poll Books, Burgess Rolls, and other terms. When a country, state, or county started to grow, the local government may have required eligible voters to register. As an example, in California the Great Registers of Voters began in 1866 due to the gold rush. On these lists you can find the full name (no initials), age, country of nativity, occupation, residence, whether naturalized or not, and what court admitted him as a citizen.

Remember to vote in the United States, a person must proof that he or she is a citizen. Year of naturalization can sometimes be found on a voting record.

Like tax records and city directories, voter lists can help you track an ancestor in between census years, and give his address. If you can't find your ancestor on the census, knowing his address will help you do a house-to-house search. You might even find clues to land ownership.

Help Me!  Find out if voters' records have been published for my research area.

Help Me!   Where can I write to find voting records in my ancestor’s location?

To ask these or similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.