Historic Electoral Registers
The right to vote in local and parliamentary elections was given to all adults only as recently as 1928. All men, and women over thirty, could vote for MPs after the Reform Act of 1918. Before that date, the right to vote in elections was determined by property ownership. The qualifications were higher for parliamentary elections than for local councils.
Major alterations in voting rights were introduced by the parliamentary reform Acts of 1832, 1867 and 1884. Elections for borough councils were introduced in 1835. All ratepayers of three years' standing could vote for councillors. Not all residents will appear in these registers, but only those who were entitled to vote.
Doncaster Archives holds electoral registers ('burgess rolls') for Doncaster borough council elections from 1844 to 1915 and for all elections in the borough from 1958 to 1967 only.
Doncaster Local Studies Library has registers, either in book form or on microfiche, for various constituencies from 1899 onwards. There are registers for the Doncaster division of the West Riding of Yorkshire (a constituency containing an area larger than just the town centre of Doncaster) from 1899 to date, excluding 1916-1917, 1940-1944, and 1953-1954. There are also registers for the Don Valley division of the West Riding from 1918 to date, excluding 1940-1944, and for the Dearne Valley and Goole divisions of the West Riding covering the period 1949-1971.
A complete series of parliamentary electoral registers for the Doncaster area, and the whole of the West Riding of Yorkshire, from 1840 to 1974 is to be found at the West Yorkshire Archive Service Headquarters. Its website can be accessed by clicking on this link: http://www.archives.wyjs.org.uk.
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