Devon, Plymouth & West Devon Electoral Registers 1780-1973


The register will provide your ancestors’ residence at the time. The collection includes parish and parliamentary registers as well as lists of county voters. Some registers even recorded who your ancestor voted for. Did your ancestor support Labour or Conservative?

With each search you will find a transcript and an image. The transcripts will order the details found from the original image. The details in the transcript can vary depending on the type of register.

  • Name
  • Year
  • Event – Parish electoral rolls, electoral registers, correspondence, list of county voters, parliamentary electoral register
  • Place
  • County and country
  • Archive and reference

  • Image

    The image will include additional place information such as electoral district, parish and/or address. Additional annotations on the registers my state if the person was deceased. Until the Secret Ballot Act of 1872, some registers even recorded which candidate the individual voted for.

    By viewing the image, you will discover the names of your ancestor’s neighbours and possibly more ancestors.

    In registers from about 1850 onwards, the word ‘successive’ can appear next to a person’s residence. This means that the individual has moved within the last 12 months and their qualification to vote carries over to the new home.

    In later electoral registers, abbreviations were used to explain an individual’s eligibility to vote. A list of the abbreviations can be found below.

    Search Tip

    If you are having trouble finding your ancestor, try to search for their name without a year. In some volumes of the electoral registers, the year of the register has not been indexed and therefore, will not appear in results if you are requesting a specific year.

    Registration Codes

    The registers began to use codes to decipher an individual’s basis of voting qualification as the British electorate increased and more people were given the right to vote in both parliamentary and local elections.

    Registers after 1918 included the following codes:

  • A dash ( – ) – Person could not vote in the election
  • R – Residence qualification
  • BP – Business premises qualification
  • O – Occupational qualification
  • HO – Qualification through husband's occupation
  • NM – Naval or military voter

  • Registers after 1928 include two codes next to an elector’s name. The first code is a qualification to vote in parliamentary elections. The second code is the voter’s qualification to vote in local elections.

  • R – Residence qualification (man)
  • Rw – Residence qualification (woman)
  • B – Business premises qualification (man)
  • Bw – Business premises qualification (woman)
  • O – Occupational qualification (man)
  • Ow – Occupational qualification (woman)
  • D – Qualification through wife's occupation
  • Dw – Qualification through husband's occupation
  • NM – Naval or military voter

  • Attached to names, the following extra codes can sometimes be seen

  • J – Eligible to serve as juror
  • SJ – Eligible to serve as special juror
  • a – Absent voter