Electoral Registers: How to use

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This is a backup of the West Yorkshire Archive Service's "Off the Record" wiki from 2015. The live went offline in 2016 and remains unavailable.

The WYAS: Wakefield holds a large collection of electoral registers, however it is not complete for each district for every year. The earliest register available is for 1840 and some divisions continue to be deposited to the present day. To find out what registers are available follow this step by step guide:


1. First look up the place name you are researching in the alphabetical lists below. As constituency boundaries change over time the division a place is registered under can also change. For example Adlingfleet was part of Pontefract Division up to 1948 when it then became part of the Goole Division. Take care to check the dates listed by each place name to ensure you find the correct division.


2. Once you have established which division a place would have been included in during the period you are researching, follow the link attached to the division. This link will open a list of all registers held by WYAS: Wakefield for that particular division, and will also provide the reference numbers of the registers for each year.


3. If you find the WYAS: Wakefield does hold registers for the place and year you require you can either contact the office to make an appointment or arrange for work to be done on your behalf via the WYAS Research Service. When searching though the registers you may find it helpful to take note of the Polling District listed in the fourth column of the Place Name lists as this will tell you where to find each ward within the divisions.


It may sometimes be the case that a particular place is not indexed but, providing the place was not in a Borough Constituency (for more information about this see here), it is most likely to have been indexed under the name of a neighbouring town. Similarly while the entries in the alphabetical list are cross-referenced whenever possible, this cannot claim to be fully comprehensive.


Alphabetical List of Place Names
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


It should be noted that the residential qualification for electoral registers is usually six months before the date the register came into force. Each register is identified by the commencing date that it is in force from, i.e. the 1965 register was in force between February 1965 to February 1966 and the qualifying date (Q.D.) was October 1964.

The exception to this was following World War II the May 1945 register had a qualifying date of January 1945; the October 1945 register had a qualifying date of June 1945; the 1946 register had a qualifying date of June 1946 (the same year the register was in force) and this continued up to 1949 when the qualifying date was changed from June to November. This meant the 1950 register had a qualifying date of November 1949 (the previous year) and so on. This is an important factor to be taken into account when inspecting the registers.


See also:

  • here for a brief history of electoral registration
  • here for a list of registers held by WYAS: Wakefield (by division)
  • and here for repositories other than the WYAS where West Riding electoral and burgess rolls can be found.