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Absent Voter Lists Available

October 16th 2014

At War But Eligible to Vote
Northumberland Absent Voter Lists 1918 - 1920

The production of a new series of CDs by Northumberland Archives is set to be a great resource for anyone digging into their family history or carrying out military research. The CDs contain the Absent Voter Lists for the period 1918 – 1920: the registers of people entitled to vote but away serving King and country at the end of World War One.

The General Election of 1918 was the first to give all men over the age of 21, women over 30 and military personnel over 19 the right to vote. In order to qualify, they had to register by 18th August 1818, three months before the end of the First World War. The first list, hastily published in the October, contained many errors, but servicemen were given another chance to register with a second Absent Voter List (AVL) published in April 1919. After that, they were published twice a year in the spring and autumn.

In addition to the names of the service personnel still away from home, the AVLs include details of address, military service number, regiment, battalion, ship name and more.

The three discs produced by Northumberland Archives cover the three parliamentary divisions, Hexham, Berwick Upon Tweed and Wansbeck, and in total over 71,000 names are included. Unfortunately the Morpeth constituency is not available.

“We would love to know more about the ALVs for the Morpeth Parliamentary Division,” Sue Wood, Head of Collections explains. “Unfortunately they have not been deposited with our archive. If anyone has any information about their existence outside the British Library or National Archive, we would welcome a call.

“The records that are available to us for the other Northumberland divisions are an invaluable source of information to researchers, and not just family historians, but anyone delving into village history or regiments.

“The archive team have taken a lot of care and time to digitise the records and make them searchable for simplicity and ease of use. I am sure many people will be delighted not just to have access to these records in our study centre at Woodhorn, but to be able to purchase their own copies for use at home.”

The AVLs can be accessed in person at Woodhorn, where discs can be obtained, but they are also available through the online shop at a cost of £20 per parliamentary division.