Somerset electoral registers have gone online, and more names have been added to the Oxfordshire Wills Index.
The Origins Network has added to British Origins and the National Wills Index respectively:
Somerset electoral registers 1832-1914
The Origins Network says: “Electoral registers are the only records that provide frequent, regular and authoritative information on an ancestor’s property. They can therefore be used to trace changes of address year by year.
“The geographical organisation of the original printed volumes can make finding an individual difficult, not least since you need to be familiar with the electoral geography of Somerset for the relevant year in order to know where a particular town or parish is listed. Even if you have a “home” address for ancestor from other records, he might claim his vote on the basis of some other piece of qualifying property elsewhere in the county.
“Origins’ index to these records overcomes these problems by providing a complete searchable text, which means you can search on any combination of personal name and place both for the individual volumes and for a longer timespan. Even if your ancestors never gave a Somerset home address in other records, this makes it possible to check very quickly whether they had a significant property holding in the county.
What are the Somerset Electoral Registers?
“The Reform Act of 1832 introduced a radical reform of the country’s parliamentary constituencies, and, to the benefit of family historians, gave rise to a coherent national system of voter registration, whose records survive. Since the right to vote was conferred by ownership or occupation of property, the registers record not only the names of the voters but details of each man’s property qualification. Each entry gives the full name of the voter and his place of abode, the exact nature of the property held and the location of the property which conferred the right to vote.
“This set of Somerset electoral registers has kindly been made available by Somerset & Dorset Family History Society.
Oxfordshire Wills Index 1516-1857
“An extra 35,700 names have now been added to the current collection of Oxfordshire Wills, available on the National Wills Index, completing the Oxfordshire Wills Index collection.
“This dataset indexes all the surviving probate records of the Bishop and Archdeacon of Oxford, covering the period 1516 to 1857, and of the Oxfordshire Peculiars, covering the period 1547-1856.
“All the records indexed here are now housed in Oxfordshire Record Office. Digitisation of these documents has almost been completed, and these digitised images will be available within the National Wills Index later this year.”