Sometimes known as Burgess Rolls or voters' lists, in essence, electoral rolls are lists of people that are entitled to vote.
Since 1880 they have been arranged by Parliamentary Constituency, Electoral Ward and Polling District and cannot be searched by name. Our records date from 1841 to the present (with a number of gaps).
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Location of records
Archived Electoral Registers are located at Sheffield Local Studies Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield.
For registers less than 10 years old, enquiries must be made in person. We cannot answer queries made by telephone, letter or email.
We strongly advise that you book a microfilm viewer in advance of your visit. Once at the Library you can help yourself to the microfilms.
Registers from 1945 are available as bound volumes.
For registers less than 10 years old - extracts from these registers may only be recorded by making hand written notes. Photocopying or electronic recording are not permitted by law.
As a preservation measure we do not allow photocopying from older bound volumes. Copies are available from microfiche versions up to the 1939/40 edition.
The registers only cover the Sheffield district as it was at the time.
The registers for areas which are now within the Sheffield boundary but which were formerly outside Sheffield, may be held by Derbyshire or West Yorkshire record offices.
There are some gaps in coverage, as registers were not published in World War One or World War Two.
Pre-1832 the vote was reserved for owners and occupiers of valuable property. Even after reforms of 1832 and 1835 few working men and no women could vote. (Up to 1867 therefore directories are a better source for the family historian.)
Sheffield became a municipal borough in 1843 and local elections have been held ever since. Voter registration has always been our responsibility.
Voters are listed in alphabetical order in each ward, addresses were often quite vague in early times.
The franchise was extended in 1867 to include all male householders. Women householders (spinsters and widows) could vote in elections for Boards of Guardians or School Boards but not in local elections.
Women over 30 were granted the vote in 1918 and almost everyone over the age of 21 could take part in an election by 1928. There were no registers compiled between 1914 and 1920 or between 1939-1945.
After 1880 the arrangement of the voters registers changed. Streets were arranged in polling districts within wards so it is necessary to know the address of the person you are looking for otherwise the search can take a long time.
Many are now available on microfilm. There is an ongoing programme to microfilm the original volumes. This may mean that some volumes that are currently being filmed may not be available for research.