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Electoral Registers/Poll Books/Freeholder Lists (Ireland)

Nature of Source

Lists of people, known as freeholders, who voted at elections or were entitled to vote. The entitlement to vote was restricted to men who owned land outright or held it by lease. Poll books are normally arranged on a county basis. Voter lists and registers provide similar information to poll books but do record how the person voted.

In Ireland, during the 18th and 19th centuries a person holding property in fee simple (outright ownership) or by lease for one or more lives (the life of the lessee and other named persons) was entitled to vote and would therefore appear on freeholder lists. A lease, simply with a defined period did not confer voting rights to the leaseholder. Between 1727 and 1793 only Protestants with a freehold worth forty shillings per year were entitled to vote and from 1793 this qualification was extended to include Roman Catholics. However from 1829 the qualifying freehold worth was raised to ten pounds which substantially reduced the amount of voters.

Most of the Irish freeholders records were destroyed by the 1922 shelling of the Public Record Office located in the Four Courts building in Dublin, marking the beginning of the civil war. Northern Ireland freeholder lists are available at the PRONI collection of Freeholder Records extracted from pre-1840 electoral registers and poll books.

See Also
Surname Origins and Distribution

Where Found

Period Covered

1700 - 1872

Genealogical Value

Name and address of voter; location and description of property; name and address of landlord.

Further References

Family History Guides  

Adolph, Anthony. Collins Tracing Your Irish Family History: HarperCollins, 2007

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Begley, Donal. Handbook on Irish Genealogy: How to Trace Your Ancestors and Relatives: Heraldic Artists, 1984

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Caball, Kay. Finding your Ancestors in Kerry: Flyleaf Press, 2015 Buy Now on Amazon
Connell, Gretta. Tracing Your Westmeath Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Corrigan, Mario &  Durney, James & Kiely, Karel. Tracing your Kildare Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon

Davis, Bill. Irish Ancestry - A Beginner's Guide: FFHS, 2001

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Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scottish-Irish Ancestral Research: GPC, 1981 (1962)

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Franklin, Margaret. Tracing your Limerick Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon

Grenham, John. Irish Ancestors, A Pocket Guide to Your Family History: Gill & Macmillan, 2004

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Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: Gill & Macmillan, 2011

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Hamrock, John. Tracing your Roscommon Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2007 Buy Now on Amazon

Kinealy, Christine. Tracing Your Irish Roots: Appletree Press, 2009

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McCarthy, Tony. The Irish Roots Guide. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1991

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McCarthy, Tony & Cadogan, Tim. Tracing Your Cork Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon

Maxwell, Ian. Tracing Your Ancestors in Northern Ireland: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: Stationery Office, 1997

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Maxwell, Ian. Researching Armagh Ancestors: A Practical Guide for the Family and Local Historian: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2000 Buy Now on Amazon
Maxwell, Ian. Researching Down Ancestors: A Practical Guide for the Family and Local Historian: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2000 Buy Now on Amazon

Maxwell, Ian. How To Trace Your Irish Ancestors: How To Books, 2009

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Maxwell, Ian. Your Irish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword, 2008

Maxwell, Ian. Tracing Your Northern Irish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword, 2010

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Meehan, Helen & Duffy, Godfrey. Tracing Your Donegal Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2008 Buy Now on Amazon
Mitchell, Brian. A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Mitchell, Brian. Basic Guide to Irish Records for Family History: Clearfield Company, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Mitchell, Brian. Tracing Derry-Londonderry Roots: Clearfield Company, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon
O'Connor, Michael H. Tracing your Kerry Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 1994 Buy Now on Amazon
O'Dowd, Peadar. Tracing your Galway Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2010 Buy Now on Amazon

Ouimette, David. Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide: Ancestry.com, 2005

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Paton, Chris. Discover Irish Land Records: Unlock the Past, 2015  
Paton, Chris. Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet: A Guide For Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2013

Prochaska, Alice, Irish History from 1700: A Guide to Sources in the Public Record Office: British Records Association, 1986

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Raymond, Stuart. Irish Family History on the Web: The Family History Partnership, 2007

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Roulston, William. Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600-1800: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2005

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Ryan, James. Irish Records: Sources for Family & Local History: Flyleaf Press, 1997

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Ryan, James & Smith, Brian. Tracing Your Dublin Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Ryan, James. Tracing your Sligo Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Scott, Jonathan. Tracing Your British and Irish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books, 2016
Smith, Brian. Tracing your Mayo Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2010 Buy Now on Amazon
Smith, Brian & Kennedy, Gerry. Tracing Your Clare Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon

Stewart, Alan. My Ancestor Was Irish: A Guide to Sources for Family Historians: Society of Genealogists, 2012

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Other  
Bradshaw's Railway Map Great Britain and Ireland 1852: Mapseeker Publishing, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Connolly, S.J. The Oxford Companion to Irish History: Oxford University Press, 2007 Buy Now on Amazon
Coogan, Tim, Pat. The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Dickson, R.J. Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, 1718-1775: Ulster Historical Foundation, 1976 Buy Now on Amazon
Grenham, John. The Little Book of Irish Clans and Tartans: Book Sales, 1995 Buy Now on Amazon
Robinson, Philip. Plantation of Ulster: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2000 Buy Now on Amazon
Smith, Paul & Turner, Keith. Railway Atlas of Ireland Then & Now: Ian Allan Publishing, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon

Websites

www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/freeholders_records.htm (Guide to freeholder records)
www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/browse/records/census/eight.htm (Eighteenth & Nineteenth Century Census Substitutes with a county-by-county inventory of Freemen and voters lists)
http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazkb/gazkb68.htm (GlobalGenealogy.com: IrishLand Records, Kyle Betit)
www.bifhsgo.ca/upload/files/Articles/LandEstateAndFreeholdersRecordsInIreland.pdf (Land, Estate and Freeholders Records in Ireland, by Kyle J. Betit)
www.iar.ie
(Irish Archives Resource: The site contains information about archival collections open for public research in Ireland from many organisations, societies, political organisations and businesses)
www.rascal.ac.uk
(Research and Special Collections Available Locally. An electronic gateway to research resources in Ireland. You can use this web-site to search and browse information about the wide range of research and special collections held in libraries, museums and archives across the region)
www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/index.html (Irish Genealogy Toolkit will guide you to your Irish ancestors)
www.irishtimestraining.com (Online Tracing your Irish Ancestors Course designed and presented by the genealogist John Grenham. The 11 modules will give you the tools and techniques to comprehensively trace your Irish family history. The online tutorials will provide you with a wide-ranging guide to all the records, resources and research techniques you will need)www.histpop.org (Official reports, legislation and essays on the censuses including statistical analysis. The documents on the site include indexes to parishes, townships and places used in the official reports)
www.irishlivesremembered.ie (Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine. The online magazine is dedicated to tracing your Irish ancestors globally with over 70 pages of Irish genealogy news and resources. Read online or download in PDF format)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Ireland Census Reports. Learn about the community in which your ancestor lived with census reports detailing population and area statistics from the latter half of the 19th century up to the early 20th century)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Ireland Statistical Surveys. Learn about the history, customs, politics, and industries of various Irish counties. The collection is comprised of PDF images of the surveys from the following counties: Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, King's Offaly, Leitrim, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, and Tyrone)
www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/browse (A county-by-county listing of relevant records)
www.rootsweb.com/~nirwgw (Information on Northern Irish counties and available resources)
www.iar.ie (Irish Archives Resource: The site contains information about archival collections open for public research in Ireland from many organisations, societies, political organisations and businesses)
https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/getting-started-in-irish-genealogy/594 (FamilySearch.org: Learning Center Online Genealogy Course: Getting Started in Irish Genealogy. Lecture designed to acquaint beginning genealogist with strategies and sources for getting started in Irish genealogy)
www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/irish-records-what-is-available/church-records (Irish Genealogy: Research in Ireland: Irish Records: What Is Available?)
www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/irish-genealogical-research-getting-started/how-to-start-your-family-history (Irish Genealogy: How To Start Your Family History)
www.cyndislist.com/ireland.htm (Ireland genealogy links)
www.irelandgenweb.com (Information on Irish counties and available resources)
www.rootsweb.com/~fianna (Fianna Guide to Irish Genealogy)
www.thecore.com/seanruad (IreAtlas Townland database)
www.irishancestors.ie/?page_id=5392 (Irish Genealogical Research Society: Index of Townlands, 1901: Searchable database of over 64,000 townlands in Ireland which are ancient land divisions measuring from just a few acres to several hundred and still in use today)
www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/placenames (1851 General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, parishes and Baronies of Ireland)

Online Databases

www.findmypast.co.uk (Ireland, Electoral Registers 1885-1886. The registers, held by the British Library, contain over 3,000 records covering 12 counties. The registers include the counties of Armagh, Fermanagh, Down, Limerick, Mayo, Meath, Tyrone, Roscommon, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Electoral Registers for Ireland 1832-38. This dataset details those eligible to vote in Ireland after the electorate had been greatly increased following the Great Reform Act of 1832. It contains over 52,600 names, details of occupations, addresses and entitlement criteria to vote. The information in this dataset comes from the Report of the Select Committee on Fictitious Votes, 1837-38)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Electoral registers extracted from the Reports from Committees, Fictitious Votes, Select Committee on Fictitious Votes, 1837-1838)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Ireland, Clare Electoral Registers, 1860-1910)
http://databases.dublincity.ie/about.php
(Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive: Dublin City Electoral Lists 1908 to 1915. A database of all those registered to vote in municipal elections)
http://databases.dublincity.ie/about.php (Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive: Dublin City Electoral Lists 1938 to 1964. A database of all those registered to vote in local elections)
www.ancestryireland.com (Ulster Historical Foundation: Election Records)
Irish Family History Foundation (Online Genealogy Databases for Ireland. See web site for material available for each county. Can include births/baptisms, marriages and deaths, Griffiths valuation and census returns)
www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/freeholders_records.htm
(Public Record Office of Northern Ireland Freeholders' Records: Names of freeholders extracted from 18th and 19th century poll books and electoral registers with original images)
http://catalogue.nli.ie (National Library of Ireland Online Catalogue: Search online to see which city and county electoral registers are held by the library. Use the search term 'electoral registers' followed by the city or county of interest to see the holdings)
http://databases.dublincity.ie/about.php
(Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive: Ancient freemen of Dublin, 1461 to 1491 and 1564 to 1774. A database of all those on the who were entered into the Freedom of the City by the City Assembly)
www.progenealogists.com/ireland/freeholdersdata.asp (Irish Freeholders, Freemen and Voters by County, City and Borough, 1234-1978. Catalogued whereabouts of records from a variety of repositories)
www.irelandgenweb.com (Some transcribed records and links to resources)
www.rootsweb.com/~nirwgw (Northern IrelandGenWeb Project: Some transcribed records)
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jeanmccarthy36 (Jean McCarthy's Genealogy Web Site)
www.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=4077 (Irish Records Index, 1500-1920)