Voters' Rolls

A guide to finding people who had the vote in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find:

  • address of voter (essential after 1873/74)
  • dates when the person lived at that address​

For records up to 1873/74, the Glasgow voters' rolls are arranged alphabetically by the voters' names for each ward. This should allow you to search for ancestors, even when you do not have an address. From 1874/75 voters' rolls are arranged by address within each ward so you will need an address. Street indices are available to identify the correct ward and voters' roll.

What records can I find in The Mitchell: Special Collections and Glasgow City Archives?

Voters’ rolls, or electoral registers, list those people eligible to vote in local, parliamentary and other national elections. Special Collections and the City Archives both hold voters' rolls for Glasgow. In addition the Archives has voters' rolls for areas absorbed into Glasgow as well as for areas of the former Strathclyde Regional Council.

Not everyone had the vote. Very few people were eligible pre-1832, when the system was reformed. Subsequent acts of parliament in 1867 and 1884 further increased the numbers of males eligible to vote. In 1918 all men over 21 were eligible to vote and all women over 30.

Only males could vote from 1832 to 1918 in parliamentary elections. Women could vote in municipal elections. Unmarried women and married women, not living with their husband, who were proprietors or tenants, could vote for: burgh councillors from 1882 and county councillors from 1889. In 1930 all men and women over 21 were eligible to vote.

This webpage lists the key dates relating to voting rights in the UK.

The voters' rolls include the following information:

  • first name and surname
  • place of abode
  • occupation (until 1918)
  • nature of qualification for the vote (until 1918)
  • address where property is located (until 1918)

Special Collections
has the voters' rolls and street indices for Glasgow. These include:

  • 1846-current year, parliamentary elections
  • 1872-1885, municipal elections, persons living outside the parliamentary boundaries
  • 1898/9, municipal elections, males living outside the parliamentary boundaries
  • 1900/1901, municipal elections
  • 1885-1892, municipal elections, female voters​

Registers were not compiled for some of the war years: 1915-1917 or 1941-1944.

Voters' rolls are on open access with the exception of the most recent ten years. To arrange access to the current voters' roll, please contact Glasgow City Council's Electoral Registration Office. Rolls for the the remainder of the most recent ten years are closed to public access.

Conditions apply for providing copies from the historical voters’ rolls. Please ask staff for assistance.

In addition to the standard voters' rolls for Glasgow, the City Archives also holds the following:

  • Glasgow, manuscript volumes, arranged alphabetically, 1833-1854
  • Glasgow, absent voters, 1920, which lists names of armed forces. Transcription available online
  • Areas absorbed into Glasgow, including: Govan, Hillhead, Kelvindale, Partick and Pollokshaws, municipal and parliamentary elections, 1890s to 1912 (incomplete)
  • Rutherglen, 1832-1931, 1926 and 1928-1936 (part of Glasgow voters' rolls), 1975-1996
  • Dumbartonshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, mainly 20th century, with occasional early lists of voters as part of Family and Estate Records

What records can I see online?

The 1920 Absent Voters List for Glasgow has been transcribed and is available to search online.

Glasgow voters' rolls (1857-1962) are available online via Ancestry. As a library member you have free access to this database in every Glasgow library. This powerful tool enables you to search the database by name rather than address so will not only speed up your research but will also enable you to delve deeper into the lives of your ancestors.​

What records can I see elsewh​ere?

The National Records of Scotland holds some voters' rolls within the records of the Sheriff Courts.

The National Library of Scotland holds voters' rolls for all of Scotland from 1946.​


Special Collections

0141 287 2988

In this guide