Ancestry Adds the California Voter Registers Database

Database: California Voter Registers, 1866–1898
Records: 3,682,335
Last Update: 21 July 2011

Know as the Great Registers, an 1866 law required all counties in California to create a list of names by district of eligible voters. At that time, eligible voters meant most men 21 years of age and older, with some exceptions over time as various laws were passed and some repealed.

These Great Registers, the California Voter Registers from 1866 to 1898, have recently been added to the ever growing list of searchable databases at Ancestry.com. An 1872 law required California counties to print an index or alphabetical listing of these registers every two years. These printed indexes are what now comprise this new searchable database at Ancestry.

The specific content of the registers varied over the years and between counties. The lists tended to include increased information as time went on. Here are some of the details the lists grew to include:

  • name
  • occupation
  • age
  • height
  • complexion
  • color of eyes
  • color of hair
  • visible marks or scars
  • country of nativity
  • place of residence
  • date, place, and court of naturalization
  • date of voter registration
  • post office address
  • able to read Constitution
  • able to write name
  • able to mark ballot
  • nature of disability
  • transferred from different voting precinct

Did you know that Herbert C Hoover, the 31st President of the United State, though born in Iowa lived in California? Did you also know that he was 5’9” tall, was of a light complexion, had hazel eyes and light brown hair. He even had a scar on his left hand forefinger. In 1896 he was working as a mining engineer and was living with his older brother Theodore in Alameda County, California. How do I know? Because I found it right here on the 1896 Alameda County Voter Register on Ancestry.

Voter registers can make a great addition or even a substitution to the census. The years covered by the Great Registers are especially helpful as they can help fill in gaps from the 1880 census and the missing 1890 census.

Complete list of counties and the years included in the database:

  • Alameda (1867, 1872–1873, 1875–1898)
  • Alpine (1873–1890)
  • Amador (1867–1898)
  • Butte (1867, 1872–1873, 1875, 1879–1882, 1886, 1890–1898)
  • Calaveras (1867–1898)
  • Colusa (1871–1898)
  • Contra Costa (1867–1898)
  • Del Norte (1872–1898)
  • El Dorado (1867–1898)
  • Fresno (1867, 1871–1873, 1875–1877, 1879–1880, 1884–1886, 1890–1898)
  • Glenn (1892–1898)
  • Humboldt (1871–1873, 1875, 1879–1882, 1890–1898)
  • Inyo (1871–1872, 1875, 1877, 1879–1898)
  • Kern (1867, 1872–1873, 1877, 1879–1898)
  • Klamath (Del Norte) (1869, 1873)
  • Lake (1872–1873, 1875, 1879–1880, 1888–1898)
  • Lassen (1868, 1873, 1877, 1879, 1886, 1890, 1898)
  • Los Angeles (1873, 1875–1876, 1879–1894, 1896 [for Los Angeles precincts 1–74, Acton-Wilmington precincts 1–4])
  • Madera (1898)
  • Marin (1867–1868, 1873, 1875–1876, 1879–1898)
  • Mariposa (1872–1873, 1875–1877, 1879–1898)
  • Mendocino (1867, 1871–1898)
  • Merced (1867–1872, 1875–1880, 1890–1898)
  • Modoc (1875–1876, 1879–1880, 1888–1898)
  • Mono (1872, 1875–1876, 1879–1898)
  • Monterey (1867–1869, 1872, 1875–1876, 1879–1880, 1884–1898)
  • Napa (1867–1898)
  • Nevada (1867–1868, 1871, 1873, 1875–1877, 1879–1898)
  • Orange (1892–1896)
  • Placer (1867–1868, 1871–1873, 1876–1877, 1879–1898)
  • Plumas (1867–1898)
  • Sacramento (1867–1868, 1872–1873, 1875–1877, 1879–1892, 1896–1898)
  • San Benito (1875–1898)
  • San Bernardino (1872, 1876, 1879–1898)
  • San Diego (1867, 1871–1873, 1875–1877, 1879–1880, 1884–1886, 1890–1898)
  • San Francisco (1866–1867, 1869, 1871 supplement, 1872–1873, 1875, 1876–1877, 1878, 1880, 1882, 1886–1890) [Districts 29–48], 1892 [Districts 28–45], 1896–1898 [Districts 28–45])
  • San Joaquin (1867–1869, 1871–1873, 1875–1877, 1880–1884, 1888–1898)
  • San Luis Obispo (1867–1868, 1871–1873, 1875, 1877, 1879–1880, 1884–1892, 1898)
  • San Mateo (1867–1869, 1871–1872, 1875–1877, 1879–1880–1886, 1890–1898)
  • Santa Barbara (1873–1875, 1877, 1879, 1890–1898)
  • Santa Clara (1867–1869, 1871–1873, 1875–1876, 1879, 1880–1884, 1888–1896)
  • Santa Cruz (1868–1869, 1871–1873, 1880, 1886, 1890–1898)
  • Shasta (1867–1869, 1871–1873, 1875–1877, 1880–1882, 1886–1896)
  • Sierra (1872–1898)
  • Siskiyou (1867–1898)
  • Solano (1867, 1872–1873, 1875–1882, 1888–1898)
  • Sonoma (1867, 1871–1873, 1875, 1879–1880, 1884, 1888–1896)
  • Stanislaus (1867, 1869, 1871–1872, 1875, 1879–1880, 1886–1898)
  • Sutter (1867–1898)
  • Tehama (1875–1896)
  • Trinity (1867–1868, 1871–1873, 1875, 1877, 1879, 1888–1896)
  • Tulare (1869, 1872, 1879–1896)
  • Tuolumne (1867, 1871, 1873, 1875, 1877, 1879–1898)
  • Ventura (1875, 1877, 1879–1880, 1882, 1886–1890, 1898)
  • Yolo (1867, 1871–1872, 1875, 1877–1882, 1886–1898)
  • Yuba (1867–1896)

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The 1892 Great Register of Voters for Los Angeles County, CA

The following news release was written by SCGS staff:

The Southern California Genealogical Society announces the publication of a new index publication, the 1892 Great Register of Voters for Los Angeles County, California. The index contains more than 27,500 records. Of these, approximately 12,000 resided in the City of Los Angeles and the remaining 15,500 lived in outside of the City of Los Angeles. The index can be purchased in soft cover or CD format at http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/Publications.htm.

The registers were the result of the California Registry Act of 1866 in which all voters were required to register. Why were only males listed? In 1892, only men were allowed to vote.

In addition to name, age, place of birth, occupation and place of residence, the registers provide naturalization information in sufficient detail to show the date of naturalization and the court conferring the naturalization-anywhere in the United States. (e.g. Miles Allen, Ireland, Aug 6, 1879, San Fran, CA, 4th Dist).

The 1892 Great Register also contains a wealth of personal information regarding each person, namely, height (in feet and inches), complexion shade, eye and hair color, and distinguishing marks (e.g. “Thomas Charles Allen, Missouri, mole on third knuckle of left hand”).

Courtesy of Paula Hinkel, Southern California Genealogical Society

The 1867 Alabama Voter Registration Database & Digitized Images Online

Voter registration records have long been used by genealogists – most often considered as an added proof of residence in a voterregistrationcommunity, but also useful in establishing length of that residence and nativity. The Alabama Department of Archives and History has been posting the 1867 Alabama Voter Registrations for some time. It’s a major project, as there are a total of 131 volumes to index and digitize prior to posting. The last update was done on December 18, 2008.

The records are especially important, as numerous African-Americans are found here as free men for the first time. Note that Confederate veterans will not be found on this registration (see below).

The following counties are currently posted in their entirety: Washington, Wilcox, Winston, Walker, Tuscaloosa, Tallapoosa, Talladega, Sumter, St. Clair, Shelby, Russell, Randolph, Pike, Pickens, Perry, Macon, Madison, Morgan, Marion, Mobile, Marshall, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Lowndes, Limestone and Hale Counties.

It is stated on the website that severe mold damage has taken place on the books for Dallas; Franklin; Lauderdale; Limestone; Lowndes; Monroe; Randolph; and Washington counties. For this reason, some data may be missing. Note that Dallas and Franklin county information has not yet been posted.

The following information dealing with the history surrounding the 1867 Alabama Voter registrations is directly from the site itself:

The Alabama 1867 voter registration records were created as a direct result of a Reconstruction Act passed by the United States Congress on March 23, 1867. The act required the commanding officer in each military district to hold, before September 1, 1867, a registration of all male citizens, 21 years and older, in each county who were also qualified to vote and who had taken the loyalty oath. (See www.legislature.state.al.us/misc/history/constitutions/1868/1868enablinginst.html for full text of the act.) Each registrant visited the local registration office, took the oath, and was listed in the Voter Registration record. The companion volumes to the voter registration records are the Loyalty Oaths (also available at the ADAH).

Individuals ineligible to register included Confederate veterans and any person who had previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, as an officer of the United States, as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, and who later engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or gave aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, and whose “disability” had not been removed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress.

Search the database for your ancestors.