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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Electoral Registers for County Durham

Information about electoral registers and absent voters' lists in Durham County Record Office.

Most electoral registers are on microfilm and you need to make an appointment and book a microfilm reader before you visit.

County Durham electoral registers

Compilation and publication of parliamentary electoral registers was the responsibility of Quarter Sessions until 1892. From 1893 it became the responsibility of the County Council.

Parliamentary electors 1833-1892 (ref. Q/D/PV 1-137)
Parliamentary electors 1893-1974 (ref. CC/Cl 1/1-916)
Parliamentary electors 1975-2008 (ref. DC/Cl 1/1-272)
Parliamentary electors 2009 to date (ref. DCC/RES 3/1)

Durham City electoral registers

Parliamentary and borough electors 1832-1869 (ref. Du 1/56/1-36)

From 1918 Durham City is included in the County Durham electoral registers series.

Registers of Durham County Council electors

Between 1889 and 1915 separate registers of County Council electors were produced, following the creation of County Councils in 1889.

County Council electors 1889-1915 (ref. CC/Cl 2/1-191)

They contained two lists:

  • those who could vote in both local and parliamentary elections
  • those who qualified only for local elections.

So these registers contain more names than the parliamentary electoral registers for the 26-year period when the two series overlap.

The registers cover both County Durham and Durham City electors. They have not been microfilmed but can be requested in the search room.

No electoral registers were produced in 1916 and 1917. From 1918 there was a single registration system for all elections, local and parliamentary. 

Absent Voters' lists, 1918

In late 1918, County Durham produced lists of Absent Voters - servicemen not at their home addresses. Some of these records are at the Record Office on microfilm.

The lists are divided into 11 divisions;

  • Barnard Castle
  • Bishop Auckland
  • Blaydon
  • Chester le Street
  • Consett
  • Durham
  • Houghton le Spring
  • Jarrow
  • Seaham
  • Sedgefield
  • Spennymoor

Each division is sub-divided into polling districts and parishes, with the names of the absent voters then listed - mostly in alphabetical order. So if you know the home address or even just the parish of a First world War soldier, it is possible to use these lists to trace him.

The Absent Voters' Lists usually give the full name, home address, and service details for each soldier, for example:

Morgan Sydney, 6 Aldin Grange Terrace, 16146 13th Battalion DLI.

Other Absent Voters' Lists of 1918/19 survive for:

  • Darlington (Darlington Town Hall)
  • Gateshead (Gateshead Library)
  • Hartlepool (Hartlepool Library)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne (Newcastle Central Library)

The Absent Voters' Lists probably no longer survive for:

  • South Shields
  • Stockton on Tees
  • Sunderland

How do I find which register to search?

We have produced a finding aid which matches County Durham place names to their corresponding electoral divisions.

If you know where your ancestor was living, this means you can work out which electoral register you need to look at, for any year from 1832 onwards.

County Durham electoral registers finding aid (PDF, 484kb)

For more detailed information about electoral registers see the guides to Electoral registers and Land Tax assessments in our Information Leaflets series.