"And the next President of the United States is.....". We will once again, for the 45th time in United States history, here these words come November 8, 2016. As a people, the United States will elect a President to govern our country.
Have you ever wondered what your ancestor's thought about politics? Did they vote in the Presidential Elections, state elections or even the local county or community elections? Did they participate in the political process in some way?
|City of Erin Election Returns, August 7, 1924, Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
So, just what kinds of voting records can be found, I am highlighting just a few here but there is so much more. Be sure to check with all local archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, libraries and university archives in the areas where your ancestor's lived and voted to see what is available.
The Poll Tax: One of the first types of records that I always suggest researchers look for are Poll Tax records A poll tax was a prerequisite to the registration for voting in many states. This Poll Tax would have been included on the regular tax records of the area or county where your ancestor lived. So, even if your ancestor didn't own property, you will want to check the tax records for this Poll Tax.
Voting Records: Many archives have voting records. These could be in the form of Election Returns, Voter Registrations, etc. These records are a great place to find your ancestor's names and possible signatures. These records could also have local election officials who worked the elections or were in charge of operating the elections and counting the ballots.
|Listing of Voters in the 1924 Erin City Elections, Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
|Election Worker's Pay Roll, District 7, May 9, 1963, Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
The United States has been holding elections since our very founding. It only makes sense to include searching for voting/election records to the genealogists to-do list. As genealogists we want to tell our ancestor's full story and that includes voting/election records.
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