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Tameside Absent Voters Lists

A guide to resources at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.

What is an Absent Voters List?

An Act of Parliament of 6 February 1918 allowed service men to register so that they could vote in their home constituency. Men had to apply to be put on the absent voters list. A deadline of 18 August 1918 was set and a list compiled from applications up to this date was published on 15 October 1918. A second opportunity to register was offered and a deadline was set at 18 February 1919. The list resulting from applications received during this second wave was published on 15 April 1919. The absent voters lists were prepared by the local Electoral Register and they were published twice a year, as were the general electoral registers. This pattern continued for a little while after the end of the First World War. There are fewer instances of absent voters the further we get from the end of the conflict: this was because of the simple fact that the men were coming home.

The Absent Voters Lists were published as separate volumes to the main electoral registers.

The Absent Voters Lists are of great interest to military historians and genealogists because they include more information that is usually recorded in the general electoral registers. In addition to the name and home address of an individual, they often include regiment or corps, regimental number, rank, battalion, battery (for artillery units), company or other unit number (for other corps units).

What is held at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre?

A complete series of electoral registers for the Tameside area has not survived. Our holdings are different for all the Tameside towns and there is considerable variation in the years represented. If you can’t find the electoral register in the catalogue, it is because it has not survived.

For this same reason, we do not hold any absent voters lists for the First World War for the Tameside area.

There is only one absent voters list held at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. It dates from 1936 and covers Stalybridge, Hyde, Dukinfield and Longdendale only.

You can check the regular electoral register for names of those you suspect to be absent voters. They will have N M by the side of their name. This stands for Naval Military and tells you that they were in the forces. They may also have a in front of their name. This stands for Absent Voter.

The electoral registers are arranged by street. There is no name index.

Are there copies of the Absent Voters Lists for Tameside anywhere else?

The British Library holds copies of all electoral registers. Although they hold copies of some Tameside electoral registers, they do not hold copies of the absent voters lists.

Below is a list of absent voters lists held for other towns in the Greater Manchester area:

Manchester Local Studies Library, Central Library
Absent Voters List for Manchester City for 1918-1923 only. Cover City of Manchester as it was at that time (e.g. does not include Wythenshawe).

Stockport Heritage Library
Absent Voters Lists for Stockport for 1918-1925 only. Stockport town only, not surrounding area (i.e. not Bredbury, Romiley, etc.).

Oldham Local Studies Library
No absent voters lists for Oldham have survived. However, a CD of absent voters was compiled by Dorothy Bintley of the Oldham and District Family History Society. Although this CD contains a list of absent voters, it is not an absent voters list. It is a list of people registered in the Oldham electoral register for 1918 as absentee naval or military voters. It does not contain information such as army number, regiment etc. It is available for consultation in the search room at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.

Trafford Archives and Local Studies
No absent voters list for the Trafford area have survived.

Touchstones Rochdale
No absent voters lists for Rochdale have survived.

Bury Local Studies Library
No absent voters lists for Bury have survived.

Do Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre hold any other records that relate to absent voters that may be of interest to me?

A CD containing absent voters for Oldham in 1918 is available for consultation in the search room at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. This CD was compiled by Dorothy Bintley of the Oldham and District Family History Society. Although this CD contains a list of absent voters, it is not an absent voters list. It is a list of people registered in the Oldham electoral register for 1918 as absentee naval or military voters. It does not contain information such as army number, regiment etc.

We also hold the following item, which is not an absent voters list. It is held as part of the Manchester Regiment collection because it is not an original electoral register or voters list. It is a folder which contains two documents, neither of which are original records, but documents seemingly compiled from other sources. It includes:

Manchester Regiment List of Soldiers from the Absent Voters List 1918-1919, all Ardwick addresses. Compiled by S Morton, November 1997.
Includes name, rank, number, battalion and address because this information is included in the Absent voters list.

Known addresses of the Manchester Regiment 1914-1918: includes war graves in Cheshire report dated 1930.
Includes surnames, forenames, rank, number battalion, address, killed, age, where. The latter three columns are not always completed.
It is not know from which sources, other than the Cheshire war graves report, this document was compiled. It is possible that information in the war graves report was cross-referenced against absent voters lists or regular electoral registers from 1914 or 1918.

Which parliamentary constituency was my town in?

Ashton-under-Lyne
1295-1832: represented by two members for Lancashire
1832: Ashton-under-Lyne constituency created
1868: Hurst added
1950: Mossley and Limehurst added from Mossley Division of Lancashire
1955: Droylsden added
1983: Ashton-under-Lyne borough constituency created
1997: Mossley transferred to Stalybridge and Hyde; Failsworth and Hollinwood added

Audenshaw (including Hooley Hill)
1295-1832: represented by two members for Lancashire
1832-1868: included in two member Southern division of Lancashire
1868-1885: included in two member Southeastern division of Lancashire
1885-1918: Prestwich division of Lancashire
1918-1950: Droylsden
1950-1955: Gorton division of Manchester

Denton
1295-1832: represented by two members for Lancashire
1832-1868: included in two member Southern division of Lancashire
1868-1885: included in two member Southeastern division of Lancashire
1885-1918: South East Lancashire, Gorton Division
1918-1950: Mossley Division
1950-1955: Droylsden borough constituency
1955-1983: Gorton Division of Manchester
1983-current: Denton and Reddish

Droylsden
1295-1832: represented by two members for Lancashire
1832-1868: included in two member Southern division of Lancashire
1868-1885: included in two member Southeastern division of Lancashire
1885-1918: Prestwich Division
1918-1950: Mossley Division of Lancashire
1950-1955: Droylsden Borough Constituency
1955-current: Ashton-under-Lyne

Dukinfield
1545-1832: represented by two members from Cheshire
1832-1868: represented by the two member Northeastern division of Cheshire
1868-1885: part of two-member Eastern division of Cheshire
1885-1918: part of Stalybridge
1918-1983: part of Stalybridge and Hyde
1997: transferred to Denton and Reddish

Hyde
1545-1832: represented by two members from Cheshire
1832-1868: represented by the two member Northeastern division of Cheshire
1868-1885: part of two-member Eastern division of Cheshire
1885: Hyde Division of Cheshire created
1918: Stalybridge and Hyde division of Cheshire created
1983-current: new constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde created

Mossley
1295-1832: represented by two members for Lancashire
1832-1868: included in two member Southern division of Lancashire
1868-1885: included in two member Southeastern division of Lancashire
1885-1918: Prestwich Division
1918-1950: Mossley Division of Lancashire
1950-1983: Ashton-under-Lyne constituency
1983-1997: Ashton-under-Lyne borough constituency
1997-current: Stalybridge and Hyde

Mottram-in-Longdendale
1545-1832: represented by two members from Cheshire
1832-1868: represented by the two member Northeastern division of Cheshire
1868-1885: part of two-member Eastern division of Cheshire
1885-1918: Hyde Division of Cheshire
1918-1983: Stalybridge and Hyde division of Cheshire
1983-current: new constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde

Stalybridge
1545-1832: represented by two members from Cheshire
1832-1868: represented by the two member Northeastern division of Cheshire
1868-1885: part of two-member Eastern division of Cheshire
1885-1918: Stalybridge Borough Constituency
1918: Stalybridge and Hyde division of Cheshire created
1983-current: new constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde created

Voters lists / Electoral Registers for the Tameside area held at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre, for the period 1918-1926.

Ashton 1918
(reference CA/126/1918/1 and on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Ashton c1918
(reference CA/126/c.1918/3)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Newton 1918
(reference CA/126/1918/4)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hurst 1918
(reference CA/126/1918/2)
Regular voters list. No mention of “a” or “N M”.

Ashton 1919
(reference CA/126/1919/1, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Stalybridge and Hyde 1919
(reference CA/126/1919/2)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hyde 1920
(reference CA/126/1920/1, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hyde 1921
(reference CA/126/1921/2, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hyde 1922
(reference CA/126/1922/1, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Godley 1922
(reference CA/126/1922/2)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hyde 1924
(reference CA/126/1924/1, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hyde 1925
(reference CA/126/1925/2, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Hyde 1926
(reference CA/126/1926/1, on microfiche)
Regular voters list. Includes “a” before name indicating “Absent Voter” and “N M” in column 4 – “Parliamentary Qualification”. No further information is given other than this qualification, i.e. no regiment, battalion, army number or rank.

Further reading

Norman Holding, More sources of World War I Army Ancestry, chapter 8 “Electoral Rolls”, pp39-42 (Tameside Local Studies shelf mark L921 HOL)

Sarah Paterson, Tracing Your Family History: Army, p58 (Tameside Local Studies shelf mark L921)

William Spencer, Army Service Records of the First World War (third edition), p106 (Tameside Local Studies shelf mark L355.1)