Poll Books list who voted at elections and who they voted for. The earliest ones are from around 1700 and they continued until 1872 when the secret ballot was introduced. While all poll books record the name of the voter, some also record other information such as occupation and/or address.
The order of names also vary, sometimes by address, sometimes by name, sometimes by the order in which their vote was cast, and of course since they are a record of votes cast, some do not include the name of those, while eligible to vote, did not in fact cast their vote. Other do list separately those who did not vote.
This is an example from the Dorset General Election Poll Book of 1857
The name and residence of each voter is given, then their Qualification, (F Freehold, L Leasehold, C Copyhold or O Occupier) and then who they voted for, one column for each candidate.
In this example from the Newcastle, Town and County Poll Book of 1832 occupations are listed.
Many poll books are available on line for free:
Bedford Poll Book 1784
Chester Poll Book 1818
Chichester Poll Book 1830
Dorset Poll Book 1831
Newcastle, town and county Poll Book 1832
Norfolk Poll Book 1832
Sheffield Poll Book 1832
Leicester Poll Book 1832
Whitehaven Poll Book 1832
Cambridge Poll Book 1832
Norfolk Poll Book 1835
Peterborough Poll Book 1837
Other poll books can be viewed with subscriptions to one of the genealogy sites.
The Genealogist site has poll books for ...
Bristol 1810 and Bristol 1832,
London, Westminster 1774 and London, Westminster 1818 and London, Westminster 1841,
Norfolk 1768 and Norfolk 1806 and Norfolk 1817,
Suffolk 1710 and Suffolk 1790,
Yorkshire, Kingston-upon-Hull 1835,
Yorkshire, West Riding 1835,
Yorkshire 1741, York (County) 1807 and Yorkshire, York, 1868.
Ancestry has poll books for the following counties ...
You can do a simple search for free but to see any useful results you will need a subscription. A 14 day free trial with Ancestry is usually available.
They also have the UK Poll Book and Electoral registers 1538-1893 Collection, a large searchable collection.
We always welcome any comments, suggestions or corrections - you can contact us at