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Electoral registers and poll books

Poll books

Parliament made county sheriffs responsible for recording the poll in elections from 1696. Electoral records from before this date rarely survive.

Lists of electors and the candidates who they voted for, known as poll books, were published until the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872.

Poll books provide the names of electors, their parish of residence and how they voted.

They may state the elector’s address and (if different) the address of the property which entitled him to vote. The list of electors may be arranged by parish, ward, hundred or township.

Norfolk poll books can be found at the following locations:

  • The Norfolk Heritage Centre (NHC) holds poll books for Norfolk (1714-1871), Norwich (1710-1871), Great Yarmouth (1754-1865) and King’s Lynn (1747-1868)
  • The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) holds some poll books. For county poll books (1715–1868), see series C/Scd 3. For other poll books, check the online catalogue. Type ‘poll book’ in the Any Text field to find matches. The earliest is dated 1700 (reference KIM 6/7)
  • King’s Lynn Borough Archives holds poll books for the town (1835-54); see KL/TC 10
  • Some published and facsimile poll books are also held at the NRO and NHC eg: Norfolk Record Society VIII (poll list 1702) and Norfolk Genealogy 24 (facsimile East Norfolk poll and register, 1835)