New CD set has ‘absent voters list’

The production of a new series of CDs have been made available as a resource for anyone digging into their family history or carrying out military research.

The CDs, by Northumberland Archives, contain the ‘absent voter lists’ (AVL) for the period 1918-20 – the registers of people entitled to vote but away serving in the armed forces at the end of the First World War.

The general election of 1918 was the first to give all men over the age of 21, women over 30 and military personnel over 19 the right to vote.

The first list, hastily published in the October, contained several errors, but servicemen were given another chance to register with a second list published in April 1919.

After that, they were published twice a year in the spring and autumn.

The three discs produced by Northumberland Archives cover the three parliamentary divisions, Hexham, Berwick-Upon-Tweed and Wansbeck, and more than 71,000 names are included.

Head of collections, Sue Wood, said: “The records that are available to us for the other Northumberland divisions are an invaluable source of information to researchers, and not just family historians but anyone delving into village history or regiments.”

Unfortunately the Morpeth constituency is not available, and anyone with information about their existence is asked to call Woodhorn Museum.

The AVLs can be accessed in person at Woodhorn, where discs can be obtained, but they are also available through the online shop at a cost of £20 each.

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