Saturday, May 26, 2012

UK Poll books and Electoral Registries

Ancestry put up the UK Poll Books and Electoral Registries. Although I have a number of these on fiche it is much appreciated that Ancestry has digitized these books and indexed them. Although their index is not quite the way I need it (I am redoing my Blake one name entries into parish, hundred and county plus occupation if given) the addition of this database to Ancestry is a great tool. I have 2745 Blake entries (including Blague and Bleak) between 1538 and 1889. I am always busy tracking the Hampshire Blake family as it moved about but also the Wiltshire, Somerset and Norfolk Blake families are now coming into sight with this new addition. When I took on the Blake one name study I knew that I would only be collecting throughout the rest of my life but I am content to do so. I very much doubt that I will come to many conclusions on Blake lines although individually I have discovered a few nuggets!

I am working away on my extracted entries reviewing the original document and placing the entries into parish/place where shown, then hundred as applicable and county if missing. For the most part the database has a good record for county placement with only fifty entries missing the county designation. Some of the older poll books did not always list that interesting bit of information because, of course, you knew the county if you lived in a particular place and for whom else were the poll books!

Along the way though I am working on one of the Routledge documents. It is a difficult one. I am still determining year, place and all those other details that help to get into these really old documents. Some parts of it are so legible but others are somewhat obscure and the writing is very very ornate.

A slow process working my way through the poll and electoral results which have now been reduced to 2709 Blake entries as there is some duplication (different transcriptions have been scanned). As I look at Blake families in different areas I expect this file will be quite handy through the years. I am able to find many many occupations as well which are not in the Ancestry transcription. Nothing new on Hampshire yet but I do have the poll books for Hampshire so have already extracted the Blake entries from them. I have now looked at 138 entries (plus the duplicates) and it will be a slow process extracting all of this information into my flat file.

My plan is to build as much data into files so that when I do archive my Blake one name study at some time in the future it will be useful to someone picking up the mantle of Blake once again and to move forward from that point instead of having to redo everything. Although I must admit quite truthfully to myself that I tend to recheck information but at least it is in an organized fashion making it somewhat easier to find.

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