Information on Twentieth-Century West Australians
Genealogists researching ancestors and relatives in Australia now have access to a much wider range of electoral rolls than were available until recently. And, with electoral rolls being the nearest thing we have to census information about individuals living in Australia, that’s important.
The rolls provide name, address, occupation (up to 1983) and gender. You can track a particular person in a single year or over a period of years and identify their movements from residence to residence. You can also identify other adult family members at the same address – it they enrolled to vote!
Ancestry has Commonwealth electoral rolls from 1903-1980, and MyHeritage now has them from 1893 (though only until 1949). You can access both of these online resources in the Mandurah Family History society rooms, so you don’t need to subscribe to both services to get the full range of information.
Best of all, you can get the 1990 electoral roll on fiche in our rooms – an example of old school technology beating some of the best-known online sources for recency! The 1990 electoral roll is in alphabetical order by surname and can be searched quite quickly. Microfiche isn’t hard to use, and our volunteer assistants can help get you started. You can print items of interest or use your mobile phone to photograph information you see on the screen.
If you want to do more extensive research using electoral rolls, the National Library of Australia’s research guide at https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/australian-electoral-rolls is an excellent starting point. The State Library has various WA electoral rolls on microfiche from 1901-2008 – check the catalogue at www.slwa.wa.gov.au for details. And an electronic copy of the current electoral roll is available for public inspection at any AEC office.
But start local, come to the Mandurah Family History Society’s rooms and use our online and microfiche resources. Take the opportunity to see what else is available. We believe that MyHeritage is a good source for European ancestors, and we also have the Genealogist and some useful Irish sources. Come and explore!