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Berkshire Family Historian
March 2000

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Berkshire Electoral Registers 1889-1892/3

Talbot K. Green

As you may know there is an unfortunate gap in the Berkshire Record Office's holdings of the county's Electoral Registers for the years 1889-1892/3. Either the Clerks of the Peace did not send their registers to the correct department of the newly formed County Council, or the staff did not receive the proper instructions. Whatever the reason the Registers have been lost.

Last December I was at the Berkshire Record Office looking for the Wokingham 1890 Register when the archivist remembered having seen a reference to them in a British Library catalogue. This seemed an opportunity too good to be missed so I visited the new British Library in Euston Road and obtained a five year ticket. The new Library positively welcomes readers so obtaining a ticket is relatively easy, as long as you are not trying to borrow the latest Mills and Boon romance for three weeks (which has happened).

The Registers in question only cover the Eastern/Wokingham and the Northern/Abingdon Divisions. The Registers themselves are held off-site and take 24 hours to be delivered to the Reading Room. On the request form quote the Pressmark 'BL.B35' for Eastern/Wokingham Division, or 'BL.B32' for the Northern/Abingdon Division, and in the description give the Division and year. The staff will tell you which reading room the books will be delivered to; the catalogue is held in a room misleadingly known as Science North.

The Library could be more user-friendly, but once you have got your Reader's Ticket you have access to a great range of documents and books. So references you thought you would never be able to follow up suddenly become possible. 1 am about to see if a distant ancestor's relative held a captain's commission in the Parliamentary General's bodyguard during the Civil War: Sloan mss. Vol. 5247, 'Flag and arms of......... the Earl of Essex's armies' refers. I can now order it either by going in and waiting half an hour, or by telephone and it will be waiting when 1 arrive a day or two later.


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Berkshire Family History Society 2001

updated 1st May l 2001