Suffragette Ancestors. Do you have any ancestors to fought to get women the right to vote? The changes brought about by WW1 persuaded the government in 1918 to extend the right to vote to men over the age of 21 years and a small proportion of women. Ten years later equal suffrage for women and men over the age of 21 years was achieved. And it wasn’t until 1969 that the age at which a vote might be cast was lowered to 18 years which is where it stands today.
Of course it wasn’t all women who could vote, the 1918 Representation of the People Act allowed women who owned property and female graduates aged 30 years or more to cast a vote and for the first time in British history to have an official say in the life of the country. This right was not won easily and many women and men suffered greatly during protests and demonstrations.
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Suffragette Ancestors – Genealogy Records
FindMyPastUSA and FindMyPastUK has just released a major new collection made up of Home Office and Police records. The records highlight the Government response to the supporters of women suffrage and is an insight in quite recent family history. Remember that it wasn’t just women who pushed for women to be given the vote, there were many male supporters as well. The time period covered is from 1902 – 1919, there will be far fewer records during the war years of 1914 – 1918 as the focus of many was eleswhere. The original records are held at The National Archives and come from the records catalogued AR1, CRIM9, HO144, HO45, HO140, MEPO2, and MEPO3. The records comprise photographs, cabinet papers, lists of prisoners, records of protests and disturbances and force-feeding records as well as an official list of some 1,300 women and men who were suspected or known to be suffragettes.
The collection is made up of an transcripts and digitised images and has been indexed making searching very easy. You are likely to find the following details:-
I suggest that you look at both the transcript and the image as the description given in the transcript explains the nature of the documents. See the image of a transcript and image for Leonora Cohen to see what I mean. Leonora acted as Emmeline Pankhurst bodyguard and was arrested after breaking the display case of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. If you want to know more about Leonora – Click Here. If you find an ancestor among these records you might also search the FindMyPast newspaper archive as many of the demonstrations and protests would have been widely reported.
AncestryUSA & AncestryUK has the Suffragettes Amnesty of August 1914: Index of Women Arrested 1906-1914 records. These records are held at the National Archives, reference HO 45/24665 and the collection comprises indexed digitised images. These Amnesty records are the same as those shown above. The records cover 1906 – 1914.
To mark the centenary of this historic moment in our history FindMyPastUSA & FindMyPastUK is making access to the Suffragette Collection completely free between 1st February – 8th March which is International Women’s Day. They are also giving free access to UK and Ireland Civil Registration Indexes (births, marriages, deaths) and all census until 8th February.
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Here is a short video from Ancestry with images of some of the very brave women who fought to allow women’s voices to be heard.