Voter Registries

Brooklyn Historical Society’s collection of voter registries  represents the voting population in Brooklyn both before and after its consolidation as part of the City of New York.  Registries reflecting Brooklyn as an independent city prior to consolidation span the period 1872-1897, while post-consolidation registries only cover the years 1930-1937.  Currently, all registries are available to researchers in their original physical format.

The organization of the voter registries is mainly a numerical scheme, with the broadest level of arrangement being contingent on ward number (or, in the case of the post-consolidation registries, assembly district number). Each ward or assembly district is further broken down numerically by election district, then alphabetically by street.  Finally, within each street listing, individual voters are listed by their residence numbers.  Some registries, particularly those dating from the earlier periods, are also accompanied by an alphabetical index to street numbers, as well as a description of election district boundaries.

Each registry also contains specific personal information regarding every registered voter that may be helpful to researchers.  For example, all registries include such details as a voter’s age; how long each voter has lived in the state, county, and district; as well as any special remarks deemed useful by the Board of Elections, such as whether a voter is an African American, and whether a voter is illiterate or disabled.  Some registries include further descriptive information, such as a voter’s height, weight, hair color, and distinguishing features.

This collection is an especially excellent resource for researchers interested in Brooklyn’s housing history and/or genealogy.  Please be advised that the majority of the registries are in extremely fragile condition and should be handled with the utmost care.