One of my favorite days is voting day! I am very thankful for the women who fought for the right for me and other women to be able to vote and have our voices heard on all the important matters at stake.
It got me thinking this morning about my female ancestors and who was around during the presidential election of 1920, the first election women would have been eligible to vote. I’m also very curious as to how many of them registered and voted!
With a quick look at my tree, I can see that I had quite a few female ancestors who would have been eligible to vote that year.
On my father’s side, my grandmother, Pamma Landes, both great grandmothers, Mattie Dillard and Martha Jane McCall, and even one great great grandmother, Susannah Lambert, were all still living and eligible to vote for the first time in their lives.
On my mother’s side, my grandmother was born in 1920 so she would not have been voting just yet. However, both of my great grandmothers, Laura Virginia Fadely and Estella May Rader and three of my great great grandmothers (wow!), Mary Ann Mohler, Barbara Virginia Kagey and Eliza Homan Showalter were all still alive and eligible to vote! How exciting!
Ancestry has a category in the catalogue for Voter registration, however, they did not have any collections for Virginia. Family Search did not have a voter registration collection for the two counties I needed, Rockingham and Augusta.
If I don’t find what I’m looking for at Ancestry and Family Search, I always turn to Google next! If you aren’t utilizing Google searches in your research, you are missing out on a very powerful research tool!
All of my grandmothers lived in Rockingham County, Virginia except for one and she lived just down the road in Augusta County, Virginia. I googled “voter registration in Rockingham County, Virginia”. The first return was “Rockingham County Voter and Election Records” held by James Madison University.
This is exciting! I love finding a “new to me” record collection! It looks like there is a lot of great information in this record collection including, Name, Date of Birth, Age, Occupation, Residence, Naturalization Status and Precint Transfer. Unfortunately, these records are not online and I no longer live in the area, but I do visit often! I’ve already added it to my research plan for my next trip to the Shenandoah Valley.
For my grandmother who lived in Augusta County, Virginia, it looks like I’ll be taking a trip to the courthouse to see if they hold old voter registrations there next time I’m in town.
Check back in the future for an update on whether or not they voted in the 1920 election!
In the meantime if you are interested in finding out if your grandmothers voted in the 1920 election check out the record collections on Ancestry and Family Search and if you can’t find anything, contact me!
And don’t forget to vote today!