‘Australian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980’ I hear you saying, cool, but is it REALLY free? Well yes it is, but only “for a limited time”.

As part of Ancestry’s 15th birthday offers they giving users free access to various collections, and the Australian Electoral Rolls are one of them.

To participate (if you are not already a member) you will need to sign up for a free account which requires your name and email address. Ignore the “Free Today” bit written on the picture, as it is actually¬† FREE until October 15th.

But with 69,000,000 records in their Australian Electoral Rolls Collection, there is bound to be someone there you’re looking for.

Sadly Australian researchers don’t have census records available, as do our English and Scottish counterparts, since almost all were destroyed. We rely heavily on electoral rolls for information, and hence they are known as a “census substitute” record.

While they don’t contain the full family grouping information that a census does which includes name, address, age and occupation info together with relationship to the head of the household, and electoral roll will give you the name, address and occupation of all who were eligible to vote. As they were published reasonably frequently they are a handy tool for tracking people, particularly those who moved.

You can find the listing of Australian  states, and years covered by these electoral rolls here.