Women under arrest in 1914

Flora Drummond and others under arrest, 1914. 7JCC/O/02/065.

We often receive enquiries from researchers trying to trace their ancestors who were suffragettes. All they have is a name and they usually want to know what else the Library might have about their family member.

Here are some suggestions for getting started on tracing individuals from history.

Reference books that list names of suffrage activists and organisations are a good starting point:

If the person’s name is not listed in Crawford’s general reference guide, then her regional survey can help identify the names of suffrage organisations active in your ancestor’s locality. From this springboard, annual reports and minutes of that local organisation can be consulted (some are held in the Women’s Library collection, some are held by local archive repositories around the UK).

Annual Reports and minutes (incomplete sets) are held for a range of suffrage organisations. For example, check the Women’s Library archive catalogue for records of  suffrage groups such as the Central National Society For Women’s Suffrage, Manchester National Society for Women’s Suffrage and the Bristol and West of England Society for Women’s Suffrage.

Suffrage newspapers are a rich source of information: listing names of subscribers to the newspaper (a good way of identifying suffrage supporters who weren’t necessarily high profile campaigners), giving news of events and containing contributions from members. Some relevant periodicals to be searched (accessible on microform) are The Common Cause, The Vote, and The Suffragette. Check LSE Library Search for these titles. Votes for Women has been digitised.

Researchers should be aware that this is not a comprehensive list, as it was compiled around 1950 based on the recollections of former suffragettes.

Other key references from the Women’s Library collection:

External web resources:

Gillian Murphy

About Gillian Murphy

Gillian Murphy is an Assistant Archivist in LSE Library.