Visible Women

This clever tool will help you find your suffragette ancestors

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

Are you related to a suffragette? Find out here…

Deeds, not words, was to be our permanent motto,” wrote Emmeline Pankhurst in her memoirs.

Perhaps the most famous suffragette of all, Pankhurst – along with her daughter, Christabel – set up the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903, calling on passionate, like-minded women to take increasingly militant action as they campaigned for women to be granted the right to vote.

It wasn’t until 1918 that they saw their efforts rewarded, at least partly: Tuesday 6 February 2018 marks the centenary of partial women’s suffrage in the UK, one hundred years after the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

This landmark legislation extended voting rights to all women in Britain and Ireland over the age of 30 who were property owners, had graduated from university, or were married to a homeowner.

But, while we know an awful lot about the likes of Pankhurst, Emily Davison, Flora Drummond and Millicent Fawcett, there were countless others who fought to secure freedom and autonomy for womankind.

With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with FindMyPast to help you find out more about these incredible women – and track down your suffragette ancestors.

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FindMyPast has brought together a historically significant collection of records (which they have aptly dubbed the Suffragette Collection) from the National Archives related to the women who supported women’s suffrage in the early 20th century.

Perhaps more excitingly, they’ve create a clever little tool for readers, which allows you to search for your female ancestor: all you have to do is type in both the surname she was given at birth and the surname she took after marriage.

Once you’ve done this, FindMyPast will scroll through arrest records, parliamentary papers, personal statements, reports of force-feeding, transcripts of speeches and a government ‘watch list’ of over 1,300 suffragettes, in order to find out what your relative did for the suffragette cause – and tell you more about her, too.

Use it for yourself below:

Who are you looking for?
Roughly when were they born?

Readers who use the tool will be able to access the Suffragette Collection for free until Friday 9 February.

And, if you’d like to delve deeper into your past and get to work on your family tree, FindMyPast is allowing readers the chance to scroll the entirety of their archives for the grand sum of £1 until 18 February.

Stylist is celebrating the 100th anniversary of some women getting the vote. See more of our commemorative content here.

Images: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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