Here's an example of the California Great Register for San Joaquin County found at Ancestry's California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898.
Samuel Shackford, age 27 is registered voter No 1411. He was born in Mass, had an occupation of farmer, is living in O'Neal and registered on March 26, 1867. Further down on this same register we see Voter No 1847, John Shackford, age 60, born in New Hampshire, a farmer in O"Neal who registered on May 22, 1867.
From previous research, we know that John who moved from Massachusetts to California in 1849 was Samuel's father. We find John's brother, Luther C Shackford in San Bernardino and John's other son George Franklin Shackford in San Joaquin. We also find Edward Frederick Shackford, and Charles Albert Shackford from other Shackford family lines living in California during the 1866-1898 time frame. Ancestry also has copies of California, Voter Registrations from 1900-1968 which include 131 references to Shackfords in California.
As mentioned in Family Search's California Voting Register's WIKI, these voter registers which were printed every year and then every two years after 1872 help researchers locate people between the censuses which only occurred every ten years.
These voter lists do give us great clues as to where in California Shackfords lived and when they may have moved to a new county. And after spending a very long day (0530 am to 745 pm) working at the polls today, I also can imagine these Shackfords who moved great distances from Massachusetts to California taking their buggy into town to register to vote in their new community and then making a difference in that community by casting their ballot.
Copyright 2013 Joanne Shackford Parkes