Genealogy Research,  Genealogy Resources

Do You Use School Records in Your Genealogy Research?

Do You Use School Records for Genealogy Research?

School records are often an overlooked  resource used in genealogical research. Yet, the records a community keeps on its students and the records generated by individual students provide a wealth of information on your ancestor’s family.

Types of School Records

  • School Census Records – These records may also be called pupil registry or a directory and can be found at all levels of education. Children from the same family (siblings and cousins) may be found here.
  • School board minutes – Board minutes speak to the business of running the schools. Was your ancestor a teacher or school administrator?  Learn about teacher salaries, types of students, and mentions of teachers and principals. They might appear in this set of records.
  • Alumni Databases – Did your ancestor attend a college or university?  Check their alumni databases for infomation.
  • Yearbooks – Many yearbooks from high schools and colleges are being digitized.   DigitalNC is a great resource for North Carolina yearbooks online. Read more about what using yearbooks in your genealogy research.
  • School Newspapers – These are another great resource. Elon College (located in Elon, NC) has recently placed student newspapers online through DigitalNC.
  • Report cards – Are you fortunate to have your ancestr’s report card?  Report cards, provide information about a student’s parents, age and interests. Who signed the student’s report card?  Was it a mother, grandparent or father?  This can tell you about the make up of the family.

Where Do You Find School Records?

More and more records are coming online but many school records remain offline and stored in a variety of setting. Often these records are found in state archives or more locally with county records.  If you ancestor attended a religious school records can be found with teh church records.

Search FamilySearch’s wiki for “schools”.  Examples of links to school records include links to American Indian School records and English school records.

School records are a lesser known resource, but an important one. Go after those school records. Look for clues to the make up of the students immediate family and more extended family.

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  • Marilyn Jacobs

    I attended college my grandfather did. While I was there back in early 1970’s, I looked up his records. This was before I was officially doing genealogy and did not think to keep a copy. I recently emailed the college to find out about getting records. They needed proof of connection. Since this is my fathers father, I started with my dads obituary which lists me as his child, then obituary for my grandfather which lists my dad. I thought I had obituary from my grandfather that lists me too but have not been able to find it yet. I am hoping what I have will work. Will send the info off and hope to get his application to apply for college.

    • LisaL

      Marilyn, Best of luck obtaining your grandfather’s records! If the college requires further proof, consider obtaining your father’s death certificate which should list his father (your grandfather). Your birth certificate will list your father. That should complete the connections if the college wants more information. Let me now what you find!

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