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A Genealogist In The Archives: Finding School Records in the Archives

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Finding School Records in the Archives

Today's tip is about one of the more interesting sources of records available in a lot of archives and that is school records. Even if your ancestor didn't attend school as a child, you might be surprised by what can be found in the various types of school records.

School Enrollment from Camp Ground School in Houston County, TN., located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

School Transcripts or Attendance and Grade Reports: These types of records were kept at the teacher level and by the school district. These records would record when the person attended school and what grades they made in each subject. Sometimes a copy of these records were kept by the teacher and these records will get donated to an archive when that teacher passes away.

Cave Orchard School Register ca. 1929, located in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

School Board Minute Books: These are a very interesting and a useful record source for the genealogist. These books record the business of the local school board which could include anything. This particular type of record is where you might find your ancestor even if they didn't attend school. Maybe they hauled coal for the coal burning stoves in the schools and they were appointed by the school board for this job, their name would be listed in these minutes. Possibly your adult ancestor had a problem with a teacher and they brought their grievance to the school board, this could have played out in the minute books and your ancestor would be named. A lot of local residents were involved with the school system but never actually attended school.

Houston County High School Yearbooks, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Yearbooks and School Newspapers: Many of our archives, historical societies, genealogical societies and libraries have collections of yearbooks and school newspapers.Yearbooks not only have photos of students and information about school clubs but they also will have local business advertisements. These local business would have been solicited to pay a fee for the advertisement to help pay for the printing of the yearbook. Possibly your ancestor's business is in one of these yearbooks. School newspapers. Many of our schools published a school newspaper and the articles were written by students and a lot of times there are photographs from school events. Checking school newspapers for our ancestors and their school activities is something to put on your "To Do List".

Houston County High School Newspaper, ca. 1926, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Photographs: When looking for your ancestor's photographs in an archives be sure to check any school photograph collections. They could include individual photographs as well as photographs of sports teams or clubs that your ancestor was involved with.

Erin High School Girls Basketball Team, ca. 1946, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives
Unknown school photo, undated, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Maybe your ancestor was one of the teachers of one of the schools. Some archives do have collections of teachers records such as teaching certificates, student registeries and grade books.

Teaching License for Gertha Brooks, ca. 1919, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

School records are a must when doing any genealogy research and even if your ancestor did not attend any organized schools, remember that they could still be named in some of the school records that exist. Don't overlook this very valuable resource!




REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!


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4 comments:

  1. I have all of my parents' high school and college yearbooks but what I love even more is the high school yearbooks of my grandfather and his brothers from 1900-1910!

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  2. I had an obituary from Lake Co., OH, that said my ancestor had 13 children but raised 9 to maturity. After I had researched for years, I only had 8 of the 9. And another ancestor in that county had a son I wasn't aware of from other sources. When I found the school CENSUS for 1844 I found both of the missing children in these cases, one by name and one as a youngest male child in the household of my ancestor. Of course then I could find more records about these two by knowing of their existence.

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    Replies
    1. That is wonderful! Where school records exist, they can be such an asset to genealogy research. Thank You for reading my blog!

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