School Records as a Genealogy Resource

Posted June 2, 2011 by Amanda | No Comment

When researching your genealogy, school records may not be one of the first resources that come to mind. However, you may be surprised to realize how information found in school records can help supplement your research with other documented sources. They can even provide clues to other areas to search. Let’s take a look at how school records can help you.

Record of attendance

University of California, Berkeley - Class of 1875 Yearbook

Teachers often wrote notes recording why a student was absent for the day. Possible reasons could include a death in the family, illness, a sick relative, a wedding or they simply moved. These can give you clues on a time frame for events in your family’s history. You can use this information to help narrow your search in other documents, such as court records or old newspapers by looking at a specific date range.


Yearbooks can provide some details about your ancestors. Some year books may even offer small biographies about each student. These are a great source for pictures and offer you the chance to see how your ancestor’s looks changed over time.

Enrollment records

These records can provide great information about your ancestors. You may find their name and the names of their parents, their address, their race/ethnicity, date of birth and possibly the name and location of previous schools attended. You can use this information to help you locate where your ancestors lived and possibly help create a time frame for their movements.

Where can I find these records?

You can start by looking at the source. Locate the school and see if you can request records of your ancestor. In some cases you may find that the school is no longer around. Therefore, you may need to check out local historical societies or public libraries. More and more yearbooks are being added to the Internet, so check out online resources too.

And be sure to add any interesting findings about your ancestors to their Geni profiles to share with others!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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