How to Find School Records for Family History

Tracing family history through school records is an often overlooked source of information. School records can offer valuable insights into your ancestor's life. On school registers, teachers noted when students were present in school as well as absent. Notations beside an absence might include information such as a family moved away, or there was a death in the family. This can lead you forward in the search through other school records for your family member. School records can give insight into where they might have moved to and explain why the family couldn't be found on a census for that year. Searching for family in school records can be an educational and enlightening experience.

Find out where the family members lived when they attended school. Talk to your parents, grandparents and extended family who might know the name of the school they went to.

Write or call the board of education in the county or town where the person attended school. School records can also be found online at the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).

Contact the local historical or genealogical society for school records, alumni directories and yearbooks. The public library might have contact information for the historical or genealogical societies and copies of school newspapers on microfilm.

Go to the State Libraries & Archives site for a listing of all the state libraries. For each state, you can find historical information and school records in the state database.

Check school websites and alumni associations online for listings of schools, names of alumni and magazines and newspapers from the alumni association.

Search the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), which is available at your local library. You can search by name, person or books detailing the history of a particular town or county.

Check the records at private and religious schools for student rosters and listings of teachers. They might also have reports from superintendents.

Contact the registrar's office at colleges and universities for academic records and transcripts of the students.