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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States: Institutional Records by Amy Johnson Crow, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Class registers give a day-by-day account of students present and absent. The Figure below is the register of a common school in Caswell County, North Carolina for the month of February 1859. Along with the daily attendance, it lists the parent or guardian of each student. The register also lists the teacher’s name, names of the school committee members, and subjects covered.
Not all class registers are as detailed. You will see further below a class register from Lincoln School, Washington Township, Allen County, Indiana. It is interesting to read some of the reasons for absences— “missed the bus” was a popular excuse.
On a more serious note, reasons for absences can be good clues in our genealogical research. If a child is absent because of a funeral, it might help you pin down a date of death for a family member.
Class registers can also give very specific information. The register of the Butler School in Allen County, Indiana reported in 1911 that Marjorie Stahler, age 10, was supposed to be in the 5th grade class, but had moved to Hillsdale, Michigan.
Admission registers are found mostly with private and state schools. They often list the parents, residence, age, and, if a state school, the cause of the infirmity.
Admission registers of schools for the deaf tend to be very detailed. Often notations are made in the student’s entry long after he or she left the school.
Figure: Common School Register, Caswell County, North Carolina
Figure: Right Side
Figure 34: Admission Register of the Ohio School for the Deaf
Figure: Right Side
Figure: Class Register, Lincoln School, Washington Township, Allen County, Indiana
- ↑ Fifth grade class roster, Butler School Register, 1910-1912, Washington Township, Allen County, Indiana, 1911. Photocopy of the originals held at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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