52 Ancestors: Week 36 – Finding School Records

School records can be a fun way to see your ancestors in their formative years. Besides pictures, you can also gain insight into their interests and hobbies through yearbooks. If you\’re lucky enough to find admissions records, you can find details of family. This post I\’ll be looking at sources for school records.

Ancestry has a collection of Canadian Yearbooks digitized in the collection Canada, Selected School Yearbooks, 1901-2010. This collection can be searched by name. or, alternatively, you can browse. The yearbooks are grouped by province, then by city, then by school. From what I could see, the vast majority of the schools only had one year digitized. And don\’t forget to look at the advertisements. As a rule, yearbooks tend to have community businesses buy ads. Here\’s an ad page from the 1928 Manitoba Provincial Normal School, in Winnipeg:

Find My Past
Though known mostly for UK records, Find My Past is growing its North American records. Among their Canadian school records are the following record set titles:

  • Ontario, Canada- Midland High School Review, Year Book, 1932
  • Ontario, Canada- Queens University Summer School Prospectus, 1943
  • Ontario, Canada- Roll Of Pupils Of Upper Canada College, Toronto, 1830-1916
  • Ontario, Canada- The Caradoc Academy
  • Ontario, Canada- The London Grammar School and The Collegiate Institute
  • Ontario, Canada- The Magnet (Vol. 8, No. 1), Jarvis Collegiate Instiute Yearbook, 1926
  • Ontario, Canada- The War Book Of Upper Canada College, Toronto, 1914-1919
  • Ontario, Canada- The Western University
  • Ontario, Canada- Torontonensis – The Year Book Of The University Of Toronto (Vol. 17), 1915
  • Ontario, Canada- Torontonensis – The Year Book Of The University Of Toronto (Vol. 38), 1936
  • Ontario, Canada- University Of Toronto Roll Of Service, 1914-1918
  • Ontario, Canada- University Of Toronto, Commencement Program, 1947
  • Ontario, London Public Schools, 1848-1871
  • Quebec, Canada- Mcgill University At War, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945
  • Quebec, Canada- Mcgill University, Directory Of Graduates. 1946

Public Libraries
The local public library in your ancestor\’s area are a good place to look for yearbooks. Most of these library systems collect local history. School yearbooks and newspapers are a natural extension of these collections, especially if they are also the local area\’s archive. As an example, I checked the New Brunswick Public Library System\’s website. I found copies of yearbooks from several different schools, including ones from St. Vincent\’s Girls\’ High School (Saint John, NB).

If the school your ancestor attended still exists, why not try contacting them? The school libraries will most certainly have copies of their yearbooks and student newspapers. This doesn\’t just hold true for post secondary education. Middle schools, junior high schools and high schools will too.

Provincial and Municipal Archives
Most provincial and municipal archives will have school records. And not just yearbooks. You can find teacher certifications, attendance registers, and school board minutes, to name a few. I took a quick look at the online catalogues of some archives and found:

  • The Archives of Manitoba has a collection of records for the Manitoba School for the Deaf. Among the collection are attendance registers and enrollment applications.
  • Newfoundland\’s The Rooms has a fond called St. Mary\’s School fonds. It is a collection of log books of the day to day activities of the school in the early and mid 20th century.
  • The Halifax Municipal Archives has the Tower Road School Student Records. These are the student files, so there\’s report cards and family information. Because of the personal information involved, access may be restricted.
  • The City of Toronto Archives has a file called Normal School – extrance examination results. The file contains the list of children who passed their entrance exams in 1909.
  • The Royal BC Museum has among it\’s collection Series GR-0470 – Correspondence School administrative records. This collection among other things, has documents relating to teaching children who were in the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II
What gems have you found looking for education records? Let us know in the comments below.

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