25 January 2011

Tuesday's Tip: School registers - parent or guardian?

If someone 'vanished', it may be because they changed their name. If children are involved, try using school admission registers. I once overcome a genealogical dead end by finding a school admission register entry that listed the child's 'parent or guardian' as the mother's new partner. She did not marry him, but she and the children used his surname. Once I knew what that surname was, the research progressed in leaps and bounds.

School admission registers usually show the child's date of birth. Although it's not always totally accurate, it can be helpful if you haven't found a birth registration.

Some indexes to Queensland school pupils (from many school histories, some admission registers, etc) are now on the Internet.

Australian school admission registers should be either at the school or in State Archives. By law, historical societies or museums should only hold copies, not originals. Many indexes to school registers are listed in the book Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide (1998 edition and 2006 Supplement). For specific advice about Queensland school records, see the latest edition of the book Tips for Queensland Research. Those books are described in more detail on my Web site.

('Tuesday's Tip' is a theme used by 'Geneabloggers'.)


  1. I'm so envious of you Queenslanders with your school registers!

  2. And our *annotated* State electoral rolls showing where people moved to, change of name, death... (grin)

  3. I couldn't agree more, I love our school admission registers in England because they have a date of birth and often tell you which school they came from/went to or where they went to work.

    It was my grandfather's school admission record which confirmed the name of his father, which was not recorded on his birth certificate, priceless information.

  4. I have not used school registers in England, so I was very interested in your comment, John. I have never seen an entry that says where a child went to work! Some Queensland school admission registers (mainly more recent ones) refer to a child's previous or next school. Many entries include birth dates, but they are not as reliable as you might expect - but I have heard of cases where a birth was not registered and a school admission register was used as proof of birth for a passport application.

  5. Thanks Judy -a good tip -and agree those annotated electoral registers are gold. Pauleen


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