Preserving your family history

Gee, I am nearly up to date with the #ANZAncestryTime chat summaries. Had time to do this one today at the library as only two people booked and one of them didn’t turn up. So plenty of time to write a post.

Tumisu / Pixabay

Which part of your family history research do you consider most important to be preserved and why? ie trees, documents, memorabilia, stories, all?

all of it. Bits ‘n’ pieces can be used in error, which would not be helpful to future generations SLR

Stories and memorabilia – the rest can be recreated (albeit painfully!) but those stories and and memorabilia are irreplaceable

I think you might have nailed it here. Today Dad and I were talking about framing his grandfather’s medals in a kind of shadow box. But he was the one who said we need a story with it as well so it means something. So a bit of both.

That’s a really good example Alex, especially when I think of the most effective museum exhibitions I’ve seen e.g. Egyptian Museum in Berlin – a room of papyrus fragments brought to life because they told stories about them

Photos are a good idea too Mandy. I was just thinking that if I could have only three photos of each person in my tree it would be the “maiden, mother, crone” approach 🙂

I would hate to see my trees lost but I have no one interested Tara. Much of my research though is in my stories in blog posts

a lot of my research is in wordpress websites/blogs and I’m hoping my daughter will keep them in the future if not adding to them

I know the @NLIreland is archiving sites of Irish interest so hopefully that will include Irish-oriented genealogy blogs but how do you ensure your blog content survives if wordpress dies?

Above all – the stories. I have insights into parts of Australian history that I had no idea about. Or, had studied the history but didn’t realise any of my ancestors were associated with the events (e.g. Eureka Stockade). But, also documents, photos.

For my own research, the work I have done to try to identify mystery 2xGGF. Even if I don’t figure it out, I would like to leave a head start for someone else

yes – nothing more frustrating than a bunch of notes but not accurately sourced or presented clearly.

I think we still need to downsize our digital photo collections too – do we need all of them? perhaps a few digital albums to pass on or store online

the tree initially as family members like to see number of people and see where they are in grand scheme of things. Stories in a blog is the best thing as it provide more tangible relatable details.

In the same way I was taught by my mother and use her 50 years of work, I am working with my nephew. He is starting to get his young sons interested and eventually I hope his baby daughter, my namesake.

Do you think that because our family thinks this gig is “ours” they switch off? Maybe when we’re not around?

good point. I am starting to have those discussions now. Along the lines of what would make you keep this? Is it about how it is presented? Is it attractive. Is it portable (fits in a box) – i.e. not overwhelming.

I just found a box of boxes of slides in my back bedroom mentioned in my NFHM post . What to do with them is another problem.

I am adding many of my family members to WikiTree writing detailed biographies based on sources. I add my family to FamilySearch. I am hoping to write more of my story, but am finishing off my research road safety scrapbooks this year.

Excellent strategy, adding the sources and stories to online trees such as Wikitree and FamilySearch

For me it would be my tree. I have very little in the way of memorabilia. My FTM tree has photos attached. I wish I had more. I have found some online and a few have been sent to me (digitally) from newly discovered cousins. Always exciting

The trees, the evidence that underpins the trees and the stories that go with the trees

Overall, all components are key to handing over a complete family history. Trees are needed to explain who fits where, documents to support your discoveries and stories to bring it together. Memorabilia offers a tangible link to ancestors.

yes Pauleen the tangible stuff is so important isn’t it? If we can’t walk the land our ancestors stood on, it’s good to hold something they touched e.g. medal or cloth.

IMHO it is the stories of people’s lives that most need to be preserved as usually they will contain all the other elements

All are important but I think stories as you might be the only one that knows that story. A genealogy tree/database can be stored online easily or given to others but only you can write the stories.

what an interesting question. I think descendants get most excited about the trees to begin with – “Ooh look how far back you’ve gone!” but it’s all meaningless without the stories I reckon.

Totally agree Alex. Researching family history has to include finding the stories that make our ancestors become real people

That is very true. I add links to my blog to each individual where I’ve posted their story.

I think that family documents and personal items like photographs are the most important things to preserve

The most important part of family history research to be preserved will be the write up.

I agree because it would typically include reference to the other aspects.

geralt / Pixabay

Have you made plans for or had discussions with your family about what will happen to your research? Do you have a beneficiary chosen and recorded?

vip to consider maintenance of websites especially those that were based on html WYSIWYG technology – a big issue as not so many folks will be able to code in html for websites in the future. This is an issue that the Fellowship of First Fleeters is currently working on

It’s the fluidity of technology that makes me nervous. What will last, what won’t?

Yes. I’ve looked for advice from the major libraries and archives and have followed it with sound files.

I have a niece who has some interest but haven’t discussed plans for my research when I’m gone. It would be a shame for the research to be lost but it has given me a lot of pleasure over the years

Mind you, I have no intention of falling off my perch until I’ve smashed all my brickwalls

When my grandkids visit I show them the items I’ve bequeathed to them and tell them why. I may hand the items over before I pop my clogs but the kids need to be a bit older.

I haven’t yet. I don’t currently have anyone interested although a couple of my cousin’s kids ask questions occasionally. Maybe in 10 years…

school assignments or history assignments usually prompt questions don’t they?

Already answered that. In my will I leave various items to people that I hope will use them. BUT I am getting rid of them now as I am the best to know what is what. I have disposed of five people’s stuff, I’m working hard on my own.

As the older generation we need to tell them about the things they may see so don’t hide things away too much so that they can ask us

yes I think this is the trick. If it is important to us we need to have it on display so that it prompts questions 🙂

I have a convict diary Alex that I believe I have the only full transcription of and both the original and microfiche have disintegrated. I was thinking SAG for that

As there is no one close to me, I am planning to have it all online in various places eg subscription database trees, blog posts on my website (archived by NLA in Trove) and PDF copies of my family histories for whoever wants them

I’m like Shauna, all online for others to connect with and read when they become interested.

I am toying with the idea of preparing something to donate to SAG according to their guidelines.sag.org.au/Deposit-Your-f

I think it may have been more a direction than a discussion 😉 one daughter is my designated beneficiary and that is included in my will. Key memorabilia is also outlined for descendants

very organized Pauleen and people appreciate that. Dad is super organized and has written lists of who should get what and has discussions with me regularly. All amicable. He is a good painter and so his artwork needs to be shared around.

we are such hoarders that my daughter is determined that we will clean up the house now. So those sort of conversations have started. I often wonder if the freshly minted grandson will be interested. No formal arrangements yet.

I know I should make plans but currently my son is not interested he has cousins who may be more interested

I have no idea as yet. No one else in my family is interested. My half-sisters are interested in our Chinese side (paternal), but my maternal side may need to be donated to SAG or a library etc

Passing on access to DNA data is important too

geralt / Pixabay

If no family member is interested in inheriting your research, what steps can you take to ensure it is preserved?

I do have some bits from my father-in-law of historical interest – Union card (branch president) from the 1830s, and letters from the masons building Scott Monument in Edinburgh. I’m looking into best places to donate these

yes sometimes our family isn’t the best place – a museum e.g. Australian War Memorial or State Libraries are a great place for precious memorabilia e.g. diaries/letters

My great grandfather was a cooper. His tools were passed down but we could not keep them so donated to a brewery museum who was able to take and display them..

Especially if an ancestor had no descendants, giving artifacts/documents/photos to museum or library or archive or historical/genealogical society will keep them safe for future researchers

in my estate trust I have a letter of direction for how to dispose of various parts if no one is interested. Org. Names & addresses included.

So important to write instructions regarding what happens to our #Genealogy collection after we join our ancestors. You can also check with the organizations in advance to confirm what they will accept.

My current strategy is to put everything online as much as possible – so trees at WikiTree, FamilySearch and all the ‘biggies’.

Yes, share family trees online to be sure info continues to be available. And for #CousinBait!

none of my family show any interest in family history, occasionally like once in a blue moon they might ask about it, but when the time comes I hope most of my research will be deposited with a Record Office, though the majority of it hopefully will be online

I’ve written an article for a local historical society, and am slowly putting another one together. I gave a conference presentation as well in 2018. I’m trying to get my head around some new information – then I want to publish the findings, in due course.

I’ll donate copies to local county archives. I know they hold a number of genealogies already, some closed and some open

Yes! Borders Family History Society collect member trees. I am currently working on that line, but once I’m reasonably done, I will submit to them, along with DNA confirmation reports.

I collected oral histories last year and got participants’ permission to lodge them in archives. I also made sure they were saved in appropriate electronic format (can’t remember what it is right now but details widely available). I’m hoping that older ones my late uncle collected can also be archived as some are invaluable local history resources

Hopefully If we rely on wikitrees and donations to societies they will keep the technology updated

Societies often publish books to a theme or a special purpose eg Qld’s 150th commemorations. Writing stories for them ensures there’s more than one place that may have your family’s story.

I have noticed in some family history societies, that my earlier research from family reunions eg pedigree charts and family sheets have been given by family members. I will need to give more up to date research to them I think

There would be nothing better than finding information about your family history at a society Sue. It hasn’t happened to me although I found a photo at a historical museum and got a copy

Since the 1840’s many of my recent ancestors resided in NZ so the “NZSG Pedigree Registration Collection” is an opportunity for me to share my tree details. The info goes into the Kiwi Collection and it available to members if I understand it correctly.

I’m a big believer in writing up the stories in a blog, book or booklet. Links to your documents will help future researchers with the trail. I download my blog to book format using Blog2Print even though it’s currently preserved in Pandora. Belt and braces.

even if no one is interested now, they may be in the future. I wonder if the family thinks the research is my “thing” and when I’m gone they’ll be more interested. Organising seems a key need whether it’s going to family or elsewhere.

Some archives or museums may take items of interest but we need to investigate. Websites may preserve some things if they are digital. WikiTree and Family Search.

did think perhaps depositing it to the various family history societies for each county/country the family can be found in

My plan is to have it online in various places to be shared by all in the future. PDF is a good way to save my family histories and I can attach them to my website. The Internet Archive may also be a place to upload them.

Mediamodifier / Pixabay

Have you taken steps to organise your research, documents etc? What strategies could help to ensure our research is preserved amidst changing technologies in the future?

honestly, with the changing speed of technology I just don’t trust that we won’t lose data over time. I trust hard copies more and digitise as a backup. I believe books have a better chance of survival.

I definitely agree with you. Print will survive any change in technology. Paperless #Genealogy is not my goal–my goal is perpetuating #FamilyHistory for the sake of future researchers and future descendants.

I have THOUGHT about the steps I need to take to preserve my family history. Now I need to take some steps!

try using brightly coloured Post It notes stuck on drawers of filing cabinets et al. Eg scan this drawer by August/September etc. Visual flags.

I’ve scanned my photo albums, my sister has scanned her collection, waiting for my brother to scan the albums he has had for about 20 years. I will pass on my original albums once I have written about them.

I am now using FOREVER rather than dropbox Margaret.

One payment and I have forever storage of photos guaranteed to keep up with changing technology

Yes have used ppt for videos now I upgraded to Office 2019, easy to add photos and commentary for each slide

have digitalised some things but have so much it would take rather long time. But whilst prepping for blogs before being written up, this is when I sort things out a bit.

it is incredibly tedious to do but then again there may be an advantage in going over old ground. We see new things every time we look at a document again.

Have evidence scattered across hard copy files and electronic files; the latter could be better organised (note to self!) and have made a start to writing biographical narratives which are kept both in electronic form and hardcopy …

Currently digitising photos, docs and writing up family histories and checking genealogy databases and adding citations. Not a quick process but doing it one set of GG grandparents at a time. Salami tactics.

I cannot wait to get rid of my archive boxes once everything is scanned Shauna. We inherited paper and will leave things in digital format.

A tough one, as some of the answers to earlier questions indicate. I’m not quite at the point of some, writing up wikis or blogs but I do need to get better at it, even sharing my working notes around family members would be a start. As crgalvin said LOCKSS – Lots of copies, keep stuff safe

Make videos and save to youtube. More that it is another free place to save stuff. Your talks that are not held to ransom by organisers would be an option also.

do the steps have to be practical? Can’t they be in my head? “All” my records are in family folders which should help but I need to streamline them and weed out the excess. A LOT still to be done!

Today I’ve been Re-reading Devon and Andy Lee’s book on Downsizing with Family History in Mind. It really sets out a clear, practical path. Highly recommended.

yes isn’t it? I printed out the kind of timeline or checklist they suggest. I reckon the paper is the hardest stuff to get through. Furniture, china…all that is easy. I’m even finding books easy now 🙂 (shock! horror!)

The papers and the fiddly bits like badges that lurk in the corners and have a story to tell.

 

Lots of tips and blogposts found by Alex and other participants

Readers: Have you thought about how you are going to preserve your family history into the future?

Remembering school years

macdeedle / Pixabay

What do you remember about your school years? Was it a good time in your life? Have you found out anything about your ancestors school lives?

Our questions this week were:

  1. Share some memories of school -funny, happy or inspiring -sad or scary -school rules – tough or easy
  2. Let’s hear about the teachers and school friends
  3. Tell us about your family schooling traditions, school traditions, does your school still exist? Have you visited it?
  4. What about your ancestors education? -have you found their school records or reports? -what records have you found & where? -any teacher discoveries?

Memories

  • Carmel has written a great post about school day memories.
  • Fran has written about her first day at school.
  • Jennifer – We made Waldorf salad in cookery. I didn’t and still don’t eat dressing so I refused to eat it. they made me sit there through the next two classes until I ate it. I didn’t care. I didn’t eat it. Teacher hated me after that.
  • Pauleen – Stubbornness wins! I never had a cooking class at school – the joys of the science class.

  • Sandra – I just remembered, In year 2 I used to write back to front and right to left. Must have been interesting for the teacher. In college, I wrote the same for some notes because I got bored. I’m left-handed if that explains it
  • Pauleen – I have to say I have very fond memories of my high school and its advanced learning opportunities with language and science labs, good teachers and a fab library. I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.
  • Jo – 2 different primary schools & 2 different high schools – though 2nd high school was the 1 I was supposed to go to in Yr 7 so knew some of them. 1 primary school new school – 8 students & I was only girl for a while
  • Jill – In my final years was a gopher for the boarders. I used to post their letters to bypass the censors (nuns) and used to buy all sorts of contraband except alcohol.
  • Jennifer – We recited the times tables over and over every day. They were imprinted on our brains. I’ve never forgotten them
  • Sandra – Not a tradition but we were given a rating first to last in the class. It always motivated. Wouldn’t be able to do that now
  • Carmel – at boarding school we were not allowed to wear “witches britches” – remember those long knickers, usually coloured and sometimes with frills – fashion in the late 60s
  • ANZ – I always wanted to go to boarding school – I think it was all those English books about tuck boxes and midnight feasts. Am sure it wasn’t always like that!
  • Pauleen – I felt for some of our boarders who had a terrible time with teachers but couldn’t speak or write to parents without censorship. Mr Cassmob only saw his parents once or twice a year once a boarder. We made sure our girls never boarded.
  • Maggie P – we had a roster to take turns with torch and clock to stay awake until midnight. I was a heavy sleeper. Took torch in my sleep I think. Someone else woke up and we went downstairs for our feast about 1am.
  • Jill – My most vivid memory was spending two months in hospital in the term prior to our Leaving Certificate. I scraped through. I put a lot of weight on in hospital and wouldn’t go to our end of year celebration because I was so fat – nearly 9 stone
  • Sandra – At primary school, every report said I was too quiet. In year 3 someone poked me in the back with a pencil and I turned around and told them off. I got into trouble and I never forgave that teacher. Mum had to bribe me with a bag of lollies to go back.
  • Jill – I remember us all rubbing ourselves with a bush that gave us a red rash. We were hoping the school would be closed if enough of us got measles
  • Fran – We had out hems measured at a govt. high school. If you leaned forward you could reduce the measurement. I think there was a line of girls leaning forward.
  • GenXalogy – I adored school. I attended three different high schools: a country public school, then two private schools in ‘town’. MUCH stricter rules at the latter! Maths test in about week 3… teacher left the room and nobody cheated or even stopped working/talked!!
  • Pauleen – Frightening memories of primary school, aged 5, being told in graphic detail by my teacher, a nun, what the communists would do to us when they came. This during the “Reds under the beds” scare. Stayed with me for years.
  • Carmel – Boarding school not at all like the story books but I did make some great friends in 5 years there. Was a huge change from a 2 teacher country school, I met girls who even had their own bedroom!!!!
  • Hilary – We had an outside toilet block at primary school in the 1960s
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  • Fran – Us too. When my brother started school he was afraid of going there as it was stuck out the back so I had to wait outside for him. Unfortunately, a teacher told me off for hanging around the boys’ toilet so got moved on. Brother was not happy when he came out.
  • Pauleen – School rules weren’t intimidating for me as I was a compliant, well-behaved child (yes, things change!). As a prefect in high school one of my jobs was to ensure compliance with uniform rules etc.
  • Jennifer – My happiest memory of school is riding my bike to and from every day. Rain hail or shine!
  • Sue – Changing schools at high school was terrible – lost all my friends but loved library at new school
  • Hilary – in primary school we had a carpet in the library created static and metal shelving made for some shocks
  • Jill – I can remember being told that people in mixed marriages were evil. I couldn’t see much wrong with my parents! But this was mostly in secondary school. Sister Eugene was a fearmonger/ She was relegated to the tuckshop when I was in third year.
  • Jennifer – Strong memories of very strict rules on school uniform. Who remembers those drab grey winter tunics with box pleats. They looked dreadful on this chubby teenager.
  • Sue – Missing three months of school to travel around Australia as a family, having to teach my brother how to write in cursive while we were in Darwin. Teacher asked me to keep a journal about what we saw and learnt, but my brother’s teacher organized daily lessons which I ended up making sure he did, beginning of my teaching career.
  • Jennifer – I loved library class and just being in the library. I enjoyed shorthand, typing and accounting. I was good at those subjects
  • Maggie P – Doing a short musical in Std 3- aged about 9. I was supposed to help an old man onto a ‘log’ but they forgot to put it on stage until the end of the scene! Loved performing anyhow.
  • Pauleen – Dozens of girls climbing the wooden stairs to the concert hall at high school, making nary a sound with shoes or chatting. Sitting stiff as a board during a performance and not looking around or fidgeting.
  • Carmel – in primary was in a small 2 teacher school learnt lots from older kids in same room. Was always frustrated with prescribed readers, just gave a snippet from a longer novel
  • Jennifer – When I think of school, I think of how much hated it. Primary school was ok but I hated going to secondary school
  • Pauleen – Unhappy memories: at a Catholic primary school feeling often “odd man out” as an only child of a mixed marriage.
  • Fran – My memories of school are both good and bad. Good: one teacher that read out to the class a Famous Five Adventure so I then just had to read books with chapters after that. The first one took ages. By the end of the series I was a much faster reader.
  • Sue – Playing softball with friends, then missing those same friends when changing to another school
  • Jill – We used to do a lot of marching at school – The nuns used to take over Victoria Street, Kings Cross and march us up and down at lunchtime.  The nuns encouraged us to be modest and wear petticoats under our uniforms. I was severely castigated by Sister Christine when she spotted my bright red half-slip. Good girls didn’t wear red underwear!

Friends and teachers


  • Brooke – Most disliked teacher Subbed for 1 term in grade 3. He used to fire staples & blackboard dusters at us. I kicked him in the shins for teasing me. I got in trouble.
  • Maggie – We had a sub maths teacher throw blackboard dusters at us. He ended up having a nervous breakdown (wasn’t me!) and leaving.
  • Fran – I had one teacher that Mum made cry because he wrote something in my report that was not true so he could not be a good teacher if he thought this. He was much nicer to me the next day at school.
  • Jo – music teachers at both schools favourites – now friends on FB! Disliked my Yr 7 English teacher – we were always in trouble. Still friends with school friends and been to 10 yr & 20yr reunion of 2nd high school (no 30yr one organised!)
  • Jennifer and Fran and Sue – I’ve never considered attending a school reunion. That would be my biggest nightmare
  • Carmel – School reunions never appealed to me either but I was contacted for the 50th and set up a private FB group, we all shared photos and a lot of laughs, was quite glad I wasn’t in SA for the actual event but facetimed with them on the night.
  • GenXalogy – My favourite teachers were ones who weren’t afraid to toss out the script and do something completely different. Ms. Dawson (Yr 8 HASS, no relation), Mrs. Merriman (Yr 11 English). Props to Ms. Abbott (Yr 8 English) for starting me off on family trees.
  • Maggie – There were a couple of very special teachers during my school years, who kept me sane (and at school). I was glad to leave and get on with life
  • Jennifer – I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Funny thing is I’ve loved learning as an adult
  • Jill – My two besties from school are good friends. I attend each of our ten yearly reunions. It’s interesting to see the girls have developed. About 20 of us meet up every few months around Sydney. Covid has put a spanner into the works with that.
  • Pauleen – I’ve been to one primary school reunion years ago which was interesting. Despite living at a distance I’ve been to a few high school reunions over the years – interesting to see how we’ve changed and how things that once mattered no longer do
  • Jill – I don’t know how those nuns coped with the huge classes. In our final year English class we had 55 girls.
  • Maggie P – We went to boys’ Catholic HS for physics and chemistry in my last two years of school. Br Luke would never embarrass a girl in front of the boys- always checked we had right answer before asking us. Once gave me 11/10 for a problem, boys couldn’t cope.
  • Sue – I loved Mrs Chalmers, my grade 6 teacher, probably my incentive to teach, 4 of my friends in that class also became teachers. Even went to her funeral
  • Pauleen – I don’t remember any teachers especially disliking me at primary school other than because dad wasn’t a Catholic. He wasn’t as subservient to them about disciplinary action either.
  • Hilary – my language teacher also taught classics neither were my strong subjects I wanted to learn Latin as thought it might help in my career
blende12 / Pixabay
  • Pauleen – My favourite teacher at high school was Sr Mary Benedict – she was such a smart dynamic woman who taught my science subjects. Sr Mary St Christopher who taught physiology in Junior. Sr Mary Borgia taught German very well.
  • Jane – I think I have blocked my school years out … I do recall that I found Art particularly traumatic in primary school because of the mismatch between what I could see in my head and my inability to draw it
  • Sue – I had a German person teaching me French and a French person teaching me German in high school, I loved languages
  • Fran – I think that I was fortunate to have many of my high school teachers and uni lecturers from different countries. Being from a small town in NZ this widened my horizons heaps.
  • Jill – Sister Casimir in 5th and 6th class used to borrow books for me on her library card so I’d have more to read.

Traditions

  • Remember the days when they printed everyone’s exam results in the newspaper … couldn’t do that these days!! – Jane
  • And you’d head to the newspaper outlet to find out your results. Didn’t go well the first year in uni when I bombed some subjects…not at all popular with parents – Pauleen
  • None of my family were teachers in past generations – they were lucky to get to school given they were regularly on the move. My husband’s family has a tradition of teaching which continues today. – Pauleen
  • All schools I went to still exist. Did 1 lot of prac teaching at 1st high school! – Jo
  • Search family memorabilia for school photos; old school report cards; books that may have been awarded as prizes (I have a few from ancestors); Facebook pages for the school or school photos. Ask relatives. I have my grandmother’s Scottish certificate. – Pauleen
  • My primary school still exists & my niece & nephew go there. Sometimes Mum picks them up so she has been at that school gate since 1976. My high school still exists too…you might have heard about it #TheTeachersPetPodcast – Brooke
  • My primary school was demolished in the late 1960s. My high school celebrates its 160th anniversary this year, Qld’s oldest secondary school – Pauleen
  • Hated the ANZAC day races at school so three of us would all run over the line at the end holding hands, so no one came last – Sue
  • I remember the small bottles of milk that we were given and made to drink at recess. They were delivered early morning and sat in the sun until they were given out. I’m sure many people were put off milk for life by it. – Jennifer
  • Yuk, yes by morning recess time the milk was hot- no refrigeration at our primary school. Most of us were from farms so didn’t need bottled milk. – Carmel

  • Family school tradition… after every P/T night my dad would tell me the teachers said I needed to work harder. It took me far longer than it should have to work out they didn’t say that, it was just what he thought. – GenXalogy
  • Primary school traditions: St Patrick’s Day concerts and fetes with home made goods. High school traditions: giving friends holy pictures with personal messages written on the back; celebrating friends’ birthdays bringing home made cakes and biscuits. – Pauleen
  • As part of curriculum at Sorell School, each class spends a week at the Pioneer School in role play as if in 1821, inkwells, nib pens, nose on chalk on chalkboard if naughty, check fingernails before entering room etc – Sue
  • I looked up centennial magazine. There was photo of my aunty in 1922 in school uniform. She was one of the oldest/tallest. She went on from school to train as a nurse. – Maggie P
  • A high school tradition which remains is the ability to sing the school anthem in Latin, Angeli Archangeli. Some things stick in the mind – Pauleen
  • Not only have I visited my old school – I joined the staff as Head of Library 35 years after I finished my schooling. What a blast from the past! Rules were relaxed, there weren’t many nuns, students were allowed to speak in class – Jill
  • all my 6 siblings attended same rural local primary and then my brother’s 9 children went there too – no more in the family to follow – Carmel
  • Three generations of my direct family have attended the same high school: mum, me, our daughters. Special memories over the years. Sadly generation 4 lives in the NT so won’t be going – Pauleen
  • All schools I have attended are still standing, and I taught for 21 years at Sorell school which is the oldest school in Australia still operating from the same site begun in 1821. – Sue
  • We have had several high school class reunions organised by a couple of those who have stayed in New Plymouth. At school 125th celebration, the boarders had lots to say- our bond was so much stronger- and our memories so much funnier or poignant. – Maggie P

Ancestor education

  • Maggie P – Found enrolment for my uncle at Camerons school on the West Coast when he was 5. My mother was born there but must have moved to Kumara soon after. My Aunty, 10 years younger than my mother, never knew they’d lived at Camerons, but school record clinched it.
  • Hilary – FindMyPast have lots of the records and they are an interesting read also found newpaper report of non-attendance prosecution
  • Fran – Newspapers are a good one I forgot about. Many Uni exams, nurses, public servant exams, etc are reported in local newspapers in NZ.
  • Brooke – In the @BNArchive I found reports of truancy. My great-grandmother’s parents were hauled in & fined for her non-attendance when she was about 9.
  • Hilary – just found the scans of those school reports for my Mum need to take another look at them
  • Brooke – I have found some Cambridgeshire school records (can’t recall if it was Ancestry or FindMyPast) which listed my great-grandmother. My gg-grandfather was a schoolmaster in Ireland c.1880 but I’m still looking for records.
  • Pauleen – Have you checked the county archives to see what they might have? Also the national Archives Ireland has some records but they’re not digitised
  • Pauleen – School centenary publications or similar can be useful but do try to check for accuracy. Trove stories of the school’s opening or events…look beyond your family’s name. See if local history museums have any records or information, useful in country areas
  • Pauleen – Qld State Archives also has some records for the Grade 8 Scholarship exams – I need to revisit these.
  • Hilary – My grandmother’s cousin was a pupil teacher. I also have school photos of my aunt’s class

  • Carmel – Have a pic of my husbands mother at school in 1925 Maroubra Primary
  • Jill – My Dad left school at 13 to work on the farm, my Mum left at 15 to work in the Post Office. My parents valued education – I was the first in my immediate family to gain a university degree (or 3).
  • Pauleen – My generation was also the first to go to university – no, there was one person ahead of us in a different family I didn’t know. I’m so grateful to my parents for the opportunities they gave to me, especially being a girl. Mum went to Junior (grade 10). One of the biggest things I owe my parents who were working class and my mother who nagged my high school to admit me – I’d gone to a primary school with a different order of nuns. She was sure determined!
  • Carmel – Me too, none of my siblings completed High school so I was the first to go to Uni etc. very grateful to my mother who valued education as she had to leave at the end of primary school, no money for her to travel to a secondary school
  • Sue – Have found newspaper reports though of ancestor parents being fined for truant children
  • Maggie – I’ve looked through school records at Kent Archives in Maidstone – fascinating details there! Sadly, none relating to my ancestors.
  • Sandra – There are a few reports of school picnics on Trove from my grandparents time. They are always interesting reading.
  • Jennifer – Have found teacher records in @PRO_Vic My gg gfather was schoolmaster on the ship. information about him in passenger record
  • Jennifer – I’ve come across many articles about teachers on @TroveAustralia – school concerts, outings, teachers leaving the school or district. But not for my ancestors
  • Maggie – I had a look on @findmypast in their Yorkshire school records for my great grandmother but couldn’t find her – she left for NZ aged six so probably didn’t start. Will have to look in NZ records for her instead!
  • Carmel – Have school admission records for my father and his siblings in 1921 but hard pressed to find any others
  • Jill – I have found several reports that mention my Mother and her sisters’ achievements on Trove. I’m grateful that the Cobar newspaper reported on school activities.
  • GenXalogy – I have all my grandmother’s primary school reports (hilarious reading!!), and I have sourced quite a few records from school archives over the years as two of my great-grandfathers were teachers. (One of the great-grandfathers dropped dead just outside the school after a particularly trying day. I may or may not have threatened my students that I may do the same.) (I totally have.)
  • Pauleen – School admission registers are gold, and even inspectors’ reports can help. Requests to establish schools can include relatives names, and their children’s ages and names.
  • Maggie P – My father was at the younger end of his family. Once he passed Proficiency in Std 6 he had to go out to work as the family were too poor to send him to high school.
  • Pauleen – I have found most records for the relatives who attended state (government) schools because, where they’ve survived, they’re at the archives. Some have been lost over the centuries/decades. How to find the Catholics is my new challenge.

  • Fran – I have found schools for some of my grandparents in both London at the archives and libraries. In New Zealand the NZ Society of Genealogists have great school records. Helps with names, dates and addresses.

    White77 / Pixabay

    Readers: What are your memories of your schooling? Have you found anything about an ancestor’s schooling records?