Discover your ancestors who went to school in England and Wales between 1870 and 1914. Explore their school records to find their birth date, admission year and the school they attended. You may also be able to discover their parents’ names, father’s occupation, exam results and any illnesses that led to absence from school.
There are over seven million records available to search from 41 counties in England and Wales: Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Cheshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Devon, Durham, Flintshire, Glamorganshire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Westmorland, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Yorkshire.
Each record comprises a transcript and a colour image of the original register. The amount of information listed varies, but the records usually include a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
The image may contain additional details, including:
The National School Admission Registers & Log-books records are the result of a landmark project between schools, record offices and archives in England and Wales. Never before have so many organisations come together to create a digital version of their records. This is an ongoing project to scan and transcribe school admission registers and log-books from around the country. Findmypast would like to acknowledge the significant role played by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association in conceiving and coordinating this landmark project.
Log-books and admission registers
The difference between log-books and admission registers is that log books don’t contain any information on the student’s birth or admission year; log-books note events or incidents that occurred during the school year. The ‘Remarks/Reasons for Leaving’ field in the admission registers can reveal details of a student’s health problems, as well as other reasons for leaving, which include going to an industrial home or a workhouse, reaching the age limit, dying, moving away, exclusion due to infectious disease or going to a convalescent home. Several have left school to be moved to scattered homes, also known as isolated homes, which placed small groups of orphaned, poor or abandoned children in ordinary houses, in order to save them from workhouses. Schools were clearly less sentimental about their pupils in the 19th century: in one admission register, the stated reason for a pupil leaving is simply “Dead”.
Log-books can make for fascinating reading, with a wide variety of details relating to the running of a school. They can contain lesson plans, details of government examinations, results of examinations with comments, staff lists and detailed results of school inspections of teachers. There are also attendance records and information about school closure due to widespread illness. There are occasionally notes about the academic achievements of individual pupils or entire classes, details of students who entered and left the school, and events such as visits from the rector, half-days or church attendance.
Examples of log entries from Merrow Church of England School, Surrey
The log-book of Merrow reveals much about England in the 19th and early 20th centuries. On 3 June 1907, the log-book reads “All the children excluded on account of diphtheria except one, in hospital, returned to school”. Two days later, it’s noted that “A Clarke is suffering from ringworm”. On Friday 25 January 1884, an entry reads “A serious outbreak of ‘Mumps’ among the children has very much affected the attendance. 25 children absent on Friday from this cause.” And on 16 February 1911, “School closed by order of the Medical Officer of health on account of Measles”. Almost a month later, on 13 March, the school is reopened, with 40 children absent.
These illnesses were more widespread among children before the advent of vaccinations in England. The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella was introduced to England in 1988. Until vaccination was introduced in 1940, diphtheria was one of the top causes of death in children.
There is continuing mention of “Miss Thrupp” visiting. Miss Thrupp was a busy woman; she is mentioned as visiting the school not once but twice in most log-book entries.
It appears that Friday absenteeism is not a recent phenomenon. On Friday 13 November 1899, an entry notes that “Of late, several children have absented themselves on Friday”.
A number of random notes in the log-book make for interesting reading:
On 18 July 1879: “Commenced the Geography of Ireland. The boys seem to take a great interest in the Geography Albert Watkins is the most backward but he is anxious and persevering.”
On 4 March 1892: J Lynn was “expelled for insubordination”.
On 16 January 1908: “The Constable visited the school and cautioned the children against running before motor-cars”.
These records have been compiled from the registers and log books held by the following archives and schools:
Barrow-in-Furness Record Office, Cumbria
Bedfordshire & Luton Archive Services
Caernarfon Record Office
Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies
Cheshire Archives & Local Studies
Conwy Archive Service
Cumbria Archive and Local Studies Centre, Whitehaven
Devon Heritage Services, Exeter
Durham County Record Office
Flintshire Record Office
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Isle of Wight County Record Office
James Allen's Girls' School
Kingston Borough Archives
Lambeth Archives, Minet Library
Liverpool Maritime Museum
Maynard School, Exeter
Merton Heritage & Local Studies Centre
North Devon Record Office, Barnstaple
North London Collegiate School
Northamptonshire Record Office
Oldham Local Studies & Archives
Plymouth and West Devon Record Office
Stockport Archive Service
Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich
Suffolk Record Office, Lowestoft
Surrey History Centre
Tameside Local Studies & Archives Centre
The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland
Tower Hamlets Local History Archives & Library
Trafford Local Studies Centre
Wandsworth Heritage Service, Battersea
West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea
West Sussex Record Office
Westminster City Archives
Wigan Archives & Local Studies
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
Wirral Archives Service