With the new school year upon us, GCPL Genealogist Cheryl McClellan, wrote this blog post about hunting for school records. Read more of her posts here

School bells are ringing in Geauga County. Drop by the Chardon Library to see the Geauga County Genealogical Society’s display on Geauga County schools of yesteryear. Significant to the display is a 1911 photo of Newbury Elementary School No. 1 (Stafford Grove). Pictured in front of the log school house are the teacher, Eva Veltman, and seven students! One of the students is James Blair, the father of Cathy Schwind, who is president of the Genealogical Society. Photos of Geauga County log cabins are hard to find, let alone log cabin schools! Hard to imagine are the days when a school served only seven students, of various grades.

Looking for school records or photos for your own ancestors? Ancestry Library Version and MyHeritage Library Version, available through GCPL, both have extensive U.S. yearbook collections. Familysearch.org, the world’s largest free genealogy website, has some types of U.S. school records, such as school censuses. Under “catalog” at Familysearch.org, type “United States” and add the ancestor’s state. A list of various types of records for that state will appear. Look under “school records’ as well as under “institutions”.

Besides yearbooks, other types of school records are harder to find, especially online. Check the local library or historical/genealogical society where your ancestor lived or the state historical society. GCPL Branches have some yearbooks for the schools in their area. The GCPL Allyn Room in the Chardon Branch has archival boxes of photos and newspaper articles for Geauga County schools, plus Chardon area yearbooks.

If you know the year a student graduated from high school, you can check the microfilmed newspapers in the Allyn Room for lists of graduates. If the class was small, you may find individual or group photos of graduates. The newspapers often carried photos or stories of school sports teams, plays, clubs or your ancestors’ other activities. Geauga County ancestors may have been mentioned in the Painesville Telegraph, which covered Geauga County and can be searched at “MyHeritage Library Version”, through your GCPL website and a library card. Happy hunting! Write down some of your own school experiences for your family and spare them the trouble of trying to find your school stories after you are gone!!

Cheryl is currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.