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School Records

A state-run system of education was not established in Ireland until 1831. These national schools were built with the aid of the Commissioners of National Education and local trustees. Between 1832 and 1870 about 2,500 national schools were established in Ulster; the records that have survived for schools in Northern Ireland are held at PRONI. Of particular interest are the registers of attendance. The earliest registers date from the 1850s and record the full name of the pupil, date of birth (or age of entry), religion, father’s address and occupation (but unfortunately not his name), details of attendance and academic progress and the name of the school previously attended. A space is also provided in the registers for general comments, which might tell where the children went to work after leaving school or if they emigrated. Some have an index at the front that can greatly ease searching.

As they include the age of pupils, school registers can be cross-referenced to other records such as baptismal records or birth certificates. Occasionally the registers give the actual date of birth. A series of calendars listing the registers available at PRONI are available on the shelves of the Public Search Room. Each school is given the prefix SCH and then a separate reference number.

These records reproduced with kind permission of Deputy Keeper of Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.