Thursday, January 29, 2015

Often Overlooked Records Part IV - School Census Records

The School Trustee, who was in charge of each school district, played a big role in Kentucky communities. Among other duties, he was responsible for employing a qualified teacher, "who in no case shall be related to the trustee by blood or marriage ..."[1] If there was a complaint against or by the teacher, he had to deal with it. In addition, he was required to visit each school at the beginning of the year and make monthly visits throughout the year.[2]

The job of the trustee that interests us, as genealogists, relates to  the census that was taken each April in each school in the district. It was the trustee's duty "during the month of April, to take an exact census of all the children then residing in such district, who will be, on the first day of July following, between the ages of six and twenty years ... specifying the name, age, sex and names of the parents or guardian of each child"[3] Failure to take this census could result in the trustee being fined.  While it is great to have a date for the school children, be aware that some years only the age of the child was listed, some times the birth year was omitted and some birth dates vary from year to year.

School census records are found either in the county clerk's office of the courthouse or in the school board office. They may be in bound volumes, as in Livingston County, or as folded, loose papers, as in Lyon County. No matter what form they are, they may provide valuable information.

Part of 1900 Census of Lola School (District 7)
Livingston County, Kentucky

[1] Article VIII, "District Trustee," Journal of the Regular Session of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Begun and Held in the City of Frankfort on Monday, the Thirty-First of December, in the Year of Our Lord, 1883, and of the Commonwealth the Ninety-Second (Frankfort, KY: S.L.Major, Printer,  1884), 814; digital images, Google Books (; accessed 5 December 2014.
[2] Article VIII, "District Trustee, 815."
[3] Article VIII, "District Trustee, 816."

Published 29 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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