Discover your ancestors in 19th century school records from across Ireland, north and south. Find out how they did in school, how good their attendance was, how old they were and what their parents or guardians did for a living. These registers, from schools that have since closed down, give a fascinating insight into the multidenominational early school system and can be a valuable resource for genealogists.
Each record contains both a transcription of the entry and an image of the page of the register. The amount of information varies but you can find out the following about your ancestor:
Year of birth
Year of register
Occupation of parent or guardian
The image can contain further information. You could find out these details:
Name of previous school
Number of days attendance
Class enrolled into
Results of examinations in various subjects including reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, needlework and drawing.
Date pupil left the school and was readmitted (if applicable)
Please note that those children born after 1915 have been redacted for legal reasons. This means that in some cases images cannot be shown if they include one of these children.
This is the first collection of Irish schools registers to appear online. It covers many areas of the country from 1860 to 1920. Further records will be added in time.
The Commissioners for National Education, which was subsequently known as the National Education Board was established in 1831 with the aim of providing a non-denominational education for the poor of Ireland. When it came to funding allocations, special preference was given to schools with a jointly Catholic and Protestant board. Children were to be given a combined “moral and literary” education and religious instruction was to be separate. However, the ideal of a mixed secular education did not succeed as both Catholic and Protestant church bodies lobbied the Government in favour of denominational schools. By the mid-19th century the majority of schools were run by a single denominational board.
Attendance in the schools was frequently sporadic and it was not until 1892 that education became compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14. Even after this, many of the poorer children had to leave full time education before they had completed their primary education to help with the upkeep of their families. Levels of poverty were so high in working class Dublin that it was common for children to leave school in order to sell wares on the streets or to beg.
The schools covered in these records are generally smaller, more isolated schools or ones that catered to a dwindling faith group that closed long ago. You will find a broad mix of religions and backgrounds. Children were taught the “three Rs” of reading, writing and (a)rithmatic and in some schools they also learnt needlework and drawing.