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Census Records: School Census

Federal, state, and other census records

What is a School Census?

A school census was a listing of school-aged children in a particular school district.  

In early years, the districts were often connected to specific schools within a county, rather than being modern multi-school Consolidated, Special, or Independent Districts.  A census was taken each year to help local governments determine the resource needs--teachers, buildings, funding, etc.--for individual schools.

How can I access school census information?

In Person
Many school census records are part of the Minnesota State Archives and are available for in-person research at the Gale Family Library.

To see if we have the school census records you are seeking, search the Library's Catalog:

  1. Go to the main search page for the catalog
  2. Select "Local Government Records" from the MNHS Catalog Options drop down menu
  3. Enter "school census" and the name of the county in the search box
  4. Click the Search button
  5. From the results list, click on a the title of a records collection to get more information (years of census, other related records, etc.)


Currently there is one collection of Minnesota School Census Records available from FamilySearch.  This collection has not yet been indexed, so it can be browsed but not directly searched by name, location, etc.  It is:

Minnesota, Clay County, School Census Records, 1909-1962


Notes for School Census

It is important to note that the ages of children are their ages at the time of the census-taking, so birth years calculated using this age may be slightly inaccurate.  In addition, in some cases the parents listed may actually be legal guardians, rather than biological parents.

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