School Records Research

How to find historic records from Minnesota public schools

Student & Teacher Record Types

Classroom of students, Carver.1905.

Records produced by students and teachers can be a great source of information for family historians as well as those researching local or school history.  They contain information ranging from curriculum plans and textbooks used to grades and attendance.  

Note: These records may be found within collections from the school districts themselves or also from within the county superintendent of schools records.  

Records Organized by Teacher

Teachers. 1900.  Teacher record cards, found as part of the county superintendent of schools records, can be valuable for tracking down information about individuals who were employed as teachers in the public schools.  These collections are findable by searching for "teacher record cards" and the name of the county in which you are interested in the library and archives catalog. Records are often comprised of index cards which

contain the following types of information: 

  • Education and preparation (locations and years)
  • Certification (field and subjects)
  • Participation in teachers retirement
  • Record of positions held (location and duration)

Other records organized by teacher are often those turned in to an administrator (i.e. the superintendent of schools) on an annual basis.  They frequently contain information on the following topics: 

  • Annual grades for students
  • Curriculum design and progress
  • Attendance data and daily schedule
  • Textbook inventory


You may find these types of records under the following titles: 

  • All Complete Record and Report
  • All in One Record
  • Class Record
  • Complete Record
  • Teacher's Reports to Superintendent


Note: Records with personal student information (such as grades) may be restricted.  If the records you are seeking fall into this category, please consult with Reference Staff for more information.  

Records Organized by Student

Students learning about the United Nations. 1950.  Records organized by student often are focused on grades and attendance, with school census records providing additional information such as parents names, siblings names, ages and birthdays, sex, distance from school to house, and whether or not the student used district provided transporation.  

Specific record types of this nature include the following titles: 

  • Classification register
  • Pupil record cards/sheets
  • Attendance registers
  • School census

Note: Generally speaking, attendance registers and school census do not fall under restrictions on private information within school records.  


Potential Record Restrictions

Pupil records include private information about individuals.  Records with private information have restricted access.  Applicable restrictions will be listed in collection finding aids. If you have any questions, please consult reference staff for more information.  

Records which include students' grades.  Restricted access.  

  • All Complete Record and Report
  • All in One Record
  • Classification Register
  • Class Record
  • Pupil Record Cards
  • Pupil Record Sheets
  • Teacher's Reports (annual, periodic) to County Superintendent

Pupil records which do not include students' grades (directory information).  Unrestricted access.  

  • Attendance Registers
  • School Censuses

Student & Teacher Records Links

MNHS Reference Staff

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