This week I’m belatedly writing Week 48 in my Beyond the Internet series in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens and this week’s topic is Occupations – Teachers.
I wrote a few posts early in the year about school admissions and other school records, which will obviously be of relevance if you have teaching ancestors.
However you’re probably looking for more personal information about their careers.
I have no teachers in my family tree but Mr Cassmob’s is fairly littered with them so much of the information I’ve acquired has come from them. Some are his immediate ancestors, one is our daughter, and others go back to the early-mid 19th century.
Where to look
The first port of call will be the relevant archive for the area where they taught.
If they were in a religious school, you may have to approach the school or religious order they worked for (not so easy, sometimes).
I’d also look at reference libraries to see if there’s more general information about their records.
So what might you find about your teaching ancestors?
Their inspection reports: Remember those school visits when we thought the inspector was only assessing us, but in reality was probably mainly interested in the teacher, and whether they’d taught the necessary curriculum to the right standard. They must have been intimidating for the teachers as 50 years later we met a lady in Alotau who remembered her mother being inspected by Mr Cassmob’s father (who could do intimidating quite well in his professional role).
Their other roles in the community: for example my mother-in-law was the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in her rural Victorian community when she was only 20 or so. As a family historian you have to love information like that!
Their academic training: whether they had teachers’ college training, university, or were thrown in largely at the deep end to sink or swim.
Their history in schools: For example: my in-laws were both teachers and both were required to establish small bush schools in rural Victoria with absolutely minimal training. In their specific case this experience was no doubt invaluable as they launched and taught at new schools in Papua New Guinea. Did your ancestors teach in large urban schools, small multi-class schools or even one-teacher schools? Who was in their class? Did their own children have to call them “Mrs Cass” in the classroom, for example.
Books: You may find some reference to your teaching ancestors in books relating to the areas where they taught, or specialised books on education.
Gazettes: Government and Education Their postings may feature in the various gazettes –check them out. (I’m indebted to Rosemary Kopittke who alerted me to the education gazettes last year). Goulds have a range of the Queensland Education Gazettes which you can see here.
If you have teachers in your tree I hope these tips will help you learn a little more about them. If you have used other records please do share with us via the comments or your own blog so we can all learn.
Teachers really are pivotal to the development of a community’s children, a debt we all owe them, as they work so hard to educate and care for their students. In the past week we’ve also seen their heroism as they protected children, sometimes with their own lives.
So let’s all say a huge “thank you” to the teachers who’ve helped form us into who we are today.
Did you have a pivotal teacher: if so who was it?
The teaching images are from Microsoft clipart.