Education and School Records

From the early days of settlement until the 1960s, there were thousands of school districts in the province, the majority of them rural. Over time, these school districts were amalgamated into new administrative structures (school divisions and school units). Records about the creation and maintenance of these schools, and about the education of Saskatchewan citizens, are acquired by the Provincial Archives from the Ministry of Education. Records may also be acquired directly from former school districts, school divisions, and school units.

Children playing at grounds beside Abbey School. Ca. 1948. PAS Photo R-B5848.

Types of Records To Explore and Where to Find Them

Student Attendance Records

For family historians, the most valuable records are the daily attendance registers, which list the children enrolled in the school, their ages, dates of birth and occasionally the names of their parents or guardians.

Attendance registers may be found at the following locations:

  • At the current School Division office for the area in question
  • Regulations stipulate that attendance registers are to be retained by the School Division office for the area concerned, and many of these registers may be found here
  • With the last secretary-treasurer of the school before it closed
  • At a local museum, archives or library
  • At the Provincial Archives

It may be difficult to determine where family members attended school, but if the land description of the home farm is known, the Provincial Archives can help to pinpoint the school district in which a family lived.

Unfortunately, many attendance registers have not survived or have not been transferred to a safe repository.

All daily attendance registers preserved at the Provincial Archives are restricted due to personal information contained within the record. Permission to access information from these records may be coordinated through a Reference Archivist.

Yearbooks and student newspapers offer an alternative source for information on individual students. These are often available in school and college libraries and at the archives of the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. A few yearbooks have been collected by the Provincial Archives.

School District Records

The Provincial Archives holds a series of administrative records created by the Department of Education which include a file for each school district established in the province. While these files do not contain the names of pupils, they frequently include background information related to a school district's formation such as the original petition to establish the school district, the names of the first ratepayers, and maps showing where they owned land. School Officials forms and Superintendents’ Reports provide information about school conditions and teachers.

Inactive Teachers Register Sheets

The Ministry of Education records also include Inactive Teachers Register Sheets, 1912-1938. These sheets show a teacher’s date and place of birth and educational qualifications, and identify where the teacher taught in Saskatchewan.