Searching where ancestor went to college

posted in: Family History, Genealogy | 0

Family lore says that one set of my great-great-grandparents went to college, however we do not know where.

Education was important to many of our ancestors

We know that my great-grandfather went to law school but did not finish.  However, his law books were passed down in the family and it was said that people would come to him to resolve their issues.

His wife was also educated and went to a Methodist college before they were married.

So, I took their marriage date of 1880 and began to search for colleges in the southeast that existed before this time.  I searched specifically for law schools and women’s colleges that were open from 1860-1880.  {Although he served in the Civil War and they probably met at the end of the war.}

They were raised in North Carolina and Alabama, respectively.  However, family lore stated that they met while in college in Georgia.  So, this provided me with three states to check and I threw in Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia for good measure to ensure I left nothing out.

This was very time consuming, but I ended up with a small list of schools that may be an option.

Any schools that opened after 1880, were clearly not the ones I was searching for.

I then set out to contact the alumni offices to determine if they had any information.

Sadly, I heard back from less than half of those that I heard from.

Don’t give up finding your ancestor’s school records

This can be for a variety of reasons, including they do not have records dating back that far.

But, I’ve not given up.  I will continue to search.

  • Some options include old yearbooks that may exists.
  • To continue to reach out to the alumni offices.
  • To search newspaper records from that period.
  • Also, I just discovered that Ancestry.com has a U.S. College Student Lists {1763-1924}

Not knowing the exact school or state complicates matters, but it is definitely worth to continue searching for answers.

Have you found any college records from your ancestors?