Past records for West Sussex schools added to online database

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West Sussex residents will be able to find their ancestors who went to school in the area as new records have now been added to an online database.

The admission registers from around 100 local schools across the county, most of which date from the 1870s to 1914, have been digitised and indexed by the family history website Find My Past.

The registers vary in the level of detail they provide, but usually record a child’s name and date of birth, date of admission, father’s name and address, previous school, and date of leaving.

They often record why a child left school, with common entries being ‘left the parish’ or ‘gone to Brighton’ but they also record when a child started work, went into domestic service or ‘left to help mother’.

They may also simply say ‘age’, which indicates that the child had reached the school leaving age of 14.

Matthew Jones, Assistant County Archivist, said: “This will be a fantastic resource for people who want to find out more about their West Sussex ancestors. The records themselves are quite fragile so having access to digital copies will help us to preserve the originals for years to come. “But it will also mean that they’re available to a worldwide audience and enable family historians to search all of the admission registers simultaneously.”

Anyone can access the admission registers, either by subscribing to Find My Past or by visiting West Sussex Record Office in Chichester where the subscription website is available free of charge.

To find out more, contact the Record Office on 01243 753602 or visit Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD. Alternatively, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/ro where you can also find out what other school records are available.