Other Ways to Track Magical Births
It could be possible that not all schools use some kind of quill to keeo track of witches and wizards born in their country. What could some other ways be?
In the book I'm working on, there is no list at all. The seal on each acceptance letter is charmed to find a magical child who will be old enough to start school next, almost like a moth to a flame. Once the letter find someone, the child's name and all other information appear. The school keeps sending out bunches of letters until some just return back, letting them no there is no one else to recieve a letter. Muggle-born letters are sent two years before all the others with a tracking charm so a professor from the school can follow it.
But what are some other methods the rest of you have come up with?
I always imagined it was the Ministry of Magic's responsibility to detect Muggle-Born wizards and relay their information to the School/s in the area. Sort of a list by which either the parents or the ministry of magical children communicated the presence of elligible children to the school (Harry was inscribed since birth, apparently), which brings me to believe magic is only detected in children when they unwittingly use it. Harry, therefore, could be considered "magical" since birth, since he had failed to die by Lord Voldemort (whether as a result of his own magic or his mothers--this could be seen as either way). Otherwise, his strange occurrences would have brought the ministry to attention, such as his little uses of magic during his childhood--I assume all Muggle-borns would have these slip ups before they knew what they were--Tom Riddle, for example.
I kind of imagined the Ministry as having a map sort of like the Marauders Map that showed houses with magical residents, the Weasley house would prove that they were of age, like they mentioned, and therefore it fell to the parents to police underage magic, whereas the Dursleys' would be registered as having no one, therefore when Harry succeeded in performing magic (such as with his hair growing back), the unexpected presence of magic in a non-magic household prompted investigation and the information being passed on to the schools in the area (and something similar to detect breaches in secrecy, underage magic--with the Dursleys' later being registered as having an underage wizard, so when Dobby performed magic, he not being known to be in that house, Harry could be blamed). Kind of like a firearms license...but for magic.
Therefore, I don't think they'd track magical BIRTHS (since squibs would likely be assumed to be magical until they failed to perform. There was doubt in Neville--had he been magical from birth his gran might not have been so concerned--therefore I assume Magic is something that can appear quite a bit later, and perhaps occasionally at birth or early childhood, but generally later on.)
I hope that makes sense. Those are just my personal fabrications/theories.
But your charmed envelope theory is very poetic as well Best of luck!
See, I agree that I don't think they track magical births per say. I think they track magical abilities. Like it said in DH, magical children have The Trace on them until they come of age. So i'm thinking that the Ministry has records of when Magical parents have children. Then that list is updated when the child has their first showing of magic, thus proving that they aren't a Squib! I don't think they have a map exactly, but like a Magical list/scroll type thing.
Hmm, I though one of J.K.'s interviews said the school had a magic quill that kept track of every wizard birth in Britain. It could find Muggle-borns in Muggle families, and if a child is a Squib, it simply didn't acknowledge them. Then, everyyear, the deputy headmaster would look at the names written down eleven years ago and send letters to all the names, regardless if they accepted the invitation or not.
It's mentions on the HP Lexicon:
quill, magical (Hogwarts)
But objects like that can't be all that common. I was just wondering how other countries would keep track of their population.
Sorry, we did get off on a bit of a tangent then!
Well, I think other countries would have the same sort of device. Maybe it's a magical scroll/parchment like I said, which would involve a magical quill. I feel like that wouldn't be just a Hogwarts specific item. I think in all magical worlds, they keep their population under pretty close watch. If you were writing a fic about say France, you could say something about maybe France keeping a closer watch on their population, maybe requiring every magical being to register in some way. Or, you could go in a completely different direction and it's the parents responsibility to apply their child to a school. I think that since JKR gave information specific only to Hogwarts and England, we have a lot of leeway on how we write a fic like that. Hope that helps more...
I have another pondering when it comes to magical births. Do you think third-world countries have poorer means of keeping track of their people. If that were true, pooorer familes and Muggleborns may have no oppurunities to educate themselves, keeping the rich richer and the poorest of the poor always below them. This is the same even with Muggles in certain countries.
Do you think the Muggle goverment of these contries have paralelles with the wizarding ones.