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Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

About U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012

This is an indexed collection of middle school, junior high, high school, and college yearbooks from across the United States.

Yearbooks are one of those home sources, usually found in an attic or basement, which many people don't think of as a family history source. While yearbooks may not provide information about the vital events that are usually associated with genealogical research, they do provide other information about individuals' lives. This information helps place people in historical context as well as provides detail that helps turn individuals, sometimes only known by names and dates, into actual people. Here are some examples of how yearbooks may help you in your family history:

  • Pinpoints an individual in a particular time and place
  • Class lists usually include a photo (See what grandpa looked like as a freshman in high school)
  • Interests and hobbies (What activities, sports, and clubs did grandma participate in?)
  • Family linkage (Some yearbooks feature siblings at the same school. If not, look for other students with the same last name in other grades - they could be related.)
  • History (A history of the school or town may be included in the yearbook. General history such as world events, fads, and pop culture may also be found through studying a yearbook. What was "in", fashion-wise? What world events concerned and influenced students most?)
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