Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com beefed up its school yearbook collection to total 10,000 yearbooks and 60 million records (names), staking a claim to the largest searchable collection of yearbooks available online.
I like the idea of yearbooks as genealogical resources because of the potential of finding a photo of an ancestor as a young person, and learning about interests such as tennis or science (you won’t find that in the census).
Ancestry.com’s collection contains two databases: US School Yearbooks, which already was on the site; and US School Yearbooks Index, the new additions.
The yearbooks come from military, public, parochial and private high schools, junior highs, academies, colleges and universities from almost every state. The books date from 1875 to 1988. Click here to search.
The search can be a bit frustrating. The first and last names you type in won’t necessarily be near each other on the yearbook pages in your search results, so you’ll get a lot of irrelevant matches. Adding a place of residence and a birth year or range will help.
Once you do find somebody, you can page through the book to see if he or she is photographed or listed elsewhere (such as with the football team or on a “Most Popular” list). Also try to find yearbooks for other years the person spent at that high school or college.