Genealogy Search Tips

Use Yearbooks to Find Your Ancestors

Yearbooks Can Provide Unique Information About Your Ancestors, Relatives and Friends

The annual publication of high school yearbooks and college yearbooks has been a tradition in most areas of the the United States for a long time. In some areas middle school yearbooks are also published.

Yearbooks can contain a substantial amount of information for genealogists and in some cases provide missing genealogy links that can connect families.

Graduating Class Information

Here is a partial list of information that can be found in high school yearbooks and college yearbooks about members of a graduating class.

Other Yearbook Information

Here is a partial list of other information that can be found in most high school yearbooks and college yearbooks.

Find High School and College Yearbooks

Sometimes you can find high school and college yearbooks by looking in the location where they were published. So if you are trying to find yearbooks from a school in Cleveland, Ohio you might find the yearbooks in a Cleveland library or historical society. You might also look at the classified ads in some of the Cleveland area newspapers because some people collect old yearbooks (buying from estates and auctions) and then sell them.

You can also use the major search engines and classified or for sale listings to find high school and college yearbooks online. You might find that a particular yearbook is for sale or you might discover that the pages of a high school yearbook or a college yearbook have been scanned, perhaps by an individual member of the class, and are available online. There are also companies that are currently scanning yearbooks and selling subscriptions to read the yearbooks online

Social networks are another good place to look for high school and college yearbooks. Many high schools and colleges have their own pages on social networks and sometimes you can find that the major contents of yearbooks have been scanned and posted on these pages. You might find pictures and biographical information about graduating class members as well as group photos.

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Genealogy Search Tip

Find Historical Information

Think of an event that is part your family history - a birth, high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, death or other event. Then find a local newspaper that was published at the time of the event.

More and more historical newspapers are now indexed by keywords including surnames. So just enter the surname for the year or other date that interests you and search the historical newspaper database.

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