What picture comes to mind when you think about your grandparents? Your parents? For your entire life, you’ve known them as adults, doing adult things. But we forget that they were once teens and young adults too! Finding a picture and / or information about your grandparents or parents from their formative years can be a very rewarding addition to anyone’s family history research.
High school, college and other miscellaneous school yearbooks or class lists can be an interesting source of genealogical information and photographs. You might find out that your relative participated in sports, scholastic teams, won academic awards, was a class officer, etc. Maybe your relative’s subsequent vocation or avocation goes back to when they were a member of the Biology Club, Drama Club, or school orchestra? Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to add a picture of Grandma Ruth when she was a member of her school chorus?
The JGSLI Board decided that it would be a valuable service to its members if we could inventory yearbooks in our members’ personal libraries and make that information available for genealogical look-ups. JGSLI commenced its Yearbook Project in June of 2006 with the goal of acting as an intermediary to match researchers with yearbook owners.
During the last year, we have been able to match dozens of researchers with yearbook owners. Since our list of yearbooks was made public, we have received inquiries from not only our members, but non-members as well. We realized that since our membership’s yearbooks are predominantly from the New York City / Long Island area, the information in those books could be of interest to researchers from around the country.
The interest from non-members outside of the NYC / LI area gave us the idea of expanding our project to inventory yearbooks from other local JGSs, other genealogical groups and other interested individuals. A number of non-member researchers have inquired if they could list their books on our site as well.