Finding Your Ancestors in School Yearbooks

Finding Your Ancestors in School Yearbooks
Do you use yearbooks in your genealogy research?

Yearbooks can be a fantastic resource to find your ancestor’s photograph. They have been popular for many years and can be found for dating back to the 1800′s.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a school yearbook is photographs. Of course, we all remember our own school picture days.  We enjoyed getting dressed up, making sure our hair was just so and just hoping (please, please…) that our photo session came before PE class.

What genealogical gems can you find in a school yearbook?

  • A photograph of your ancestor.
  • Photographs of your ancestor’s siblings and/or cousins.  In rural areas such as my grandparents grew up in, the local school housed many if not all grade levels.  Families lived closer together and children attended the closest school.  Look closely for photographs of other family members.
  • Information on your ancestor’s friends. Look at those signatures and personal messages written in the back of the yearbook.  These are people who were important to your ancestor and in the earlier yearbooks likely lived close.  Make note of their names.  If you hit a brick wall, these individuals and/or their families represent your ancestor’s FAN (family, associates, and neighbors) club.
  • Information about the local community.  Look at the ads in the back of the yearbook.  What types of local businesses advertised here? These will give you a sense of the type of community where your ancestor lived. You can also find evidence if your ancestors owned a business.

What Can You Learn About Your Ancestor’s Personality in a Yearbook?

These are just a few examples of entertaining information you can potentially find on your ancestor in a yearbook. While the information may not progress your research further back, you can learn a thing or two about your ancestor’s personality.  Look at just a few examples.

Where Do You Find Yearbooks?

Using yearbooks in your research is great, but where do you find these yearbooks?

  • The school itself.  If the school no longer exists, check with the local school district office.
  • Former students.
  • Your relatives – Don’t forget to ask them!
  • Local libraries. Be sure to talk with the librarian. He/she may have information that is unique to their area.
  • Local historical societies.
  • Local and state archives – Check the online digital collections, too.
  • large genealogy databases such as Ancestry.com

All of these are potentially sources for yearbooks.

Oh…. and don’t forget to check for yourself in the yearbooks!

I found myself in one of my college yearbook online….oh, those 80′s hair styles.

Lisa Lisson 1987 ~LisaLisson.com

 


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New E-Book Available TODAY!

Identify Your Ancestors In That Photograph: Strategies to Analyze & Determine Who Is In Your Family Photographs along with its workbook are available starting today! Photo Id Book Cover Just last week I was able to finally positively identify  the couple in this photograph. In the process, not only am I now able to names to the faces, but I was able to converse with a collateral cousin.  Watch for a case study on this photograph coming soon! May I introduce you to Edna (Yeaman) Adams (1886-1972)  her husband Matthew Eugene Adams (1871-1943) of Washington State. Edna was a first cousin to my great grandmother Esther Lee Richardson Talbott.

Edna (Yeaman) Adams 1886-1972 & husband Matthew Eugene Adams 1871-1943

Edna (Yeaman) Adams 1886-1972 & husband Matthew Eugene Adams 1871-1943

Do you have unknown photographs in your collection of family photos?  I do!  Slowly I have been identifying individuals in these photographs.  It has required a lot of trial and error on my part as well as educating myself on vintage photograph characteristics. In Identify Your Ancestors, I share the strategies that worked for me.  i want you to have success, too. Click to learn more about Identify Your Ancestors In That Photograph: Strategies to Analyze & Determine Who Is In Your Family Photographs. Photo ID Banner 728 x90

Tuesday’s Genealogy Tip – Family Reunions

Tuesday's Genealogy Tip Family Reunions

The Family Reunion season is here!  Enjoy and celebrate the current generations of your family, but don’t forget to collect your family’s history of generations past, too!

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Webinar – Finding Photos of Your Ancestors in Unexpected Places

Free Webinar - Finding Your Ancestors in Unexpected Places

 

This is an exciting week for the Are You My Cousin? blog!  First is the release of my new e-book Identify Your Ancestor In That Photograph: Strategies to Analyze & Determine Who Is In Your Family Photos on Wednesday, June 15th. Workbook included.

Secondly, Caroline Guntur of The Swedish Genealogist and The Swedish Organizer  and I will be co-hosting a FREE webinar on Thursday, June 16th at 11 AM (EST). I will be presenting strategies for finding those ancestor photographs is expected places.  Register and join us for Finding Photos of Your Ancestors in Unexpected Places. 

See you there!


New E-book - Identify Your Ancestor In That Photograph

Date a Photograph By Your Female Ancestors’ Hairstyles

Have you thought about your female ancestors’ hairstyles? Have you considered how your female ancestor’s hairstyle could date her photograph?  It is no different from how we look back at our own photographs and know when it was taken by how we wore our hair.

Let’s look at some hair!

Have you thoughts about your female ancestors' hairstyles? Have you considered how your female ancestor's hairstyle could date her photograph?  It is no different from how we look back at our own photographs and know when it was taken by how we wore our hair.

Source: Private Collection of Lisa Lisson

This is a photograph of my great grandmother when she was ~16 in 1912.  Notice the center  part and the braids on the side above her ears.  (Is anyone else thinking Princess Lea from Star Wars?) Also, note the large bow that looks to span the whole width of her head.  This was a typical look for a young woman in the 1900′s and 1910′s.  The bow disappears in photographs of Esther after she married.

Have you thoughts about your female ancestors' hairstyles? Have you considered how your female ancestor's hairstyle could date her photograph?  It is no different from how we look back at our own photographs and know when it was taken by how we wore our hair.

Source: Private Collection of Lisa Lisson

This photograph shows two different types of hairstyles from the 1910′s.  Based on their clothing, these two women were conscious of their style including their hair. The full “loose” bun up on top of the head on the women on the left was typical of the 1910′s.

 

Have you thoughts about your female ancestors' hairstyles? Have you considered how your female ancestor's hairstyle could date her photograph?  It is no different from how we look back at our own photographs and know when it was taken by how we wore our hair.

Source: Private collection of Cynthia Welcher

This photograph of Mary Elizabeth Scott was taken in the early – mid-1890′s.  Notice the center part with the bangs.  Her hair is pulled into a bun in the back.

Have you thoughts about your female ancestors' hairstyles? Have you considered how your female ancestor's hairstyle could date her photograph?  It is no different from how we look back at our own photographs and know when it was taken by how we wore our hair.

Source: Private Collection of Lisa Lisson

Here is a more “modern” photograph taken of Elma Talbott Solomon in the early 1940′s.  Notice her hair is pulled back on top and kept longer on the sides and back.

The photograph above is from the Library of Congress photo collection and depicts a woman from the Civil War era. She wears a typical hairstyle of the day with a middle part and the hair styled over the ears.

Where do you find examples of hairstyles from different time periods?

You have photographs of your female ancestors in your collection but are having trouble identifying the era of time for the photograph.  One of the best ways to determine a date range is through comparison with known photographs from different time periods. You can find samples of photographs in a variety of places:

Now go pull out your photographs and take a closer look at those female ancestors!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you decide to purchase a product/service. This does not cost you extra. Be assured I only recommend products/services that I use and think you would like too.


 

Available June 15th!

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Bring Your Family History To LIFE!

Photographs are a great way to bring family history to life! They are also great conversation pieces at get-togethers. We all know the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”Join me in welcoming Madame Ancestry as my guest blogger today!  Madam Ancestry has been interested in her family history since she was a teenager.  Be sure to follow her on her blog!

For those of us who have the responsibility of researching our family history, the excitement each discovery brings and being able to vividly imagine those encounters comes easily to us – for many of our relatives, not so much. They can’t seem to understand why we’d spend countless hours trying to find the name of the wife of a 2x great uncle, or our excitement in finding the location of origin of our ancestors. We have looked at our records a million times over and have developed a connection with these ancestors. Even though we may be generations down the line from them, we rejoice in their triumphs and empathize in their sorrows. We know them. But how do we get the rest of our family to know them?

Photographs are a great way to bring family history to life! They are also great conversation pieces at get-togethers. We all know the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Imagine that – every single photograph has its own unique story to tell! And of course we family historians will be right there with our footnotes to those stories (smile).

There are many different ways you can showcase photos to help bring family history to life, but I will just show a couple of examples.

#1: The Wall of Photos

Photographs are a great way to bring family history to life! They are also great conversation pieces at get-togethers. We all know the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”

(Madam Ancestry’s family’s personal photos)

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I’m not much of a decorator. This showcase was featured in a relative’s home. We visited them for Christmas and I was pleasantly surprised to see their collection of photos hanging on the wall. They had redecorated their living room and while I admired the various accent frames for their décor, I was even more impressed at the fact that every time we passed through this room, we would get a glimpse of family history. We stood for a few minutes trying to guess who was in certain photos or reminiscing about the event in a particular photo. Sometimes I’ll stand with one of the toddlers and quiz them on who is in the photos. Some of the names they can remember, and for the ones they don’t, I use that as my opportunity to teach them their relation along with the name. This is a win-win for everyone – a beautifully decorated room and a crash course in family history! If you’re on a budget and want to copy this idea, I suggest checking your local Dollar Tree – they have a nice variety of frames in many sizes to choose from.

#2: The Photo Album

Photographs are a great way to bring family history to life! They are also great conversation pieces at get-togethers. We all know the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”

(Madam Ancestry’s family’s personal photos)

The photo album is an easy way to engage family members in discussion as well. I usually leave it on the coffee table, the counter, the dining room table – basically anywhere I think I can garner the most attention at that time. Sometimes it helps if I already have it opened to a page that I want them to focus on. And before long I’ll hear someone ask “Where was this?” or “Who is this?” Those questions sound like music to my ears! I’m then able to share information I have on that person or how they are connected to the family. All of this helps them visualize the identity of those individuals, and eventually those ancestors don’t seem so far from them. Now you can see how photos coupled with family history are a great way to bring family history to life!

I’m in the process of re-doing my photo albums. I like some of the newer photo albums that also include notes sections, so I can have notes right next to the photos. I have my eye on a few albums from Hallmark that I believe will be a good fit for what I have in mind. As you begin compiling your photos to bring family history to life, I will leave you with this last important tip:  When choosing a photo album it is very important that you choose one that has archival safe pages. You always want to make sure that your photos are protected.


 

Madame Ancestry Bio PicA native of Georgia, Madam Ancestry is a family history enthusiast and the family historian of her family. Her interest in researching family history began as a teenager, with her curiosity about certain people and events within her own family. Madam Ancestry takes pride in her family history and loves to help others achieve the same. Her mission is “Connecting families one ancestor at a time”. She is a member of the local and national chapters of AAHGS (Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society) and is involved with other genealogy groups in her area. You can always stay up to date on what Madam Ancestry is doing by subscribing to her blog or following her on Twitter and Facebook! Make sure to also check out her website www.madamancestry.com!


 

Available on June 15th!

Photo ID Banner 728 x90

Tuesday’s Genealogy Tip – Ordering a DAR Application

Tuesday's Genealogy Tip - Ordering a DAR Application

 

Here is a tip for when you need to order a DAR application for your genealogy research.

How about you?  What types of information have you found on DAR applications?


Identify Your Ancestor In That Photograph - E-book and Workbook

The Pre-Sale of Identify Your Ancestors in That Photograph: Strategies to Analyze and Determine Who Is In Your Family Photographs starts tomorrow, June 8th.  To get in on the Pre-sale pricing, subscribe to the Genealogy News You Can Use newsletter.

Sign up for the newsletter. You will also receive a FREE ebook 10 Places to Find Your Ancestors’ Photographs.

FREE E-Book - 10 Places to Find Your Ancestors' Photographs



Preserving Your Family’s Historic Photographs

Preserving Your Family's Historic Photographs

Welcome to Andi Willis of Good Life Organizing as guest blogger today!  I know you will enjoy her insight into preserving our family’s historic photographs.

From Grandma’s meticulously maintained photo albums to tin types of long gone relatives to snapshots of your parents, photographs capture the visual history of your family. To preserve these precious memories, it is important to safeguard your pictures in a few easy steps.

It’s All About Location

One of the most important factors when it comes to preserving your photographs is where you store them. It is very important not to keep any photographs in attics, basements, garages or storage units. The extreme changes in temperature and humidity found in these areas will wreak havoc on your pictures. Keep all printed pictures in a climate controlled area of your home such as a closet or a spare room. It’s also vital to keep your photos away from prolonged exposure to light, especially direct sunlight, which can cause the pictures to fade.

Keeping your loose photos in regular file folders, manilla envelopes, shoeboxes or plastic bins is also not ideal. Organize and store you photos in acid-free folders and boxes which are free of chemicals that can damage your photos. Vendors such as Kolo and Archival Methods have a wide variety of storage solutions for printed photos, slides and negatives. However, do not store you photos with other old papers such as news clippings and documents as these kinds of papers may also release harmful chemicals that will harm your pictures.

Preserving Your Family's Historic Photographs

Treat Them With Care

How you handle your pictures is also important. Be sure that your work area is clean and dry. Wash your hands before dealing with photos and wear 100% cotton gloves to keep oils from your hands from getting on the pictures. Do not use paperclips, rubber bands or other fasteners on your photos. Be sure to keep food and drink well away from your pictures.

Preserving Your Family's Historic Photographs

Back Up Your Pictures

No one wants to think about a natural disaster like a tornado or a man-made disaster such as an overflowing water heater destroying their precious family photos, but it happens. The best way you can guarantee that your family’s pictures last for a long time is to digitize them through scanning.

You can hire someone to scan your photos or you can undertake the project yourself. If you decide to scan your pictures yourself, it pays to invest in a good photo scanner, not just the scanner on your 4-in-1 printer. A quality flat-bed scanner like the Epson V550 is a good starter scanner that will also you to digitize printed photos, slides and negatives. The Flip-Pal is a great small, portable scanner that works well for scanning loose photos as well as those still in albums. If your photos or albums are fragile, you can digitize them by taking a high quality digital photo.

Once you digitize your photos it is critical that you backup your digital files. The 3-2-1 backup method is a great baseline and means having 3 backup copies of all important digital files in at least 2 formats (external hard drive and cloud or cloud and archival CDs) with at least one copy offsite (not located at your home).

If organizing and preserving your family’s photographs seems too overwhelming or time consuming for you, contact a Personal Photo Organizer. Find one near you through the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.

 This post contains affiliate links which means the author may receive a small amount of compensation if you make a purchase. This does not affect your cost is any way.


 About Andi Willis

Andi-Willis-gold-background_400x600

Andi Willis is a Professional Organizer, Certified Personal Photo Organizer, author and video host. Passionate about helping people organize their homes and preserve their precious photos, Andi can be found at Good Life Organizing, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and on Amazon.

 


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Tuesday’s Genealogy Tip – An Overlooked Source of Family Histories

Tuesday's Genealogy Tip  - An Overlooked Source of Family Histories

How many of you search for family history books about your family/genealogy on Amazon or google books?  Are you successful?

You may be missing an often overlooked source of family history books: local genealogical and historical societies.

These local societies often self publish books pertaining to local history and families. For example, the Halifax  County Historical Society has Yesterday- Gone Forever by Faye Tuck on their website.  A fabulous book that contains information about many families of Halifax County, VA.  This book is not found on Amazon.

So…..if you are looking for information on your family or specific to your ancestors’ county/location, be sure to check out the local historical and genealogical societies!


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Sign up for the newsletter. You will also receive a FREE ebook 10 Places to Find Your Ancestors’ Photographs.

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Save Family Photos! by Rachel LaCour Niesen

I am so excited to have Rachel LaCour Niesen of Save Family Photos as guest poster today! Welcome, Rachel!  Rachel is on a mission to save family stories, one photo at a time. Once you learn more about Rachel and her website SaveFamilyPhotos, you will be motivated to save your own family stories through your photos, too!

 Our family photos convey chapters of our family history – from milestones like weddings to everyday moments like our children’s first steps

Why Save Family Photos? How did you get started? Was there one photograph that started it all?   As a former photojournalist, I value storytelling and curation. All great photographs tell stories and careful curation helps convey those stories. After years pursuing a career in professional photography, I emerged as both a trained storyteller and experienced curator. And that’s why I believe photos play a vital role in preserving family history. Our family photos convey chapters of our family history – from milestones like weddings to everyday moments like our children’s first steps. There are countless, priceless photographs hidden in attics and basements all over the world. I think those photographs are artifacts and passports to a place called memory. We must rally around those photographs and make a concerted effort to rescue them from deterioration, theft, natural disaster and loss. Those photos are in danger; as a result, so is family history. My mission reflects my training in photojournalism and my passion for curation. My goal is simply to grow a community that’s passionate about saving and share family stories, one photo at time.   Continue reading