Finding yourself (and others…) in yearbooks online
My brain is in “Yearbook” mode, after my previous post about the clippings I’d found in an old yearbook, and I realized that I hadn’t shared any wonderful links to sites where y’all can actually look for yearbooks!
FREE, FREE, FREE
I’m going to start out with the best site I’ve found, because it took some hunting to find one that I could actually recommend. Classmates.com, while they do offer subscription services, you can look through all of their online digitized yearbooks for free (although you will get bombarded with ads). They have a huge collection, of 250,000 yearbooks from over 200,000 schools. Sign up for a free account, or sign in using Facebook, then click the “Browse Yearbooks” button along the bottom of the page. Once you narrow down your choices to a yearbook you’d like to look at, you’ll be able to scroll through full color, full page images.
Another site that I liked, based on the fact that it is completely free and well organized, is Skalooza.com . The downside is that they don’t have a huge selection of yearbooks. But hey, if they do have the one you are looking for, that’s all that counts! You need to register and sign in, but you can either create a new (and free) account, or sign in using Facebook or G+. Easy peasy. The next page gives you the option to look through “Featured Schools”, or click on “Browse by State”. While the “Browse by State” option lists hundreds of schools broken down by every possible city, not all of them
have yearbooks available online. You will, however, be taken to an information page about that school, with its address and basic statistics. It appears that all it takes is a call from a school administrator to have their school’s yearbook included. The site looks promising, and hopefully will continue to add more yearbooks and remain free.
AccessGenealogy.com has a nice collection of yearbooks, and they are completely free to search and to view. They aren’t really easy to find however. You may simply search “Yearbook” and peruse the 227+ results, or add other keywords to your search (i.e., college, high school, Arizona) to narrow it down.
CyndisList.com has 167 links in the category of Schools > Yearbooks and Annuals.
One private, but free, website is National Yearbook Project. A list of US states runs down the left side, which, when clicked, will take you to that state’s page, listing school yearbooks available online, by county.
My second favorite is the ever-amazing Internet Archive site. Just type “yearbook” in the search bar to pull up 21,000+ results. Narrowing the search to “high school yearbook” still brings up 4,327 results. You may further winnow your search down by locale or school name.
SOME FREE, SOME SUBSCRIPTION/PAY RESULTS:
Linkpendium.com is always one of my first go-to sites, and of course they don’t disappoint this time either. You’ll need to go through their directory-style index, choosing State, then County, and then look under “School Records and Histories” for
available yearbooks listed. Some may link to pay sites, but many link to free sites as well.
Ancestry.com has a collection of 51,000 yearbooks from 1880 to 2012, scanned, indexed, and searchable online. Search for free, but, as is usually the case, you need a membership to peruse the results. One more item to remember to search when you’re at your library or Family History Center. I searched for my own name, and the only one I found was from a college that I’d almost forgotten I’d gone to for one semester (and of course didn’t buy a yearbook).
GenealogyToday has a good-sized collection of school records and yearbooks cataloged and indexed in their Subscription Database collection. Searching is free, but access to the detailed information requires a paid subscription to the site (currently a bargain at $32.9
WorldVitalRecords.com has a good-sized collection of high school and college yearbooks. You can find it in their card catalog and search to see if one you are interested in is there. WVR is owned by MyHeritage, and is yet another subscription site.
E-yearbook.com looks promising – It is a subscription site, but only $19.95/year. It is a family owned and operated company, and not yet another Ancestry offspring. Additionally, 20% of revenue generated goes back to the schools in their yearbook digitization program. Searching is free, and the search results will actually show you the full color yearbook pages, so you know what kind of information you may have available to you.
Old-Yearbooks.com is another free searchable site and although the name sounded very promising, it was no surprise to discover that searches ultimately lead back to Ancestry.com.