The Genealogy Sojourner: High School Yearbooks

Three photos, clockwise from top left: Cover of San Jose High School's 1949 Yearbook, titled The Bell. Activities page of the 1949 yearbook with shots of the Girls' League and Boys' League, including notable alumni Norman Mineta. Shelf of yearbooks available in MLK Library's California Room.
Images, clockwise from top left: Cover of San Jose High School's 1949 Yearbook, titled The Bell. Activities page of the 1949 yearbook with shots of the Girls' League and Boys' League, including notable alumni Norman Mineta. Shelf of yearbooks available in King Library's California Room.

It's That Time Of Year Again

Summer has ended and with it, brings the start of another school year. With all the hustle and bustle, one can't forget a yearly tradition that students seem to either love or hate: the annual yearbook photo.

The yearbook photo is a time-honored tradition that can be good for a laugh or a shudder, depending upon one's humor, regarding how the styles and trends have changed over the years. I was able to find my parents and a host of other friends and relatives from all over the country utilizing MyHeritage Library Edition (available for free with your library card).

Where to Begin

Review your primary sources first. If you are not looking for yourself, but you're looking for someone you know; this might mean asking the person you want to look up to give you a year, school name, and location of where they went to school.

If it's a notable alumni, you might want to look up biographical information about that person. That could mean doing a quick search engine search or delving a little more deeply into a biography or taking advantage of San Jose Public Library's online resources for history, biography, and genealogy.

If none of that works, take an educated guess. You'll never know what you may find or who else you may come across.

Beyond MyHeritage

If you can't find your person in a yearbook via MyHeritage, there are additional resources you can use:

  1. Genealogy Websites: There are a host of sites available to aid in your research. Here are three to check out:
  2. Additional Advice: I found that these articles provided some additional insight:
  3. In The Marketplace: When a digital copy just won't do, check out these resources for buying hard copies:

Library Resources

In addition to MyHeritage Library Edition, San José Public Library has some local yearbooks available in the California Room and a host of other resources to help you continue your own investigation and share the results with family and friends.

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