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Class Reunions

tips, ideas and advice- Yearbooks


Where is that yearbook?

Dee Shanholtz wrote, "I lost my high school Class of 1976 yearbook. Do you have any idea where I might find a replacement?"

Check your library, call the school. Find out who the publisher is and contact them directly.

Paula Sheagley found that photographers in her area purchase several copies of each yearbook. Her former reunion planning company once bought a huge selection of yearbooks from a photographer who was retiring. He told them he bought copies of the yearbook because he did so many of the Senior pictures. Many high schools have multiple "extra" copies of yearbooks in their yearbook departments and they often donated them to give away at reunion.


Looking for an old yearbook?

So are lots of others. This is from a Dear Abby “discussion” recently in response to someone looking for an old high school annual/yearbook. Given the response, this is clearly something that interests lots of people. These are some suggestions for places to find old yearbooks. Put an ad in the paper where the high school is/was located. Old yearbooks can be found on eBay where there is a large selection under the “yearbook” category, also under “annuals.” Contact the local library. Old annuals are occasionally donated and sold at book sales by Friends of the Library. Staff will alert whoever sorts donations to keep an eye out. Other places to look are historical societies, antique/collectibles stores, Craigslist and alumni associations.

These are even more resources to search. Ancestry collects yearbooks for references. Send donations to Ancestry Yearbook Donations, 4800 North 360 West, Provo UT 84604.

Another websites that collects yearbooks, or gathers information on where to find them are

Do you hold someone's missing link?

Information in old yearbooks might be someone else's genealogical link to finding a grandparent, aunt, uncle or lost friend. If you dusted off old yearbooks to look up school friends and acquaintances, how about transcribing genealogical data to help create a database for RootsWeb User-contributed databases? Your data will be made searchable where others can easily find it.

Type data into whatever word-processing program you normally use (Word, Word Perfect, Works, even Windows Wordpad). Do it in consistent, labeled fields. See guidelines, tutorial, and examples of data formats for user-contributed data at can be as simple as listing the school, year, country, county/town/city, state or region, last name (surname) and first (given) name and any other pertinent information about each individual.

Submit your database(s) to

Found in RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Weekly E-zine, Vol. 7, No. 34.

After life of a yearbook

The yearbook was an important part of high school and continues to hold important places in our hearts and lives long after their origin.

Before reunions, it’s not only fun, but very practical to peruse yearbooks to jog memories and be reminded of faces and names long forgotten. You’ll feel significantly confident at your reunion if you’ve studied the yearbook ahead of time. Actually it’s a lot more fun, if you get together with classmates and review the books before the reunion.

Many classes use your graduation pictures on name tags that may generate memories at placing the young face right next to your present countenance.

At reunions, displaying yearbooks is an opportunity for classmates to start conversations generated from reminders in the books. Some reunions make and present a slide show from old photos in yearbooks.

Jordan’s yearbook project greatly appreciated

State Rep. Stan Jordan grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from Andrew Jackson High in 1955. Jordan has almost every Jackson yearbook from 1928 to 1960. He takes time each day to look at obituaries in the Florida Times-Union. If there is someone who graduated from Jackson, Jordan looks through the yearbooks, finds that person’s senior picture, makes colored copies of the page and sends it with a letter to the family.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be neat to get that person’s yearbook picture from when they were 17 or 18 years old, write a letter to the family and deliver it to the funeral home?” said Jordan. “Families really appreciate it.”

The letter, printed on Jordan’s letterhead, expresses his condolences and tells the family that he too graduated from Jackson. If there was information in the yearbook about the person, Jordan writes about that in the letter. He encloses a copy of the cover of the yearbook, the page their senior picture is on and any pages their picture is on, if they were in clubs.

Jordan said he has enjoyed looking through yearbooks, as they bring back memories for him as well. He writes about four or five of these letters a month and in the last 18 months he has written 80.

From a story by Caroline Gabsewics in the Jacksonville Daily Record, Jacksonville, Florida.

Yearbooks in data 2006 Reunion Poll findings among attendees include:

  • 75% want to reconnect with an old friend

  • 32% will flip through yearbooks before the reunion

West reunion

At the 75th anniversary celebration of West High School in Madison, Wisconsin, an anniversary quilt displaying a collage of yearbook covers was presented and a video entitled “Generations of Excellence” shows alumni how West High has evolved over the years.

From a story by Cristina Daglas in The Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin.

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