For some people, finding their grandfather's yearbook is a normal part of growing up. Whether on a family vacation, a summer visit, or a chance find while looking for something else in a drawer, yearbooks can be great conversation starters for genealogy.
But my grandfather died when my mother was eight years old. She barely knew him, so everything I've ever known about him has come through the older generation of my family. And since my grandparents were divorced before he died, there wasn't much of a chance for me to find a yearbook of his anywhere.
But these days, finding a yearbook isn't limited to those family visits anymore. Thanks to Ancestry.com's yearbook collection, I can see my grandfather's senior photo for the first time. I can see where he fit into the high school scene of 1960. Apparently, he was a lacrosse player. I didn't know that about him, and I don't think I'm the only one.
|Glen Burnie High School, Le Souvenir (Yearbook, Glen Burnie, Maryland, 1959), p. 115; "U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012," Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1265 : accessed 25 January 2016). [Lacrosse team photo with Moses B. Keats]|
|Glen Burnie High School, Le Souvenir (Yearbook, Glen Burnie, Maryland, 1960), p. 38; "U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012," Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1265 : accessed 25 January 2016).[Senior portrait of Moses B. Keats]|
How to Cite a Yearbook or Online Yearbook Collection
I'm glad to see I wasn't alone in facing some confusion about citing an online yearbook collection. Evidence Explained (the book) doesn't provide a specific answer to this question. But a quick look on the Evidence Explained website provided some satisfactory answers.
However, I disagree with the approach of using the standard book citation for a yearbook. As the editor points out on in response to the question, the book's approach to laying out the publication for a yearbook is insufficient. Because a yearbook is a commercially printed self-published book, it is neither useful (nor possible, in many cases) to even identify the printer/publisher of a yearbook.
A clean presentation of the school's location is the most crucial piece of information for manually searching for yearbooks in the Ancestry.com collection. But the standard book citation also left me wondering how I would provide information about a hard copy of a yearbook and an item description in square brackets at the end. To use the standard book citation leaves me with this conundrum.
Upon looking more closely at the variety of citations that could work, I chose instead to use the Diary/Journal citation, found on page 106 in the second edition. It allows me to state directly that what I'm citing is a yearbook, which would be useful if the online repository places yearbook images in a collection that isn't labeled specifically for yearbooks. The journal citation also gives me the ability to cleanly state the place information where it cannot be confused with publication or copyright information. If you were citing an actual hard copy, the Current or Last Known Owner becomes a natural place for the owner of the yearbook or repository. In this same place we find a natural transition into an online citation.