Maiden Name Searches in U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2013  

Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) includes a large collection of digitized and indexed yearbooks from across the country. Middle school, junior high, high school, and college yearbooks are included.

Locating an ancestor in a yearbook can provide info about their academic and athletic pursuits and club memberships. One or more photos of that ancestor may also be provided. It’s also quite possible that a younger/older sibling was attending that institution at the same time.

When using this record collection, you can search using any of the following delimiters:

·         First & Middle Name(s)
·         Last Name
·         Birth Year
·         Lived In
·         Any Event
·         Keyword
·         Yearbook Title

It’s relatively easy to search for a man in the yearbooks: last name almost always stays the same throughout his life. For a woman, however, a search can be much more complicated. While in school, her last name would normally be her maiden name, not her (one or more) married names. Searching can still be relatively easy, if you know her maiden name—but what if you don’t?

You can do a search in this record collection without specifying a Last Name. Such a search is unlikely to be successful if the lady in question has a very common first name, like Mary or Elizabeth. If the first name is less common, however (maybe Matilda or Clara), then a first name search has a chance of success. Knowing her middle name/initial increases the likelihood of a successful search.

Let’s say that you’re searching for a woman whose married name was Clara E. Barker. You know that she was born in 1925, which means that she was most likely in high school between 1939 and 1943. She grew up in St. Louis County, played a musical instrument, and sang in the chorus. Given this info, you can do this yearbook search:

·         First & Middle Name(s) clara e.
·         Last Name
·         Birth Year [+- 1 year] 1925
·         Lived In [Exact to this place] Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
·         Any Event [+-2 years] 1941
·         Keyword
·         Yearbook Title

Lo and behold, we get a very promising first result:

·         Clara E. Dawidiak   1941   Normandy High School   Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Had you known the name of her high school, that info could have been entered in Keyword.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or our branches.

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