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Yearbooks and How They Can Be Used

Part of Newton Free Library’s Collection of Yearbooks

Most of us are familiar with high school yearbooks. We probably have at least one from our own senior year. They may be filled with signed comments from our fellow graduates, some funny, some not so much. … Going through them brings back all sorts of memories and can spark stories. You may have tucked graduation programs and other loose mementos into it that were important to you. Collections of high school yearbooks in public libraries are potent resources that are used often and for various purposes. They can be consulted by reporters for news stories, checked by people writing biographies, searched by people looking for pictures of their parents or grandparents or for birth parents whom they have never seen.

One Special Yearbook

The yearbook with its acid-free archival case.

What is it that sparks my current focus on yearbooks? A local high school is making available to our library whatever yearbooks we need or would like to add to our collections.  A member of our reference staff, Kim Hewitt, is working with materials in our Special Collections room. In this capacity she visited the high school library to take a look at what it has. When Kim checked a copy of one 1937 Newtonian yearbook for loose ephemera, she discovered something extraordinary. Someone had kept clippings about the graduates, especially those who served in World War II. On almost every page there were tipped-in newspaper articles about graduates pictured on that page, usually stories about their military service. Some described their current activities overseas. Some were death notices. The articles span events and battles over a number of years. Personal milestones, such as marriages, are the subject of other clippings. In short, it is a genealogist’s gold mine of information.

If something has been “tipped in,” it means you can lift the material and see what’s underneath.

This yearbook has now become a part of Newton’s Special Collections. If you have a relative who graduated from Newton High School in 1937, it’s worth a look. If you are interested, its catalog title is Newton High School Class of 1937 and World War II.” The call number is N 373.34 N38M.  Clicking on the preceding title will take you directly to its entry in our online catalog.  It does not circulate and must be used within the library.

Compact Shelving with one opening. If you want to get into the first bay on the far left, all the other bays have to be moved forward.

A Note about Compact Shelving and Viewing Material from Newton’s Special Collections

Since the 1937 yearbook mentioned above is so unique and also fragile, it will be kept in what is known as compact shelving, not on the open Special Collection shelving.   Using compact shelving saves a great deal of space but requires the movement of heavy shelving electronically. Newton’s compact shelving is run by machinery that is old and can be somewhat cranky.  It needs two people to open it to retrieve material kept there. If you are thinking of coming in to look at this item, or other collections from compact shelving, it would help if you let us know in advance. If we know when you are coming, we can pull material for you ahead of time.

Actually it’s always a good idea to plan ahead with any library you are visiting. Check in advance for any special restrictions or rules for viewing or copying fragile or unique material. What are the library’s hours? Do they change depending on the season? Will the library be closed due to construction or maintenance during the period you are planning on coming? Are all its collections on site or does it need time to retrieve them from offsite storage? Whenever you request an item from a library, having its name and call number will speed up the process. Any library should allow you to search its online catalog, no matter where you live.

You and Your Own Family’s Yearbooks

Do you know if your family members, especially aunts, uncles, and grandparents, have yearbooks they would be willing to show to you? They might even share memories of their high school years and their friends.  Don’t forget that many local libraries actively collect and also accept gifts of high school yearbooks. Each one that has been owned by a graduate has unique inscriptions by classmates and some may have the owner’s own notations. Public libraries located near where your relatives or ancestors lived may have their own such treasure troves from their local schools.  Some may even have been given to them by your relatives or their friends. It’s worth checking. While you’re at it, don’t forget to look in your own attic, basement, or bookcase. Do you have your parents’ or grandparents’ yearbooks?  You might want to take a closer look at them. You never know when you’ll strike unexpected gold. And if you find them in the basement or attic, you might want to move them to a bookcase on your main floor. They’ll last longer.

Good luck with your quest, wherever it takes you.

vea/13 June 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

1917 "Somewhere in France" 1918 Diorama at Newton City Hall, Newton, Massachusetts

1917 “Somewhere in France” 1918, from the Diorama at The War Memorial, Newton City Hall, Newton, Massachusetts

 

The following links are offered to help you find more information on the war that changed the world.

National Archives (United States)
World War I Centennial: Remembering the Great War

New England Historic Genealogical Society
American Ancestors
World War I and World War II U.S. Veteran Research
Study Guide by David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist

Massachusetts in the World War: A Bibliography
Prepared by James T. Controvich
March 28, 2017
Massachusetts World War I Centennial Commission

Boston at War:  Massachusetts in World War I Stories
By Anatole Sykley
Massachusetts World War I Centennial Commission

World War I: The Great War
Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Web

(Re)Discovering the Great War
by Simon Chaplin and Jeffrey S. Reznick
Posted by Circulating Now from the U.S. National Library of Medicine

The United States World War I Centennial Commission
Why the Great War Matters
World War I Genealogical Resources
 
National World War I Museum and Memorial
Kansas City, Missouri

 

vea/6 April 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

| 4 Comments

Gun squad at drill
In remembrance of the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, and to commemorate Confederate History Month, Fold3 is offering free access to our Civil War Collection from April 1st–15th.

Popular titles in our Civil War Collection include:

Not sure if you have Civil War ancestors? Use these questions to help identify ancestors who may have served:

  • Were any of my male ancestors born between 1820 and 1845? (Men who served during the Civil War may have been born outside these dates, but many fell within these years.)
  • Do I have any family memorabilia or artifacts (such as letters, weapons, medals, or photos) that hint at possible Civil War service? What about their tombstone? Does it have any insignia or other military symbols on it?
  • Do any of the records or documents (such as obituaries) I’ve already found for an individual mention Civil War service?
  • Have I checked the 1910 Census entry for my ancestor? (Column 30 of the census identified if an individual was “a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy.”)

Can’t find your Civil War ancestor on Fold3? You can still use Fold3 to learn about what your ancestor’s military service may have been like. Here are a few ideas, though the possible uses of the Civil War Collection are endless!

  • Use the Brady and Civil War photo collections, as well as the Civil War Horse Soldier Artifacts Collection, to learn what life was like for soldiers during the war, including what uniforms and firearms were common, what military camps and headquarters were like, what battlefields and forts looked like, etc.
  • Look through the Service Records and “Widows’ Pensions” of men who were in the same company, regiment, etc., as your ancestor to learn more about what battles he may have been involved in and the movements of his unit.
  • If you have Confederate ancestors, explore the Confederate Casualty Reports for your ancestor’s unit to learn about casualty rates and even read narrative reports of actions your ancestor may have been involved in.

Start searching or browsing the Civil War Collection on Fold3. Or learn more about how to find your Civil War ancestors by watching a helpful course or tutorial on Ancestry Academy!

Written by Trevor at Fold3
Posted by vea/3 April 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

The following is from Susan Laura Lugo, Territorial Archivist, DPNR/Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, U.S. Virgin Islands.
I am very pleased to announce the March 1, 2017, official launch of the searchable Web site by the Danish National Archives in commemoration of the March 31, 2017, Centennial observance of Transfer Day, the day on which the Danish West Indies were transferred to the United States of America as the Territory of the Virgin Islands of the United States.

All researchers everywhere now have free, online access to over 5 million scanned images (over 8.5 million pages) of original documents, maps and drawings from the records of the Danish West Indies held by the Danish National Archives.
  • Click on “Search the Records” at https://www.virgin-islands-history.org/en/ and a search screen will display.
  • Scroll down on the landing page to make use of the excellent search tips and guides provided before entering your search terms.
  • The Danish National Archives’ Web site, search guides and finding aids will also be linked this month from the Facebook page for the “VI Public Libraries DPNR” and from the Territorial Archives web page on www.virginislandspubliclibraries.org/archives.asp .
The Territorial Archives within the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources of the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States expresses its sincere thanks and gratitude to the Danish National Archives, the Danish Ministry of Culture, and A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation for General Purposes for supporting and carrying out this important digitization project to restore to the people of the Virgin Islands their Danish West Indian history and cultural heritage. 
When I emailed her for permission to post this on my blog, she also added the following information:
NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States] has about 4.0 million pages (2,313 cf) of material in RG55 from the Danish West Indian era (see the finding aid at: http://www.virgin-islands-history.dk/nara/danmark1.pdf), and we still have some DWI records in the Territory (about 1,000 lf).  Our hope is to provide access to ALL the records held across the US/DK/VI so that our history may be unified for the first time in over 100 years.
Note on picture: It is from the Record Series Copybooks of Letters Sent to the King in the Danish West Indies Collection mentioned above.
Written by Susan Laura Lugo, Archivist
Posted by vea/1o March 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

whodoyouthinkyouarelogo

The season premieres this Sunday, March 5th at 10/9c on TLC.

TLC/Ancestry have announced the following list of people who are covered this season and hint at what they discover.

The show follows the emotional journey as they trace their lineage and find answers to long-standing questions.

  • Jessica Biel makes two shocking discoveries that shake everything she knows about her heritage to the core.

  • Julie Bowen uncovers the story of two relatives whose moral codes are from opposite ends of the spectrum.

  • Courteney Cox traces her maternal line back seven centuries to the Medieval times to discover royalty in her lineage and an unbelievable tale of family drama.

  • Jennifer Grey uncovers new information about the grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community.

  • Smokey Robinson searches for answers behind the mystery of why his grandfather disappeared from his children’s lives and finds a man tangled in a swirl of controversy.

  • John Stamos digs into the mystery of how his grandfather became an orphan, and learns of tensions between families that led to a horrible crime.

  • Liv Tyler learns that her family is tied into the complicated racial narrative of America.

  • Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his maternal line, uncovering an ancestor who survived one of America’s bloodiest battles. via TLC

    Written by Ancestry/TLC
    Posted by vea/3 March 2017
    Newton Free Library
    Newton, Mass
    Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
    Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
    Genealogy LibGuide:  
    http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

I just saw the following posted on the FamilySearch site and am passing it along. “FamilySearch will be unavailable during a maintenance upgrade starting Monday, February 27th at 12:00 am MST (7:00 am UTC) and lasting about 4 hours. Thank you for your patience as we make these changes.”

Written by FamilySearch
Posted by vea/25 February 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

Ancestry
COMING SOON – FREE ACCESS* TO UK RECORDS FEB 17‑20
Discover your British roots without paying a shilling.
This weekend only, we’re giving you free access to more than 1 billion UK records—so mark your calendars and get ready to uncover some amazing family gems.
Free Access to UK Records
*Access to the records in the featured collections will be free from February 17, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET to February 20, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an Ancestry World Explorer or All Access paid membership. To see a full list of the records in the featured collections, please click here.

I received this in my email and am passing this along in case anyone following this blog wants to check it out.

Written by Ancestry
Posted by vea/15 February 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

 

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