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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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DSC06538Are you related to the Metcalf family? Be sure to join us for the second in the series of special family research days at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum on February 4, from 1:00 – 4.00pm, when we focus on holdings that relate to the Metcalf family.

Members of the Metcalf family were involved in the beginning of the Town of Dedham in 1636.  Featured research materials available for review include archival and genealogical records such as histories, wills, deeds, and other Metcalf manuscripts.  Also included are documents that have recently been added to the Metcalf family archival collection.  This program is by appointment only. Please contact Sandra Waxman at 781- 326-1385 or library@dedhamhistorical.org to reserve a place. This program is free for members; $5 fee for non-members.

As a special note; the historic 1652 Metcalf chair is always on view in the museum, as are a blanket chest, coat of arms, and clock, all related to the Metcalf family.

The Dedham Historical Society & Museum hours are: Office is open Tuesday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm; Museum is open Tuesday – Friday 12noon – 4:00pm, and the Archive is available by appointment on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm. The Museum and Archives are also open on even dated Saturdays from 1:00 – 4:00pm. For more information about the Dedham Historical Society & Museum please contact them at 781-326-1385 or society@dedhamhistorical.org. The DHS is located at 612 High Street, Dedham.

Announcement written by Sandra Waxman,
Librarian/Archivist
Dedham Historical Society
Posted by vea/31 January 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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Join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston for:

Two Talks on Sunday, January 8, 2017
1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, Newton

Sharon Zane

 

Sharon Zane will present The Art of Taking an Oral History

Oral histories can be a powerful tool for genealogists. This talk will present techniques of taking a good oral history: what to do and what not do, interviewing tips, how to handle sound equipment, the types of recording equipment available and how to handle them. Case studies drawn from the speaker’s own research will demonstrate how information, casual remarks, and other clues gathered in oral history interviews can lead to exciting, life-changing discoveries.

Sharon Zane has been an oral historian for 35 years. She has completed oral history projects for large corporations, non-profit organizations, and individuals. In addition, she has authored publications based on her oral history work and has served on the board of the Oral History Association for the Mid-Atlantic Region. She is an enthusiastic long-time family genealogist.

Fay Bussgang, in the Spotlight Talk, will explain “How I Put Together a Memoir and Prepared it for Publishing.

fay-bussgang

Fay will describe the mechanics of how she went about creating her new memoir and getting it ready for publication – in hopes of inspiring others to do the same with their memoirs and family histories.

Fay Bussgang is a former co-president of the JGSGB and an expert on Polish research, who previously edited and formatted two Yizkor books for JewishGen.org. Her new book is My Great Adventure: Europe 1954-55.

Temple Emanuel is located at 385 Ward St., Newton, MA.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.

All information provided by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. For more information on this organization check their website at: http://jgsgb.org.

 

vea/6 January 2017/vea
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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