That’s My Yearbook

“See if you can find your photo in Ancestry’s updated yearbook collection,” they said. “It will be fun,” they said.

Every day as August began to wind down, there was someone on my Facebook timeline who was sharing their school photo as found in Ancestry’s U.S. School Yearbooks, 1900–1999 database. I resisted for a number of days. But let’s face it, as a genealogist, I couldn’t resist the search for too long!

So, on August 29, I finally gave in and did a search for my name. My maiden name was mangled all through my school years, so I put in my first name and then the beginning of my last name with a wildcard. It was a good thing I did, because sure enough my last name was wrong on Ancestry. Not surprising mine was the only entry that appeared in the search—and it was just for my sophomore year.

A familiar face stared back at me from the entry and I went to view the full image in the yearbook. As I zoomed into the photo on the yearbook page, I noticed that there had been a “correction” written above my surname. More intriguing, the handwriting looked quite familiar.

Could this actually be my yearbook?

I went to the front of the volume and sure enough in the upper left corner of the inside of the cover I found: Rhonda Standerfer 5/17/79 Sophomore year. Clearly, I wasn’t a genealogist yet, based on the way I wrote the date, but hey, I was only 15 years old.

Seeing the inside front cover with its RESERVED sign brought back so many memories. That was my first year in Florida and I knew I was going to be returning to New Hampshire for the summer, and I wanted my friends back in Goffstown to use the front and back cover spaces.

So how did Ancestry get my yearbook?

I honestly don’t know. When I moved from Florida to Boston, I had to put many things in storage. And unfortunately, much of the stored items never made it to Boston (long story). What was even more amazing about finding this on Ancestry was that as others had been sharing their photos, I had been thinking about the loss of the written messages in my yearbooks.

When I posted my photo find on Facebook, I did get a giggle over also sharing that I had found my actual yearbook. And though my name doesn’t come up more than once, Ancestry actually has at least four of my yearbooks online.

Rhonda McClure

About Rhonda McClure

Rhonda R. McClure, Genealogist, is a nationally recognized professional genealogist and lecturer specializing in New England and celebrity research as well as computerized genealogy; is compiler of more than 120 celebrity family trees; has been a contributing editor for Heritage Quest Magazine, Biography magazine and was a contributor to The History Channel Magazine and American History Magazine. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of ten books, including the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition, Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors, and Digitizing Your Family History.View all posts by Rhonda McClure