Saturday, February 5, 2011

Got Yearbooks?

The most comprehensive Southwest Michigan yearbook collection is housed at the Van Buren District Library in Decatur, currently consisting of 1,375 volumes, ranging from 1894 to 2010.  Communities are represented from the counties of Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph & Van Buren, as well as some larger colleges like Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. 

Types of yearbooks include elementary, grade & high schools, colleges (two-year, four-year & business), along with some alumni directories. 

Not all years for all schools are yet included in the collection.  Donations for missing volumes are being solicited and purchases are being made from a variety of resources including Ebay.  Yearbooks tend to have very limited publication, and as a result can be difficult to locate.

Yearbooks and annuals, loaded with photographs & biographical tidbits, are quickly becoming a popular family history research tool.  To make them even more valuable, the library is also sponsoring an indexing project whereby every-name indexes are being created by volunteers and entered into the Local History Master Index.

Do you have yearbooks from any community in Southwest Michigan that you would like to see deposited in a permanent collection?  Or, if you don't wish to give up your yearbook, would you be willing to index it to help others locate their family members?  If so, please contact the Local History department for more information.

The Southwest Michigan Yearbook Archives is a joint project of the Van Buren District Library and the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society.