Yearbooks are published to commemorate a single academic year; they include information on students, faculty, and events. They can help you locate an individual or for genealogical researchers they can help you pin down an individual to a particular time and place.
Valuable in identifying an ancestor's friends, teachers, and possibly even other family members, yearbooks can include information on your ancestor’s activities, club memberships, leadership positions, sports interests, hobbies, school awards, opinions, and sometimes future expectations. Such details can be new and exciting to discover. The information can yield important clues. Researchers can find out an ancestor’s town, middle name, or even their maiden IF the ancestor in question is a woman. Despite being considered a non-traditional source, yearbooks can lead to valuable information that helps researchers document an ancestor’s major life events.
For the African American researcher yearbooks are an incredible resource. IF you are lucky enough to find an Academic Yearbook with your ancestor in it you will definitely walk away with at least one photo of them. A good start for the African American researcher would be to call to your closest Historically Black College or University. These Yearbooks will provide you with names and pictures of students and staff from the Janitor to the President of the University.