PROVO, UTAH - August 27, 2010 - Ancestry.com today launched millions of records that now make up the largest searchable collection of yearbooks available online. Along with Ancestry.com's existing collections, there are now more than 60 million yearbook records available in the site's U.S. School Yearbook collection, which also includes class and candid photos of famous celebrities.
The 10,000 yearbooks included in the new U.S. School Yearbook collection feature yearbooks from high schools, junior highs, academies, colleges, and universities-military, public, parochial, and private-from almost every state in the United States spanning 1875-1988.
"The new U.S. School Yearbook collection just made starting your family history even easier by adding an entirely new dimension to your research," said Christopher Tracy, Senior Vice President of Global Content at Ancestry.com. "Yearbooks contain graduation and candid photos, which add insight into an ancestor's extracurricular activities in school. Along with our ever-expanding database of billions of other historical records, the U.S. School Yearbook collection will help people discover the deeper details about their ancestors that they would not have otherwise been able to find."
What can be found in an old yearbook? Perhaps you will find a photo of your great grandfather or even a famous classmate. Like Ancestry.com that discovered the Academy Award-winner, Sandra Bullock, at her high school homecoming dance was already fighting off men - or in this case a young man - trying to steal a kiss on the dance floor, or a teenage Will Smith tackling science class before he ventured off to be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Below are more details on the new celebrity photos found in the U.S. School Yearbook collection. In addition to their official yearbook photos, many of today's biggest stars were captured in their school activities exhibiting the dynamism that later brought them to fame and fortune.
Sandra Bullock - "To be a varsity cheerleader, the girls had to sacrifice a lot of time, money and energy," appeared in the 1982 Washington-Lee High School yearbook story on the Arlington, Virginia Varsity Cheerleaders, which included Academy Award-winner Sandra Bullock. Bullock had no shortage of energy since Ancestry.com also discovered her high school photos from the Thespian Honor Society and the German Honor Society. Of course she still had time to attend the Homecoming Dance where her dancing partner was captured trying to steal a kiss.
Betty White - The Emmy Award-winning actress is experiencing a career comeback after a Facebook campaign landed her a gig as the most popular guest host on this past season of "Saturday Night Live". Along with her newly discovered popularity, White's fans can now share her newly discovered high school photo from Beverly Hills High School in 1936.
Will Smith - The Overbrook High School yearbook photo of top international box-office star and Academy Award nominee, Will Smith, shows he was once a high school student perplexed by science, in 1986 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before he was a 'man in black.'
Alec Baldwin - Alexander Baldwin was no high school activity slouch at Alfred G. Berner High School in Massapequa, New York. In 1976, he served as Class President, and was a member of the youth council, drama club, the student activities council, the lacrosse and football teams.
Brad Pitt - Academy Award-nominee and Angelina Jolie's significant other exercised his creativity in high school as a member of the 1981-82 Kickapoo High School Student Council in Springfield, Missouri. This newly discovered photo finds Pitt creating the decorations for the school's "Chief Ceremonial."
Nicolas Cage - A very young Nicolas Coppola is pictured in his Beverly Hills High School 1979 yearbook official picture looking quite serious hiding any glimpse to the versatile star's great sense of humor.
Jay Leno - The "Tonight Show" host was recognized early on by his classmates who named him the "funniest" in this candid photo of Leno in his Loyola Academy (Andover, Massachusetts) 1966 yearbook. Also noted next to his class yearbook photo, Leno listed his possible future career as "retired millionaire."
Matt Lauer - The popular "Today" show anchor revealed his secret to success as a broadcast journalist, who often has to ask tough questions, in the quote he selected by English writer William Hazlitt that ran under his official 1975 Greenwich High School (Connecticut) yearbook photo, "He will never make true friends who is afraid of making enemies."
The entire yearbook collection will be available on Ancestry.com to existing members or through a 14-day free trial for new members.
For anyone interested in discovering their ancestors in the yearbook collection, visit www.ancestry.com/yearbook to search the full collection of 60 million records.
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 18 million family trees containing over 1.8 billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at www.ancestry.com.
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