TRAVERSE CITY — If a stack of Traverse City area high school yearbooks is gathering dust in your closet, the History Center of Traverse City would like to take them off your hands -- or at least borrow them.
In conjunction with Ancestry.com, the History Center is hoping to amass at least 100 local yearbooks to be included in the genealogy website's database.
"If we can get 100 or more distinct yearbooks, they will pay to have them shipped there and back and scan them to be put online," said the History Center's archivist, Peg Siciliano.
The History Center's current collection includes Traverse City High School editions from as early as 1900 through Central High School's editions from the mid-1970s.
"We have 60 to 70 yearbooks but want to add St. Francis, West and Traverse City Christian High School to the collection," she said.
Virginia LeClaire, president of the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society, says having a database of yearbooks would be a gold mine for area researchers.
"You can find out so much about your ancestor, what their interests were, if they played sports and the added bonus of a picture," said LeClaire, who is familiar with the History Center's collection.
One book she found particularly interesting contains the names of all previous graduates from the school and their current address.
"A genealogist starts having palpitations when they come across something this big," she said.
Siciliano said the History Center will gladly accept donations to its yearbook collection, but would also return any requested books after they have been scanned.
For more information, or to schedule a time to bring in yearbooks to the History Center, call Siciliano at 929-7663.
Do you have one?
The History Center of Traverse City is seeking:
Yearbooks from any year at Traverse City West Senior High School, St. Francis High School, Traverse City Christian School or other local senior, junior or middle schools.
Yearbooks from Traverse City High School/Central High School for the following years:
• Any year before 1900