in 52 Weeks
High School Yearbooks
Have you looked at old high school yearbooks? Not just your own, but your parents or even grandparents. A few years ago I discovered the yearbooks from my grandmother’s high school had been digitized and put online.  It had not occurred to me that yearbooks were even published when she graduated in 1913. What I found particularly interesting, is the book is more of a literary publication compared to today’s year books full of photographs. These older yearbooks feature short stories, poetry, art, humor and even short plays all authored by the students. And, there are photos, too.
Tipton High School, 1908 Tiptonian
My grandfather, Earl LaFara 1888-1928, was in the graduating class of 1908 from Tipton (IN) High School. The yearbook of Tipton High School is called the Tiptonian. The Tipton County (IN) public library has digitized and posted online over 80 editions of the Tiptonian.  They cover the years 1898 to 1979. From the 1908 Tiptonian I learned a new high school had been built in Tipton and the class of 1908 was the last to graduate from the original county school building.  The first high school class had graduated in 1876. My grandfather’s class in May 1908 had 22 graduates. I also discovered the class Motto, Colors, Flower and Yell. The last item ends with the line, “We’ll take our Diplomas and Skidoo!”
The 1907 Tiptonian was a larger publication than 1908 with more content, both literary and photography. My grandfather was on the 1907 Tiptonian staff when he was a junior year student.  From this edition I learned that my grandfather participated in the Junior Frolic (a sort of satire play) as a clown. And he wrote an essay for the yearbook titled “The Reconciliation of Our Fathers”. Basically he proposed that the opposing views of Hamilton and Jefferson about government had reconciled themselves to our current form of a centralized democracy. Pretty heady stuff for a high school junior.
Tipton (IN) HS – Tiptonian Yearbook Staff picture
Flossie Kemp, Noble Coryell, Earl LaFara (left, 2nd row), Esther Lewis, Ora Bates, Edna Doversberger, Ben Boughman, Byron Tranberger, Alta Mount, Junita Tresidder, Sam Bolden, and George McCarty.
Shortridge High School, 1913 Annual
My grandmother, Pearl Osborne 1893-1972, was in the graduating class of 1913 from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis. The Shortridge yearbook is simply called “Annual.” An interesting item in the 1913 Annual is statistics about the graduating class. For instance, of the 260 members of the senior class two-thirds were girls. The stats also include the fact the average weight of the girls was 153.7 pounds, and the boys 137.4 pounds. However, the grade point average of the girls was 76.3 but the boys were 87.6. The statistics close out with the average age of the girls being 19 years old and the boys being 17 years, 7 months.  I wonder how these statistics compare to senior classes today.
My grandmother’s class portrait appears to be an illustration print rather than a photograph. My grandmother’s brother Lou Osborne worked as a photographer and engraver, and I wonder if he produced the engraving for her portrait from a photograph he had taken. 
Also in the 1913 Annual is a poem, with illustrations, written by my grandmother. I think it sums her up rather well. The facing page to the poem has a quote attributed to satirist Alexander Pope. I’ve looked it up and it is from line 55 of “Epilogue to the Satires,”
“Laugh at your friends, and if your friends are sore, so much the better, you may laugh the more.”
High school yearbooks can be a wealth of information about our ancestors, their friends and neighbors, local events and the times in which they lived. Plus, some photographs. Look for your ancestors’ high school yearbooks online through local libraries.  Also, search for yearbooks on one of my favorite online sources for copyright free books, the Internet Archive. (Archive.org) If you have an Ancestry subscription, you may find your ancestor’s yearbooks there as well.
My father graduated from Howe High School in Indianapolis in 1943. Here I have placed his senior yearbook photo from the 1943 Hilltopper annual between that of his parents.
I previously wrote about my grandparents, Earl and Pearl, for last year’s Week 4 prompt “Close to Home” 
- Collection, Shortridge High School Yearbooks Collection; The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library; access online: https://www.digitalindy.org/digital/collection/shs
- Collection, Tipton County (IN) Public Library, Tiptonian Yearbook Archives; access online:
- Book, Tipton High School yearbook, 1908 “Tiptonian”, Pub: Tipton High School, digitized by the Tipton County Library, access online: http://www.tiptonpl.lib.in.us/yearbooks/1908tiptonian.pdf
- Book, Tipton High School yearbook, 1907 “Tiptonian”, Pub: Tipton High School, digitized by the Tipton County Library, access online: http://www.tiptonpl.lib.in.us/yearbooks/1907tiptonian.pdf
- Book, Shortridge High School yearbook 1913 “Annual”, Pub: Shortridge High School, 1913, digitized by The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Collection: Shortridge High School; access online: https://www.digitalindy.org/digital/collection/shs/id/2038
- Profile of Louis Wilbur Osborne, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/-60123993/facts
- Collection, Yearbooks Archive; The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library; access online: https://www.digitalindy.org/digital/custom/home-yearbooks
- Blog post, Family Finds: Close to Home; https://barblafara.com/close-to-home/
Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.
While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.
Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.
A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.
I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.