Wednesday, October 3, 2007

PERSI has been Updated

Our colleague Susi passed this information from Curt Witcher at the Allen County (IN) Public Library, which was published in the latest Genealogy Gems newsletter:

"This past Thursday, the 2007 edition of the "Periodical Source Index" (or PERSI as it is often called) was loaded on the web site. This latest edition of PERSI brings the total number of periodical titles indexed to 6,652 and the total number of article citations to 2,038,494!

"PERSI is the largest and most comprehensive subject index to genealogy and local history periodicals published in North America and the British Isles.

"It really should be a must-check source for every family line and geographic location one is researching. If you've never used PERSI or don't believe you're getting the full benefit from the index, sign up for the "Using PERSI" program on Tuesday, October 22nd from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Main Library's Computer Classroom by calling (260)421-1225."


PERSI is described here. It is wonderful for what it does, and the Allen County (IN) Public Library (ACPL) offers a copying service for any article that a researcher wants to obtain - the order form is here.

It is very likely that key information that might solve many brick wall research problems is hiding in articles in genealogy periodicals and newsletters. Almost every state and many counties have regular genealogy publications, and local researchers have transcribed or abstracted millions of records and names.

There are also books and CDROMs that contain the PERSI index which can be found in libraries, but they are often dated. Online at HQO, you can search by surname, locality and keyword. However, the search is only on certain words in the title, author, locality or keyword list.

The problem with using PERSI effectively is that there is no "every-name" index such as there is on many genealogy web sites. The reason is obvious - the ACPL does not have digital archives for all of these periodicals, and if they did there would be substantial copyright issues with authors and publishers. I guess I've been spoiled in the last few years.

Here in the San Diego area, the Carlsbad Cole Library provides FREE home access to HeritageQuestOnline (HQO) to library members with a valid library card number. The card is free, but you have to visit the library.

Unfortunately, the last issue of Genealogy Gems at the newsletter archives page is March 2007. I'm sure that they will add the missing issues soon.

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