A rich, exclusive collection of the world’s best family history periodicals
D. Joshua Taylor, Lead Genealogist at findmypast
What is the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)?
The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) enables you to easily locate key information about people and places. It contains over 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications, making it an invaluable, comprehensive family history resource.
PERSI provides a simple way to access articles, photos, and other material you might not find using traditional search methods. This can help to build the historical context around your personal research, and the world your ancestors lived in.
Most of PERSI’s articles are from periodicals covering the United States and Canada, but you can also find thousands of genealogy and local history entries (in both English and French) from Britain, Ireland and Australia.
Articles fall under twenty-two different subject headings, or record types. These include biography, cemeteries, census records, church records, court records, deeds, institutions, land records, maps, military records, naturalization records, obituaries, passenger lists, probate records, school records, tax records, vital records, voter records, and wills. Article about three or fewer specific families are arranged by surname.
PERSI is crucial in identifying research, records and transcriptions that might not be found in any other print or online source. It also is key to locating “orphan” data – information relating to locations distinct from the periodicals they appear in.
Never underestimate the value of genealogical and historical content from periodicals as a research tool. The fantastic resources available on PERSI contain over a third of the data available for discovering specific research, building contexts, and providing leads for further investigation.
How do I get copies of the full articles?
Digital images of articles in the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) will be increasingly accessible, thanks to findmypast’s partnership with the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Growing numbers of genealogical and historical organizations nationwide are joining the initiative to digitize and provide access to their local publications, including quarterlies, newsletters and other serials, on the PERSI index.
If the articles you would like to study are not yet available as linked issues to PERSI, there are many other avenues you can try. Contacting the publisher of the periodical containing the article you’re interested in can be a quick and cheap means of accessing photocopies, digital copies, and complete issues. You might even find that the publisher covers other materials that relate to your ancestral research, and discover more useful information.
Alternatively, you might find the periodical in a library or other research repository in your area. Try searching your local library’s online catalog. If the title does not appear there, search OCLC’s WorldCat.org. WorldCat is the largest bibliographic database in the world, and can generate a list of libraries local to you that own a particular item.