What is PERSI?
The Periodical Source Index, or PERSI, is a subject index to genealogical and local history periodicals. Periodicals are simply publications produced regularly as part of a series--magazines, newsletters, journals, etc. An amazing number of genealogical records and knowledge is published in these periodicals every year. PERSI is an index to this material.
PERSI began as an ambitious project of the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Their lofty goal was to gather all genealogical periodicals, both past and present, and index their contents. This growing database has become the largest dataset of its kind, containing over 1 million references to helpful articles.
How is PERSI organized?
The Periodical Source Index CD-ROM is organized in to the following four main sections:
The Surname Section lists genealogical articles about specific people or families. A search in this section by surname or keyword will find all matching articles, regardless of where these families resided.
- Surname Section
- Locality Section
- Research Methodologies Section
- PERSI Bibliography
The Locality Section indexes genealogical articles concerning specific regions of the United States, Canada, and the world. Researchers using the Periodical Source Index can filter searches to a specific country, Canadian province or U.S. state, and even to a specific county within that state.
The Research Methodologies Section indexes "how-to" articles on various subjects. The Allen County Public Library has categorized these articles into the following subjects:
The PERSI Bibliography lists the various publications referenced in the other three main PERSI sections. The section also lists the organizations responsible for publication, to enable researchers to obtain back copies.
- Cemetery Records
- Census Records
- Church Records
- Court Records
- Land Records
- Military Recoreds
- Passenger Lists
- School Records
- Tax Lists
- Vital Records
- Voter Lists
How can PERSI help me?
Curt Witcher, Allen County Public Library, said "Without checking genealogical periodicals, researchers miss out on arguably 25%-30% of the available knowledge on a given topic.
Researchers use PERSI to locate articles that may help them. Thousands and thousands of articles are written every year about various genealogical or historical topics. Rather than duplicate exacting research already performed, individuals should read articles that save them time by making them aware of new (or obscure) sources, helping them understand a record type or records repository, or actually laying out the history and relationships of a given family.
Are all periodicals indexed in PERSI?
Though PERSI has grown much throughout its existence, and will be updated on an annual basis, there are many periodicals, both current and historical, that have not yet found its way into the collection. However, PERSI is by far the largest collection of its kind.