Using PERSI for Genealogy Success

Using PERSI for Genealogy SuccessWhat Is PERSI?

PERSI, an acronym that stands for the “periodical source index,” is the largest subject index in the world for genealogy and local history periodical articles.“

It literally is your world into thousands and thousands, if not millions, of pages of published family historical work,” said Taylor. “PERSI includes all sorts of databases and data sets that have been produced by societies and other organizations for many, many years.”PERSI currently offers more than 2.5 million subject level entries and is updated on a quarterly basis. As more and more publications are indexed and as newer publications are added, the PERSI database grows.“

And PERSI isn’t just for the United States,” says Taylor. “It covers society publications in Canada, in Ireland, in Great Britain, and all over the world. So it’s a fantastic resource for you, even if you’re looking beyond U.S. genealogy.”

Learn more about Using PERSI for Genealogy Success at the FamilySearch blog.

7 Tips to Help You Find Your American Ancestors in PERSI

One important thing to keep in mind when researching PERSI is that this is an index of the sources and PERSI is indexed by article titles, not names. So, unless your ancestor had an article written about him/her, doing a general surname search won’t likely bring up any results that are specific to your ancestor.

You just need to remember that the strategy isn’t to find a name with PERSI, the strategy is locating the periodical your ancestor may be included in , so location and time period are a great way to begin your searches.

Since PERSI is always being updated, even if you’ve searched it before, it’s worth searching again, and again, and again, and again. Also, as you uncover more clues to your family history PERSI can help you uncover even more with additional related searches.

Great tips to help find ancestors in PERSI at the history blog from Findmypast

Genealogical Society of Ireland Journals and Publications Now Online at FindMyPast

Via press release . . .

Leading Family History website Findmypast, has today announced the online publication of all The’s journals dating from 1992 to 2016. The journals are now available to search as part of the PERiodical Source Index and will be joined by the expansive range of other Genealogical Society or Ireland publications over the coming weeks. The publications consists of a wide range of documents including transcripts of original records, memorial inscriptions, local and surname studies and collections of specialist sources and guides. The information dates back to 1798 and covers many counties in Ireland including Cavan, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Offaly and Wicklow.

The release is comprised of two sets of important publications, namely:

  • Journals– In 1992 the Society commenced publication of a journal. Back then it was the Dun Laoghaire Genealogical Society, but immediately expanded its remit to cover much more than the area around the Borough. It published 224 articles between then and 1999 when it changed its name to the Genealogical Society of Ireland. Since 2000 it has published over 600 articles on Irish family history including transcripts of source materials, scholarly articles, name studies and other material.
  • Publications – Alongside the journals, the society has had an ambitious publishing programme. It has so far published over 40 individual volumes of source materials. Its first in 1992 was an 1837 memorial from Wicklow signed by hundreds of residents. Thereafter they have published many volumes of gravestone inscriptions and memorials, several school registers, military records, extracts from the 1821 and 1901 census returns, occupational records, information about the population in 1798, and specific family studies, and much more.

How to use PERSI to find out information about your ancestor’s death

PERSI can be a goldmine for learning more about your ancestor’s life including their death records

TIP: One thing to keep in mind with PERSI is that it is subject based, so you can’t search PERSI for your ancestor by their last name unless they were the subject of an article or the subject of a periodical, so you’ll need to do a little bit of browsing.

Get the details at Findmypast.

The Periodical Source Index – PERSI

PERSI (PERiodical Source Index) has been a mainstay of genealogical research for decades. It is the largest index of periodical articles related to genealogical and local history in the world. This fabulous resource was created by the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The problem with PERSI is that it is only an index. Once a researcher finds an article in the index, they then must find the actual article.

That is changing.

The Allen County Public Library and Findmypast have teamed up to digitize as many of these periodicals as possible and make them available online. This is a massive effort and will take time to complete, but there are already a good number of digitized articles available.

You can access PERSI at Findmypast ( You will also find a very useful article at the Findmypast blog ( discussing tips for searching the index.

Anyone can access and search PERSI, but you will need a Findmypast user account to view the metadata/digitized images. Findmypast has a 14-day trial period and offers one month, six month and annual subscriptions along with Pay As You Go credits that can be used to purchase specific records.

Findmypast has been focused on United Kingdom records (England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada and Australia) for many years. It is now expanding to include U.S. records too. If you are researching UK ancestors, a subscription could be worthwhile. If all you want to do is search PERSI, the Pay As You Go option might be a better choice. It’s nice to have options.

The Periodical Source Index has long been a valuable resource for genealogical research. This effort makes it even more valuable. It will be interesting to watch it grow.