United States Periodicals

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Overview[edit | edit source]

United States Wiki Topics
How do I research United States Periodicals?
Beginning Research
Record Types
United States Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

A periodical is a regularly published magazine, newsletter, or journal. Several valuable periodicals concerning the United States genealogical research exist. Many genealogical and historical societies publish magazines and newsletters. The articles in these periodicals often include the following:

  • Family genealogies and pedigrees
  • Helpful articles on research methodology
  • Transcripts or indexes of biographical sketches, censuses, church records, migration lists, military records, obituaries, wills, vital records, and more
  • Historical background
  • Current and historical maps
  • Information about local and national records, archives, and services
  • Interesting articles about social life and customs
  • Book advertisements and book reviews
  • Advertisements of professional researchers
  • Queries or requests for information about specific ancestors that can help you contact other interested researchers

Almanacs[edit | edit source]

Almanacs (also spelled almanack/almanach) are annual publications that list information about a variety of subjects. Almanacs can be helpful in learning more about a country, the culture, and the local weather or geographic areas. Click here to learn more about almanacs.

Genealogical Magazines of General Interest[edit | edit source]

Some general periodicals assist by providing basic how-to instruction, many advertisements, book notices, and queries. These seldom include record transcripts or compiled genealogies. Two major examples are:

  • The Genealogical Helper 1947-. [Published by Everton Publishers, P. O. Box 368, Logan, UT 84321. Telephone: 801-752-6022. Fax: 801-752-0425.] (Family History Library book 929.05 G286.)
  • Heritage Quest: The International Genealogy Forum 1985-. [Published by American Genealogical Lending Library, P. O. Box 329, Bountiful, UT 84011-0329. Telephone: 801-565-8046. Fax: 801-359-9355.] (Family History Library book 973 D25hq.)

Genealogical Journals[edit | edit source]

These periodicals usually provide more in-depth instruction, book reviews, record transcripts, and compiled genealogies. These are often published quarterly by genealogical societies and may focus on a region, state, county, or time period. Some major examples are:

  • National Genealogical Society Quarterly 1912-. [Published by the National Genealogical Society, 4527 17th Street North, Arlington, VA 22207. Telephone: 703-525-0050.] (Family History Library book 973 B2ng; vols. 1-43 for 1912-55 are on films 001283-89.)
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register 1847-. [Published by the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116. Telephone: 617-536-5740. Fax: 617-536-7307.] (Family History Library book 974 B2ne; compact disc 33 part 1-9.)
  • The American Genealogist 1922-. [Published by Donald Lines Jacobus, P. O. Box 398, Demorest, GA 30535-0398.] (Family History Library book 973 D25aga, film 5346.)
  • Genealogical Journal 1972-. [Published by the Utah Genealogical Association, P. O. Box 1144, Salt Lake City, UT 84110. Telephone: 888-463-6832.] (Family History Library book 973 D25gj.)
  • Genealogical Computing 1981-. [Published by Ancestry, P. O. Box 476, Salt Lake City, UT 84110. Telephone: 801-531-1790. Fax: 801-375-2228.] (Family History Library book 929.10285 G286.)

In addition, excellent state and regional publications are described in "periodicals" articles for each state. Search the wiki for [state] and the word "periodicals."

Indexes[edit | edit source]

Most magazines have annual or cumulative indexes. Three major composite indexes to most periodicals are:

  • Genealogical Periodical Annual Index Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1962-. (Family History Library Ref 973 B22gp.) This is an annual index starting in 1962 of 150 to 260 currently published periodicals.
  • Boyer, Carl, III. Donald Lines Jacobus' Index to Genealogical Periodicals. Newhall, California: Boyer Publications, 1983. (Family History Library book 973 B22j; fiche 6048419.) This is a revision of Jacobus's Index to Genealogical Periodicals published in three volumes. It partially indexes 162 major periodicals or genealogies published from 1870 to 1952 by main subject of article.

Obtaining Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Copies of periodicals are available from the local societies that publish them. Major archives with genealogical collections will have copies of many periodicals, particularly those representing the area they serve. The Periodical Source Index, or PERSI, is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world. PERSI is available online and is especially useful because it refers to countless items published in thousands of family history periodicals worldwide. Learn more at the PERSI wiki page here:

  • Periodical Source Index (PERSI). Ft. Wayne, Indiana: Allen County Public Library Foundation, 1987-. (Family History Library book 973 D25per; 40 fiche 6016863 (1847-1985); 15 fiche 6016864 (1986-1990).) Partially indexes over 5,000 English-language and French-Canadian family history periodicals. The microfiche indexes are cumulative; book indexes since 1986 are year-by-year. For further details see the PERiodical Source Index Resource Guide (34119).
  • Findmypast Researchers can use the Internet edition of this index at Family History Centers via their site.

Once you locate an article in a periodical, check the FamilySearch Catalog and regional or local libraries for available copies. The Family History Library has collected many periodicals, with some available in digital format and accessible online. United States periodicals may be found in the FamilySearch Catalog with a Place and Subject search, as found here: United States-Periodicals. They can also be found by using:

  • Place Search of the country, state/province, and county
  • Title Search of the periodical
  • Keyword Search for the publishing society name.

Also find Periodical resources available at other libraries via WorldCat. As with the FamilySearch Catalog search, search WorldCat using society names, locality names, and periodical title names. Learn more about how to search WorldCat and the Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog on our Wiki pages.

You can find further information by searching the Wiki for a state and the word "periodicals."