Massachusetts Periodicals

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Overview[edit | edit source]

A periodical is a regularly published magazine, newsletter, or journal. Several valuable periodicals concerning Massachusetts 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

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

  • The American Genealogist 1923-. Formerly: Families of Ancient New Haven. Published by David L. Greene, P.O. Box 398, Demorest, Georgia 30535–0398. FHL book 973 D25aga and FHL film 1425624 (first of 20 films).
  • Essex Antiquarian Published by the Essex Antiquarian, Salem, Massachusetts. This source has information on families of Essex County, mostly Salem and some Lynn. FHL book 974.45 B2a. Volumes 1-4 are also on film FHL films 599729-3. Random volumes of this periodical are accessible via GoogleBooks or Internet Archive. The full series of 13 volumes is accessible online via some subscription sites and is also available at Hathi Trust, see catalog entry, "The Essex Antiquarian."
  • The Mayflower Descendant 1899-1937, 1985-. Published by the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. 376 Boylston St. Boston, Massachusetts 02116. Issues are devoted to information on Mayflower descendants, with genealogical history, places, and dates. FHL book 974.4 D25md. Volumes 1–34 are on FHL film 01250 (first of 11 films).
  • The Mayflower Quarterly 1935-. Published by The General Society of Mayflower Descendants. P.O. Box 3297 Plymouth, Massachusetts 02361. FHL book 973 D25mq.
  • The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 1847-. Published by The New England Historic Genealogical Society. This has a cumulative index to 1995. Includes genealogies, vital record extracts, church records, local genealogical histories, and New England source material. FHL book 974 B2ne; also FHL compact disc 33 pt. 1–9. Some volumes on film. Issues are also available New England Historical Genealogical Register Online.

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).
  • Find My Past 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. Massachusetts periodicals may be found in the FamilySearch Catalog with a Place and Subject search, as found here: Massachusetts-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 FamilySearch Catalog on our Wiki pages.