Illinois Ancestors | Quarterlies can be gold mine for researchers

Illinois Ancestors | Quarterlies can be gold mine for researchers

Genealogical societies have been publishing magazines for their members for decades. Usually containing data and articles about events and people in their specific geographical locations, and usually published four times a year (hence the name “quarterlies”), they were generally un-noticed by researchers in other localities that were not subscribers — that is until 1986 when the staff at Indiana’s Allen County Public Library began creating an index, called PERSI, for PERiodical Source Index.

Over the years PERSI has undergone many changes in format. Originally it was a 16-volume set which was available on microfiche. An annual print version was discontinued in 1997. provided CDs to its customers for a while, and Heritage Quest Online at one time offered access. More recently, has the sole rights to the electronic database outside of the Allen County Public Library. The index can be searched free.

PERSI is not an every-name index, but it does provide an index to a location, a type of record, a how-to topic and a surname if the subject was in an article — in thousands of periodicals. If an article of interest is found in the index, the Allen County Public Library will copy the article for a small fee. The order form can be found at The charge is $7.50 for each order form (up to and including six articles), pre-paid to ACPLF, plus 20 cents per page billed to you.

A blog posted by Findmypast, at, provides “Tips & Tricks for Searching PERSI like a Pro.” Another post by Findmypast, at, is titled “7 Tips to Help You Find Your American Ancestors in PERSI.” Also, a website called Family Locket has provided helpful instructions at The official Findmypast search site is at; a direct periodical search can be made at

Now researchers have no excuse for missing some “hidden” information in an “unknown” periodical. PERSI can probably provide articles with long-sought research solutions.

Article praises genealogy

A recent article in The New York Times, “Why You Should Dig Up Your Family’s History — And How to Do It,” can be found at Hopefully many readers will be encouraged to embark on this “intellectual pursuit” ... “solving a puzzle at the highest level.”

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) acknowledges that the article is based on the NGS and its new website. Visit and click on “Welcome to the new NGS Website — See What’s New.” Be sure to take note of NGS’s Free Genealogy Resources, which include free fillable genealogy charts and templates, tutorials on the U.S. census and “How to Borrow Books” from the NGS Book Loan Collection, complimentary articles in the NGS Magazine, NGS Monthly and NGS Quarterly, links to 18 free genealogy websites and more.

WWI materials posted

The Library of Congress (LOC) has digitized its collections of World War I materials and has posted a guide to these items at

These materials include photographs, documents, newspapers, films, sheet music and sound recordings. The guide also provides links to external websites focusing on WWI as well as a bibliography.

Also, as part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. involvement in WWI, the LOC has posted a special World War I Portal to its collections pertaining to that war at Resources for teachers are also included.

The LOC website now also has its collection of WWI newspaper clippings, 1914 to 1926, searchable at Keywords can be searched over the entire 79,621 pages “packed with war-related front pages, illustrated feature articles, editorial cartoons, and more. ... Coverage begins on June 29, 1914, with articles focusing on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and continues into the post-war world through Dec. 31, 1926.”

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.


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