PERSI is the world’s largest and most widely used subject index to genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French (Canada). The collection dates from approximately 1800 and contains more than 3 million searchable records from nearly 10,000 different periodicals indexed by staffers at the Allen County Public Library. Since its release in 1986, PERSI has gained wide recognition as an essential tool for high-quality genealogy research.
Periodicals indexed in PERSI include magazines, newsletters, journals, and other publications produced as a series that deal with topics of interest to genealogists and family historians. Each year, these publications add thousands of records, histories, articles, pedigrees, and other materials that can point researchers to new or obscure sources, record types or repositories, or family histories. PERSI gives family historians a way to learn of and access these materials, which otherwise may not be easy to find.
While the majority of the articles indexed are found at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, PERSI also indexes periodicals kept at other repositories, including:
- Allen County Public Library
- Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
- Dallas Public Library
- Family History Library
- Library of Congress
- Los Angeles Public Library
- New England Historic Genealogical Society Library
- New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
- New York Public Library
- Newberry Library
- Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton Co.
- State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library
How do I use PERSI?
You can search the Periodical Source Index by year, location, and/or keyword. Search results can be refined further by using any of the additional search fields provided. By default, results will include both periodicals and articles, though results can be filtered to include only one or the other. Note that PERSI is not an every-word index of these periodicals, so individuals mentioned only in passing will not appear.
The Allen County Public Library categorizes all articles by the Record Types listed below, which you can also use to filter search results:
The Allen County Public Library has also categorized articles according to Article Type. You can filter search results by article type through the drop-down list available in the Article Type search box.
How do I get copies of the full articles?
PERSI entries record bibliographic information for the articles, including article title, periodical name, volume, issue, publisher, repository, and other details. There are several methods you can then use to acquire a copy of the full text of the original article.
Entries typically include the name and address of the periodical's publisher, and you can then contact the publisher to request information about ordering back issues of the publication.
In addition, the PERSI bibliography may list several records repositories and libraries in the United States (including the Allen County Public Library) that have at least some issues of the periodical. While only a few major libraries may be listed, you may also want to check your local academic or research library for back issues.
The Allen County Public Library has the back issues of all periodicals indexed in PERSI. You may contact the library for copies of the articles at the following address:
Historical Genealogy Department
Allen County Public Library
P.O. Box 2270
Ft. Wayne, IN 46801-2270
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