Monday, March 29, 2004

PERSI - Periodical Source Index

PERSI is the largest and most widely-used subject index covering genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French (Canada). The collection dates from approximately 1800. There are currently over 1.7 million searchable records and nearly 6,000 different periodicals, which library staffers at the Allen County Public Library have been compiling for over a decade. PERSI is widely recognized as essential for high-quality genealogy research.

PERSI gives family historians access to materials they would otherwise not have available. Note that due to the taxing nature of this work, individuals mentioned in passing will not appear in PERSI; this is not a full-text index.

PERSI also organizes articles into locality, but only those where the geographic categorization is clearly valuable, e.g., cemetery transcription or newspaper extracts. Locality entries are classified by the type of record the article includes, e.g., biography, cemetery, census, etc., to indicate the content of the article to researchers.

PERSI is available for search at and Heritage Quest, which can be accessed through your local library (if you are lucky), the Godfrey Library ($35/year), Dodge/Jefferson Counties Genealogical Society of Wisconsin, ($25/year) and the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society ($60 annually).

More information on PERSI is available at, and the website of the Allen County Public Library.

You may also contact the Allen County Public Library, which owns a copy of each periodical indexed in PERSI, for photocopies of articles. A form for ordering photocopies is available at:

Send the form describing the articles to be copied, and provide the full entry from PERSI with the name of the journal. You may request a maximum of six articles at a time. The charge is $7.50 for each letter, pre-paid, plus $0.20 per page copied to be billed to you. Requests are NOT accepted by phone, fax, or e-mail. Mail the completed form to:

Allen County Public Library Foundation
P.O. Box 2270
Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270

Please allow at least eight weeks for processing. Also, be sure to double check your requests, and give the complete citation (Article Title, Periodical Title, Code, Volume, Issue, Date, etc.). Incomplete information may delay processing.

Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge - broad deep knowledge - is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man's progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life. - Helen Keller