02 May 2009

Has Your Family History Been Published?

University of Toronto librarian Marian Press helps prevent genealogists from re-inventing the wheel in "Has Your Family History Been Published?" from the January/February 2009 Discovering Your Family History magazine, pages 25-27. Among myriad resources including links to online catalogs and Google Books, Marian discusses PERSI:
"Family histories are not always published in book form; often a genealogist will instead contribute an article on his or her family to an historical periodical or a genealogical society magazine. The best source for tracking these down is the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). PERSI is an index to genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French (from Canada) since 1800. The PERSI database can be accessed through Ancestry.com. Note, however, that after you have done a surname search, PERSI will simply indicate the existence of a relevant article; the second step is to find a copy of it. The index will help you by providing the name and address of the periodical’s publisher and may also list libraries in the US that
have copies."

Experienced researchers provide cautionary tales about previously compiled family histories and explain we must closely follow the line of reasoning and view cited sources in the context of all extant record groups in the locality where the ancestors once lived.

Marian's article provides a useful mix of additonal websites that might provide you with access to at least the title and author and location of previously published research. Interlibrary loan may be an option to consider.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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Unknown said...
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DearMYRTLE said...

From Ol'Myrt's email:

Dear Myrtle,
WHAT IF you inherited a long lost trunk, hope chest or suitcased filled with your grandmother's family history papers? What would you hope is inside?

My mom has a "treasure" genealogy collection of things she inherited from her father Thomas Riddell Sankey. It includes family related newspaper articles, 2 tintype albums, a Harriet Darling Riddell cabinet card album (some of which are labeled with names), George Franklin Riddell and my grandfather Thomas' rudimentary genealogical research. I had a great time inventorying and scanning it all for my mom and reading/scanning all my Grandfather's genealogy correspondence.

These items gave me a good starting point for my family history research. I also have a scapbook of the Phillip Dahlberg and Katherine DeYoung family that I have scanned and distributed to family members.

I have extended my genealogy research skills to looking for descendants or locality specific archives for homeless Bibles, photos and miscellaneous documents for the San Diego Genealogical Society, Lost Treasures Committee. The descendants are thrilled to receive the documents and we have the satisfaction that we found a home for the documents. We have the opportunity to give out "treasures".

Gwynn Socolich
Lost Treasures Committee Chair
San Diego Genealogical Society.