PERSI: Search Tips Part 1

Now that PERSI (the Periodical Source Index) is now hosted at Allen County Public Library (ACPL), let’s take a look at some search tips for more effective searching.

The starting screen for PERSI.

When you begin your search at PERSI, you will first want to begin with one of the options shown in the above buttons. There are basically four categories: surnames, place, technique, and keyword. Remember, PERSI is not an every name index, so if you search by surname, that name will be the major subject of the article. For our example, we will choose “United States” to get started.

When you click on “United States” you can then further filter your results by choosing a state in the dropdown menu.

State drop-down menu on PERSI.

Then choose a county, if desired. It is not a requirement.

County drown-down menu on PERSI.

Once you have chosen your state and county, you will then be presented with a table of subjects and the number of articles available for that topic.

Subject list for Wood County, Ohio on PERSI.

For our example, we will choose “Court Records,” and see what kind of results we get.

PERSI results for “Court Records” in Wood County, Ohio

Along the top, you can see your waypoints so you can recall what category you are in. We are in USA>OH>Wood County>Court Records. You can also see that you can change the number of results you can see on one screen. It defaults to 10, but it can go up to 100. You can also see the column headings of for the article title, periodical (which includes the volume and issue number), the year published, and the publisher (the genealogical society usually).

If you search by surname, you will only have one level of results. In the example below, I searched for “Taplin” and was reminded of some articles I wrote some time ago.

PERSI search results for Surname>Taplin.

In both of the above examples, you’ll notice that there’s a “search” box above the results table. This will allow you to further search within the current results. Let’s go back to the Wood County, Ohio court records and search for wills.

Wood County, Ohio Court Records, search for wills

There is only one result in Wood County, Ohio with the keyword “will.” This is not any kind of “fuzzy” searching in that it will look for synonyms or similar spellings. If I put the full word “wills” in I will not get any results, because the one article that exists, uses the word “will” not “wills.”

We will take a look at some more search tips again next time.

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