The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) began as a print publication in 1986 by the staff at Allen County Public Library (ACPL). ACPL’s collection holds over 8,000 titles of genealogical society journals. PERSI was first published as a 16-volume set covering the years 1847-1985, and then annually. It was also available on microfiche at FHL and CD-ROM through Ancestry.
In 1997, Ancestry made PERSI available as a free online database. This was also the last year it was available in print. PERSI has been available for free through HeritageQuest and most recently through Findmypast (FMP). However, the contract with FMP is ending and for reasons not disclosed, ACPL is going to host the index on their own site: https://www.genealogycenter.info/persi/
What kind of index is it? Let me sum up the biggest misunderstanding in one sentence:
PERSI IS NOT AN EVERY NAME INDEX!
The biggest misunderstanding and misuse of PERSI is that users expect to be able to put in their person’s name or even a surname, and find information about that person. That is not how PERSI was indexed. PERSI is a keyword and subject index. The indexers did not index every name in a cemetery transcription published in a local society quarterly. They did not index every name in a transcribed local tax list. They did not index every name published in a military draft list for a county.
To best use PERSI, you need to think in terms of subjects and keywords. If someone is the subject of an article, you will find their name in the index. But if they were among those listed as petition signers, for example, you will not find them.
Over the next several posts, I will share some of my best tips, case studies, examples, and how to obtain copies of the articles, so that you can get the most out of PERSI.
Every state is going to have a similar list of resources available online, so you can take what I share here and search for something similar in another state your are researching in. Most states will have a state archive and/or library. There may be a statewide digitizing project. You might find several universities that have archival collections. (In the case of Wyoming, there is only one, the University of Wyoming in Laramie.) There may be specialized museums around the state that have archival and research collections. And when I say “online,” I mean they have a web presence which may only be a catalog and you might need to contact them for copies or to find a research proxy.
These are some of the important collections of online resources in Wyoming:
Wyoming State Archives, located in Cheyenne, their online collection contains some county records, newspapers, maps, photos, and so much more.
American Heritage Center, located at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, their online collection consists of research guides and catalogs of their manuscript and rare book collection.
Wyoming State Historical Society‘s website is full of historical facts about the state including an encyclopedia, oral histories, field trip information, a blog, special topics, and more.
This is the end of my series on Wyoming, for now. I did a webinar for Legacy Family Tree Webinars (subscription required to watch) on this topic back in 2019. So if you’d like to hear more details, you might head over there and give it a watch (this is an affiliate link).
Next week we will start something new. “See” you then!