PERSI (pronounced Percy). Do you recognize the name?
If not, you are not alone. PERSI is one of the most valuable genealogy resources available today but it is also one of the most unknown and underutilized resources.
PERSI is the acronym for PERiodical Source Index. It is a subject index for genealogical and historical periodicals written in English and French. The index is the project of the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and is updated annually. It is the largest index of its kind with over 1.8 million entries from 5,100 current subscriptions and 10,000 total titles. The articles indexed by PERSI start in 1800 and go to the present with articles covering the time period from the 1700's to the present. Most of the collection is from the United States and Canada but there are other counties in the index as well.
How can PERSI help with your genealogy research? PERSI can help you locate articles about your ancestors and the places they lived. PERSI includes articles published in major genealogy periodicals and articles in small journals produced by small genealogy and historical societies.
PERSI is divided into four sections: Surname, Locality, Methodologies, and PERSI Bibliography.
The Surname section indexes articles about individuals and families.
The Locality section indexes articles records, research, or history about specific towns, counties, or states.
The Methodologies section are the “how-to” articles. The types of records that you can expect to find indexed in PERSI are compiled family genealogies, indexes and “how-to” articles about cemeteries, census records, land records, military records, naturalizations, passenger lists, tax lists, and wills, just to mention a few.
The bibliography section lists the periodical name and the organization that publishes the periodical. Some of these articles were done years ago. It is unlikely that we would even know about their existence or have access to copies without PERSI.
Each PERSI entry includes a citation for the article, which includes the name of the periodical, date of publication, volume, issue, and the major repositories that own a copy of the periodical.
PERSI is not an every name index to periodicals. It is, rather, a subject index. Names, locations, and subject groups included in the titles of the articles are indexed. Names in the body of the articles will not be listed in PERSI unless mentioned in the title.
PERSI is available in book form or the more popular version of searchable database. The database is available at HeritageQuest Online through many public libraries and also on CD-ROM.
Copies of articles included in PERSI can be obtained by contacting the organization who published it, from a library owning a copy of the periodical (identified in the citation), or by ordering through the Allen County Public Library. The Allen County Public Library has copies of all the articles included in PERSI. You can access the order form and instructions by visiting the Allen County Public Library Website at www.acpl.lib.in.us/genealogy.
PERSI is by far the largest and most comprehensive index of genealogical and historical material available today. Once you become familiar with it, you will want to use PERSI frequently in your research.