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Inside Sources: Periodical Source Index
9/1/2005
Use this tool to find articles about your family published in genealogical and historical journals.

Periodicals are treasure troves of transcribed records, carefully researched family histories and genealogical case studies. Some of the thousands of genealogical and historical periodicals published in the last two centuries just might mention your ancestors. And the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), an enormous subject index created by the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) <www.acpl.lib.in.us> in Fort Wayne, Ind., helps you find those articles in a flash.

The ACPL first published PERSI in a series of printed volumes. Online and CD versions followed, making the index much more affordable and easier to use. Now the ACPL is collaborating with online-content provider ProQuest to make PERSI an even more valuable tool. In 2004, ProQuest released a version of PERSI on HeritageQuest Online <www.heritagequestonline.com>. It contains more than 1.6 million citations to articles in 6,500-plus titles published in English or in French (Canadian periodicals only) and dating back to 1800. The index is updated annually.

If you've searched PERSI in the past, you probably wonder what's special about HeritageQuest Online's version. After all, Ancestry.com <www.ancestry.com > also offers an online version of PERSI, which you don't have to find a subscribing institution to access. To begin with, searches on HeritageQuest Online turn up more spelling variations, including plurals. HeritageQuest Online's version is more up-to-date, too. But the really exciting part will come when HeritageQuest Online begins linking PERSI citations to digital images of the articles (no specific date has been announced). You'll be able to view the original articles right on your computer screen, instead of having to send for photocopies from the ACPL. Libraries will have to subscribe to a premium service in order to get access to the digital images.

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