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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - October/November 2004
Using PERSI as a Genealogical Research Tool

PERSI is the acronym for the Periodical Source Index maintained by the Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  PERSI is the largest subject index of genealogical and local history articles ever compiled in one source.  Prior to the inception of the project in 1999, genealogists were dependant on sources such as the Genealogical Periodical Source Index published annually.  This was a very useful tool when and where you could find it.  Its availability in libraries was limited.  The concept of the Internet as we know it today was also limited in scope and availability to researchers.  Michael Clegg, a member of the reference staff at Allen County Library, developed the idea of PERSI. More than 1,750,000 genealogical articles have been added to the database since its inception in 1999.

PERSI is a comprehensive source covering genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French (taking French speaking areas of Canada into consideration) since 1800 which cover people, places, events, and records from the late 1600's to the present.  Curt Witcher, library director of Allen County Public Library, has estimated that thousands of genealogists access PERSI via their home PC's or at library research facilities on a daily basis.  Access was primarily available via the search site of until recently.  Heritage Quest has now taken over this primary access function.  Patrons may access PERSI via the Heritage Quest on our library home page at using the following steps:

1. Click on the icon for "Internet Links We Recommend
2. Click on the icon for "Electronic Resources"
3. Scroll down you see the entry for "Heritage Quest" and click on the icon
4. Click on the icon for "Search PERSI"

PERSI provides the researcher with the ability to search surnames, locations, methodologies, as well as browsing journals by title and keyword. PERSI citations are broken down into the following categories:

1. Surname citations: Used for articles describing families or particular ancestors
2. Locality citations: Used for articles describing research records, history of a particular town., etc.
3. "How to" citations: Used for articles describing particular tips and techniques for research

Accompanying the article citations is an extensive bibliography which directs the researcher to access needed articles from the publisher, from a nearby research library, through Inter-Library Loan, or from the Allen County Library.  To obtain copies of articles from PERSI via the Allen County Public Library, the cost is $7.50 per form which will allow you to order six articles per form.  Complete the  information on the form and send your check to Allen County Public Library Foundation, P.O. Box 2270, Fort Wayne, IN  46801-2270.  A charge of $.20 per page copied will accompany your material which should be mailed to you within six to eight weeks.

Bryan L. Mulcahy
Reference Librarian
Fort Myers-Lee County Library
2050 Central Avenue
Fort Myers, FL  33901-3917
Tel: (239)- 479-4651
Fax: (239)- 479-4634

Return to October/November 2004 Index Page


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