Friday, July 10, 2009

Using Location Search in PERSI

When I was at the Allen County Public Library yesterday, I started putting together a file for my Switzerland and Ohio county, Indiana research. There are not very many books on the shelves of ACPL on these two counties. Last month when I was at the library I found a naturalization abstract for Robert Bovard that listed his children, including my ancestor Isaac. This was a link that I was missing to further my research. I also found a will abstract of Nathan RICKETTS that listed his daughter, Jane SHEPHERD. Again I found a link to the next generation. Neither of these discoveries were found in books on the counties. I found these using PERSI and searching for Switzerland county and Ohio county.

What is PERSI? It's the Periodical Source Index created by ACPL to index surnames, locations, subjects and more from many genealogical and historical publications. PERSI is available to search through Heritage Quest Note that the index on is not updated as often as the one on Heritage Quest. When you find an article that interests you, you can find the journal yourself or order a copy from ACPL for a fee. Since I live in Fort Wayne, I just go look up whatever I want and don't worry about the cost of finding irrelevant articles.

I had used PERSI before to search on surnames. For some reason I had never thought to look by place until I found a record for the surname BASCOM in a journal called "Hoosier Journal of Ancestry." I had never heard of this publication before and found that there were many other articles about Switzerland county inside. So I searched PERSI for my two counties of interest and found 114 results for Switzerland county and 67 for Ohio county.

The articles that I found include:
  • History
  • Naturalization records
  • Land records
  • Court records
  • Estate and will records
  • Military records
  • Births, Marriages, Deaths and Cemetery records
  • Rosters for schools and societies
  • And more!
Since I do a lot of research in these counties, I have decided to track down all of the articles and put them in a binder organized by topic. Of course I could just do this digitally, but I have an office supply problem and wanted to use another binder and tabs. I printed off a list of all the articles from Heritage Quest on each county. As I obtain the articles, I am going to check it off the list, but it in the correct section of the binder, and index the names. Then I'll put my index onto my genealogy data website. I would put up the articles if they wouldn't infringe on copyright. Hopefully this will help more people doing research in Switzerland and Ohio counties break down their brick walls.

I also need to make a list/binder for Dearborn county because Ohio county was formed in 1844 from Dearborn county. Many early Ohio county records will be found in Dearborn county.

One of the reasons that I decided to do this is because I was inspired by the videos of Bernie Gracy on Youtube from the Family History Expos. I see a lot of value in searching one location and seeing all that is happening there.

I'm hoping that this will be a great tool for me in my research. I probably won't worry about the marriage records that are in book form already. But it will be nice to have everything in one place instead of spread across hundreds of journals. If it works well, I will probably work on creating PERSI resource binders for my other major counties.

Have you used PERSI before? Have you made a great find using it? Leave a comment or send me an email genwishlist [at] gmail [dot] com.

1 comment:

  1. I love PERSI. I have access through the LaPorte County library and can use it without even leaving home! I'm using it now to work on my Upp, Mosher, and Lain lines in Starke County, Indiana.