Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NEHGS Building Collection of Digitized and Searchable Periodicals

One of the great sources of genealogy scholarship and information are genealogical periodicals and journals - those published by local, regional and national genealogical societies. Some of these periodicals and journals have been digitized and indexed, and are searchable for names, locations and events.

Perhaps the best collection of digitized and indexed genealogical journals resides on the New Engalnd Ancestors website (http://www.newenglandancestors.org/), published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston, Massachusetts. Note that this is a website that requires an NEHGS membership to access the databases, including the periodicals.

The digitized, indexed and searchable periodicals on this site include:

* New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1847-2009) -- Published quarterly since 1847, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest journal in the field. The Register has featured articles on a wide variety of topics since its inception, including vital records, church records, tax records, land and probate records, cemetery transcriptions, obituaries, and historical essays. Authoritative compiled genealogies have been the centerpiece of the Register for more than 150 years. Thousands of New England families have been treated in the pages of the journal and many more are referenced in incidental ways throughout. These articles may range from short pieces correcting errors in print or solving unusual problems to larger treatments that reveal family origins or present multiple generations of a family.

* New England Ancestors (2000-2005) -- A 64-page magazine published by NEHGS since 2000, New England Ancestors contains a wealth of information for family historians. New England Ancestors features a wide range of article topics and styles, and is designed to appeal to family historians of all levels. Topics include coverage of a particular region or group of people; case studies; descriptions of particular record sets; “how-to” articles; compelling historic accounts that illuminate the past; research strategies and methodology; and accounts of migration and immigrant groups. Over time, regular columns have included Jeremy Bangs’ “Pilgrim Life”; Diane Rapaport’s “Tales from the Courthouse”; David Lambert’s “Online Genealogist”; Rhonda McClure’s “Computer Genealogist”; and “Genetics and Genealogy,” as well as columns featuring Bible records, diaries, and other items from the NEHGS manuscript collection. The magazine’s “Family Focus” column features announcements of genealogies in progress, recently published books, family association news, and DNA studies in progress.

* American Ancestors Journal (2009) -- provides readers genealogical content of national scope, with an emphasis on New York State and out migrations from New England. This first issue is thirty-six pages, and future issues may be longer. The editors are Henry B. Hoff and Helen Schatvet Ullmann, who are also the editor and associate editor of the Register, respectively.

* The Essex Antiquarian (1897-1909)-- an "illustrated ... magazine devoted to the biography, genealogy, history, and antiquities of Essex County, Massachusetts," was published and edited by Sidney Perley between 1897 and 1909. The journal was published monthly from January 1897 to June 1901 and then quarterly from July 1901 to October 1909. Each yearly volume contains 200-220 pages consisting of genealogical articles and a variety of photographs, maps, illustrations, gravestone inscriptions, all pertaining to Essex County, Massachusetts.

* The American Genealogist (1933-1967) -- The American Genealogist (TAG) has been published quarterly since 1923, and represents an important body of scholarly research covering the breadth of the United States (with an early preference for New England). NEHGS is pleased to offer it as a fully searchable online database. The current TAG database covers volumes 9–43. Additional sets of five volumes are scheduled to be added periodically throughout 2009 and 2010. Volumes 1–8, covering the years 1923–1932, are already available online under the name “Families of Ancient New Haven.”

* Connecticut Nutmegger (1968-2008) -- The Connecticut Nutmegger has served as the “journal of record” for the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Inc. (CSG) for forty years. During this time it has captured a wealth of information for genealogists. Vital records, probate records, bible records, headstone records, memorials and other useful records have been published and made readily accessible for genealogical research. Well-documented family histories and genealogical articles, covering hundreds of families – mainly with Connecticut ties - have been presented. Published articles include commentary on and corrections to previously published family lines, vital records and town histories. Book reviews, research tips, queries and other valuable tools for genealogists have been presented.

* New Netherland Connections (1996-2007) -- Begun in 1996 and continuing, New Netherland Connections is a genealogical quarterly that aims to help people trying to identify and document their New Netherland ancestors and their descendants. It focuses on the Dutch colonial period (1624-1664) In New York and New Jersey. Each issue has feature articles, replies to queries, items of Dutch colonial interest, and queries (of any length) and runs to about 28 pages.

* The Virginia Genealogist (1957-1996) -- Edited and published by John Fredrick Dorman from 1957 to 2006, The Virginia Genealogist has a reputation for quality research and genealogical information not available elsewhere. Topics include compiled genealogies, personal property tax lists (which serve as useful substitutes for non-existent census records), and other local record abstracts, including court orders, deeds, wills, marriage registers, and other county sources. Also included are a wide variety of transcriptions and abstracts of Bible, church, military, and mercantile records.

Several of these periodicals still have issues to digitize and index, but this is a really strong collection of very useful scholarly publications.

Of course, there are many more scholarly publications that are not digitized and indexed, although the published issues and cumulative indexes are available for many of them in genealogical libraries.

It would be helpful to have a cumulative list of genealogical periodicals that are digitized and indexed so that researchers could determine which societies they might want to visit or join to obtain records and information about their ancestral families.

Disclosure: I am a paying member of NEHGS (since 1991), and enjoy my membership immensely. I was not offered any remuneration to write this post.

1 comment:

genann said...

Randy, you need to look at PERSI, or Periodical Source index, in which Allen County Genealogical Library has indexed their vast periodical collection including the "biggies" down to relatively small family and society publications. It is available on line through Heritage Quest library edition, which is available in many libraries and through the libraries you can get the index at home. It, unlike the ones at NEHGS, is an index only. But it does have a listing of the indexed periodicals. Ann Martin