Look for a periodical that covers the area, the county, the town where your ancestors resided, and in areas where persons settled who originated where your ancestors did—whether they are related to you or not. For example, if your people came from New York, read New York periodicals and those published in Michigan, Iowa, and Washington State—where New Yorkers settled. These will include New York ancestors you may not find elsewhere.
Most genealogical societies publish a quarterly or annual as well as a newsletter or a bulletin in paper or online. For those not yet online,, you can get your own subscription so you can access all of the issues that have been published. I prefer to begin with Volume 1, Number 1 and read them all. But, I read whatever issues I have access to.
Read the articles and documents that apply to the period of time you are looking for your ancestor, whether they mention your ancestor or not. You will learn, in a short time, about the people who settled that place, where they came from, who they came with, when they arrived, and where they went when they left. You will discover how they are inter-related to each other.
Genealogy Resources Published in Periodicals
- Submitted to genealogical journals, quarterlies, newsletters, and program folders. These provide names, dates of birth and death, current addresses of descendants.
- Letters to the Editor, Ads, Document Submissions, Notices of Intent to Migrate, Legal Notices and Estate Sales, Responses to Correspondence from relatives, descendants, and other interested persons.
- Surname Indexes and Members Interests. Very helpful information published by genealogical societies in directories of member interests—their ancestors with life events and other genealogy data.
- Conference Surname Interests. Ancestors’ details collected from each attendee at the Conference—including persons who are not members of the local society.
- Local Genealogy Sources and Records. Periodicals include local sources, indexes, specific documents submitted by members, family Bibles, genealogies in progress.
A helpful Research Strategy–Search Genealogy and History Periodicals Page-by-Page: volunteer editors, and volunteer committees, sometimes a single dedicated genealogist, gathers information and writes it up for your benefit. Usually these are local people who reside in the area where your ancestors lived and died. They are familiar with how the surnames are spelled. They know where the ancestors lived. They may even attend the same church (or a new church on the same foundation) where your ancestors sat each Sunday morning.
Turn to these experts for help. Almost without exception, they can give you the Genealogy Answers you need. Consistently, their work enables you to build the right family tree. So, go to your nearest genealogy library and find an empty table where you can spread out. Start with volume one, first issue. Work your way through the publication, page-by-page, until you reach the current issue (or as far as the library has subscribed).
If there is an index, check it for the surnames and those subject and place entries you need. Even if the index is a good one, don’t stop here! Read the whole periodical, page-by-page.
Why spend the time to search page-by-page?
- What surnames are associated with that local area you might otherwise overlook?
- Do families still reside there who are related to the people you are searching for? Or, are family members who have moved away still interested in that place–still looking for ancestors you are also interested in?
- What records have been discovered and transcribed for you to use? Tax lists, account books of local stores, muster rolls kept by local captains, church records including membership lists, dismissals, and admissions, and especially, cemetery listings.
- New family histories, compiled by relatives unknown to you, reviewed by the editor and offered for sale–giving you the address and cost so you can order copies. Or telling you where copies have been deposited.
- Genealogies written just for the pages of that quarterly and not published anywhere else.
- Key facts and traditions about local families sent in by descendants, who hope their work will benefit others with the same ancestors.
- Important research underway that you need to know about, so you don’t look in the wrong place or collect the wrong people or overlook a migration pattern peculiar to that specific place.
These are just a few of the things you will gain by reading page-by-page. The time invested is well worth it. An index alone will not give you this essential background. Nor will it identify specific research published in that quarterly, because people who live in that area found it of interest. Watch for things which appear to be out of place. Remember that space is valuable so it is reserved for items of interest to subscribers who pay for those details. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Periodicals have been published since the 1600’s with genealogy details! Don’t overlook them.