PERSI (Periodical Source Index) is an invaluable index to thousands of genealogy related periodicals. It indexes titles, not full text, but through PERSI you can find articles that have a personal name,a location or a topic in the title. The announcement promises that “Findmypast.com subscribers will be able to search and view digitized images of the articles, allowing unprecedented access to the information contained in these periodicals.” (bolding mine)
Currently you can search PERSI at any library that owns the set of paper volumes (only current through the mid 1990′s) or online through Heritage Quest, a database that which is offered only through libraries. At this time the online index covers periodicals published as late as mid 2009. Many libraries subscribe to Heritage Quest; all Michigan residents have access through MEL (as well as your public library) and access is available at Family History Centers. (PERSI used to be available on Ancestry.com, but that is no longer the case. )
If you find an article you want to read, you can use a mail-in order form to get a copy from the Allen Co. Public Library. How wonderful to have a subscription that allows you to click through to an online image of the article. I decided to check into the status of this project.
An email to FindMyPast resulted in assurances that the database is one they hope to add in the future and advice to watch their news blog or social media for an announcement. I also emailed the Allen County Public Library’s reference staff and their reply was along the same lines, but included the encouraging words “very close to launching the index” and the very reasonable explanation that links to any given article will depend on having permission from the publisher.
Oh dear… another subscription to consider. In the past I ignored FindMyPast because I do little UK work. Even though it has U.S. content, there was not enough to make it a necessity. Will this change my mind? I’m going to wait and see what appears. A very nice feature of FindMyPast is that you can search for free, pay through a subscription or as you find items you want. So it will be easy to test it out.