PERSI, aka the Periodical Source Index, may be about to go from
one of the best most-overlooked genealogy resources to one of the
Brightsolid, the British company behind findmypast.com and other
genealogy websites, has agreed with PERSI's creators
at the Allen
County (Ind.) Public Library (ACPL) to publish the index—and the company plans to make each index entry link to an image of the
article it refers to.
Let's back up for a minute and talk about PERSI: It's an index to
articles in thousands of genealogy and local history periodicals published in the US and Canada back to 1800. Any of which could contain information that
helps you with a family or place you're researching
The index was made searchable on
Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest Online (which has a more
recent version you can search at libraries that offer
HeritageQuest Online). You can run a search, and then if you
find an index entry that mentions a family or place of interest, you can order a copy
of the article from ACPL.
That's been the only way for you to access all those
genealogy periodicals. You know,
unless you want to subscribe to all of them, and then read them.
And then find the periodicals no longer in publication, and read
Until now. If brightsolid can secure permission from publishers,
findmypast.com subscribers will be able to search for articles
related to their ancestors, and then link to digitized images of
the articles. That can't happen soon enough as far as I'm
The US show "Who Do You Think You Are?" doesn't debut on TLC until
July 23, but you already can watch the first episode, featuring
singer Kelly Clarkson, on iTunes. Thomas
MacEntee of GeneaBloggers tells you how (you'll need to sign
up for an Apple ID if you're not already on iTunes).
This morning I watched along as Clarkson traced her Civil War
ancestor Isaiah Rose from Ohio to Georgia, where he was imprisoned
at Andersonville, and back.
Kelly Clarkson is a hugger. It seems weird to me to hug the archivists and historians at the library, but then I'm not a big hugger in general. If you're learning remarkable and humbling new stories about your ancestors, maybe hugging would be part of your genealogy happy dance.
I don't want to give too much away before the episode airs. So all
I'll say is that viewers get to visit the Andersonville National Historic Site, see historical illustrations and photos (including a shocking image of a man
who was held there), and hear a contemporary account from a prisoner.
To me, that's the best part of the show—you learn about the history that might have
affected your own ancestors and that shaped our country.
This was a totally unexpected find: I was casually searching
the Library of Congress
website for old images of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine
neighborhood, where several ancestors lived. This
photo popped up in my results:
The building closest to the camera was once my great-great-grandfather's cigar store and family home. The picture is part of a group of shots from the neighborhood, taken in 1982
for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). There's an
accompanying PDF document with history and architecture notes.
When I opened the giant high-resolution TIFF of the image, I saw
Do you see it, too? It's a "ghost sign"—the outline of some of the
letters from the store's "H.A. Seeger Cigar Manufacturer" sign. Here's a closer look at part of it:
My mom once drove us kids by the building, and we saw where the letters had been. I've often wished we took
a photo during that stop—the building's been renovated and
that ghost sign is gone. So this is an extra-special find.
This copy of a photo from my family collection shows what the sign
looked like back in the day:
In an earlier picture I've posted before, the sign's lettering was different and there was no street lamp or window on the first floor. If I can figure out when those updates happened, it'll help me date this photo.
Here's how found the photo: On the Library of Congress site, I searched for the term Cincinnati German and limited my
results to "Photo, Print, Drawing," like so:
The group of pictures was second in my search results. Not everything in the LOC catalog is digitized online, but luckily, these are. I knew
to click on it because the streets in the description are the
ones around the building.
You can learn more about finding, identifying and preserving old photos from
our Photo Detective Collection, with study materials from photo
historian Maureen A. Taylor and digital photography expert Nancy