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England Indexes to Magazines and Journals (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Education,Health and Contemporary Documents  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Indexes to Magazines and Journals[edit | edit source]

In general, publishers of magazines and journals have done a better job providing indexes to their periodicals than have newspaper proprietors. Many have annual or five-yearly indexes and they have been more comprehensive in their coverage of the contents. Where these are wanting then some archives, record societies or individuals have indexed periodicals. However it is worth noting that only the main characters would be indexed, not every individual mentioned in a report. When electronic searching is available this should always be done as well.

When an item is found in a magazine or journal it is worth searching newspapers and other periodicals relevant to the person concerned to see if other reports of the incident or event were published.
Some of the major union indexes to genealogical magazines are:

  • Smith’s Inventory of Genealogical Sources at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City and on fiches at your local FamilySearch Center:
  • England fiche 6110526 (96 fiches)
  • Ireland fiche 6110527 (18 fiches)
  • Scotland fiche 6110528 (18 fiches)
  • Wales fiche 6110529 (14 fiches)
  • PERSI – The Periodical Source Index at any FamilySearch Center is an index of all articles in over 7,000 English- and French-language genealogical periodicals from 1847-1990. Index for 1847-1985 is on GSU fiche 6016863 (40); that for 1986-1990 on 6016864 (15). Since 1991 the index has been published by Ancestry, a wonderful and under-used resource.
  • The Genealogical Periodical Annual Index (GPAI) published in Maryland, USA, includes 300 periodicals, and is available through public libraries.
  • Family History News and Digest mentioned above.

Finding Magazines and Journals[edit | edit source]

The British Union Catalogue lists all regular periodicals, except newspapers, held in British local collections as well as the British Library. Their department at Colindale has an enormous range of magazines, professional, trade and special interest journals. Other sources are the British Union Catalogue of Periodicals and The Times Tercentenary Handlist of English and Welsh Newspapers, Magazines and Reviews 1620-1920. There is an online entry point for finding out what magazines existed and their current counterparts.

Once you know what exists for your topic or area then you can search for copies at local public libraries (and InterLoan), university libraries, on the FamilySearch Catalog, and through other library catalogues online.

There is an Internet Library of Early Journals and OCR-searchable runs of:

  • ŸGentleman’s Magazine 1731-1750
  • The Annual Register 1758-1778
  • ŸPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 1757-1777
  • Notes and Queries 1849-1869
  • The Builder 1843-1852
  • Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 1843-1863


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Education,Health and Contemporary Documents offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.