Monday, June 13, 2011

Research Tip : Genealogical Magazines Serve As Family History Tools

As a librarian and family historian, I've learned the value of reading genealogical magazines and periodicals.  Here I can find the latest news in the genealogical community, read about new publications, stay abreast of the latest online resources, explore case studies, and continue to educate myself in research methodology and search tips.

Granted, there aren't as many magazines as their used to be, as some publications have struggled and were discontinued.  Most of us remember The Genealogical Helper, really the pioneer in the field of family history news magazines, having been published since the 1940's and discontinued only a few years ago.  Another good one was Heritage Quest magazine which was discontinued not long before that.  Both publications had a lot of "meat" and are still missed by their readers.

Today, the field has been whittled down to a handful of titles, and they are all valuable in their own rite.  Our library continues to subscribe to these magazines and make them available to our library patrons:
  1. Family Chronicle (billed as the "How To" genealogy magazine)
  2. Internet Genealogy (focusing on online resources and published by Family Chronicle)
  3. American Ancestors (New England, New York and Beyond)
  4. NGS Magazine 
Following is a sampling of articles that have appeared in one of these issues:

  • Exploring Civil War Widow Pensions
  • Sharing Your Genealogy : The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!
  • Using OCR To Search City Directories By Address
  • Military Service in the 'War to End All Wars'
  • Top Websites For Irish Research
  • How Safe Is Your Genealogical Data?
  • A Genealogist's Guide to Seventh Day Baptists
  • Tracing Your Norwegian Ancestry
  • Digital Books Online
  • Treasures in Small Archives
  • Podcasts : Download Your Genealogy
  • Undiscovered Mayflower Lineages
  • Research U.S. Naval Service During the War of 1812
  • Chancery Court Files : A Rich Resource
  • Black Homesteaders
  • A Guide to Voter Registration Records
  • Cemetery Research in Italy
As you can see, there are no geographical or topical bounds to the subjects of these articles.   True, not all of the articles will apply to your research, but those that do may unlock doors to new records that you may not have ever considered.

None of these subscriptions of are overly expensive, but if your budget doesn't allow for them, don't forget your local library.  Back issues of all of these magazines are available for checkout by any of our card-holding patrons.  If you do choose to subscribe, your library would benefit from the donation of the issues as you are finished with them, or you might even consider making the donation of a subscription.

There will always be unanswered questions in our family trees, and because of that we have to continue to learn about new resources.  Genealogical magazines summarize these for us nicely.  This blog features only a few, but there are others.  Start your own genealogical article reference library, as I have, by copying select articles and keeping them in a notebook or file for quick reference.