Genealogical education is constant. Our primary form of education is
through hands-on research experience. But we also learn by attending conferences
and institutes, completing online and home study courses and reading genealogical
magazines and journals. Part I
of this series focused on the online and home study courses, and Part
II detailed the national conferences and institutes.
This final segment addresses our most consistent method of self-education
reading. Nearly twenty years ago, my genealogy mentors strongly
urged me to read, read, read. They told me not only to read reference
books from cover-to-cover, but to study the case studies presented in
scholarly periodicals, regardless of surname, time period, or geographical
focus. Their advice turned out to be the biggest factor in developing
my research knowledge and skills.
Todays genealogical magazines abound with research tips, how-to
articles, case studies, book reviews, and record abstracts. Some magazines
are slick full-color productions published by big corporations, and others
are simple quarterly journals compiled and published by genealogical societies.
But regardless of the size or appearance, there is something to learn
in nearly every publication.
Genealogical periodicals can be categorized into six types:
Below are examples of each type with links to subscription information.
Some of the magazines listed below have cumulative indexes at their Web
sites, sample articles, or tables of contents for current and/or past
||Founded in 1847, the oldest genealogical periodical,
publishes scholarly articles on the British and European noble and
royal lines of New England colonists.
American Genealogist (known as TAG)
||Founded in 1922, covers early immigrant families throughout
the American Colonies, with emphasis on New England.
Record published by NYG&BS (New York Genealogical
& Biographical Society)
||The Record was founded in 1870, making it the
second-oldest genealogical journal in the United States. Their articles
focus on families that lived in New York State before 1900. Often
contains compiled genealogies of immigrants, continuing for three
to five generations.
Family Tree Connections
||Research in Australia and New Zealand.
||The worlds largest circulation magazine devoted
to Jewish genealogy. Contributing editors from fifteen countries regularly
write for the magazine.
Family History News
|| Since 1996, each issue focuses upon a specific province
of Canada. Information on how to order back issues can be found on
their Web site.
of Family Associations by Elizabeth Petty Bentley
||Lists approximately 6,500 family associations. Many
of the associations publish surname newsletters or journals.
The above list is merely the tip of the iceberg. According to Kory L.
Meyerink in his chapter, "Genealogical Periodicals" in Printed
Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records (Salt Lake City:
Ancestry, 1998), there are over 3,000 genealogy periodicals in North America.
Genealogical periodicals not only educate with their case studies and
how-to articles, but many magazines also include indexes and abstracts
to records. Finding Ancestors in Periodicals
will guide you through research strategies.
I remember reading an article about twenty years ago titled, "Periodicals:
The Goldmine of Genealogy." The author was right. The goldmine is
still rich with material and is the mainstream of education. If you want
to be successful in your research, subscribe to periodicals pertinent
to your research and read, read, read.