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What is a periodical? (Source:Wikipedia)


Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a published work that appears in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar examples are the newspaper, often published daily, or weekly; or the magazine, typically published weekly, monthly or as a quarterly. Other examples would be a newsletter, a literary journal or learned journal, or a yearbook. These examples are typically published and referenced by volume and issue. "Volume" typically refers to the number of years the publication has been circulated, and "Issue" refers to how many times that periodical has been published during that year.[1] For example, the April 2011 publication of a monthly magazine first published in 2002 would be listed as, "Volume 9, Issue 4." (Roman numerals are sometimes used in reference to the Volume number.) Periodaicals can be classifed into two types :popular and scholarly. The Popular periodicals are magazine and newspapers, like Ebony and Esquire. The scholarly periodicals are found in libraries and databases. examples are the Journal of Psychology and the Journal Of Social Work. Trade/ Professional journals are also examples of periodicals. They are written for an audience of professionals in the field. Trade journals can be a valuable source of genealogical information. Another example is college alumni association newsletter (often listed reports of achievements and deaths.)

These examples are related to the idea of an indefinitely continuing cycle of production and publication: newspapers plan to continue publishing, not to stop after a predetermined number of editions. A novel, in contrast, might be published in monthly parts, a method revived after the success of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. This approach is called part-publication, particularly when each part is from a whole work, or a serial, for example in comic books or manga. It flourished in the middle of the nineteenth century, for example with Abraham John Valpy's Delphin Classics, and was not restricted to fiction.


The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is to periodical publications what the ISBN is to books: a standardized reference number.

Postal Services

Postal services often carry periodicals at a preferential rate; for example, Second Class Mail[4] in the United States only applies to publications issued at least thrice per year.


Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers new to their area may not encounter. Periodicals at various levels (county, region, state, country, ethnic group) may carry articles useful to research in this area.

Information frequently includes small details about some places or some individuals not found in usual county history books or cemetery survey books.

Information might include:

  • Birth registers
  • Marriage registers
  • Death registers
  • Cemetery Burial records
  • Church records (baptisms, memberships, dismissals, marriages, lists of pastors, etc.
  • Town directories
  • Family histories


One source to consider when searching the periodicals is "PERSI" (PErsonal Source Index)

Major Periodicals


United Kingdom (UK)
  • The Genealogist
United States (USA)
  • NEHGR (New England Historical and Genealogical Register)
  • NGS Quarterly (National Genealogy Society)
  • TAG (The American Genealogist)
  • NYGBR (New York Genealogical and Biographical Record}


  • Everton's Genealogical Helper