Let’s Talk About: Periodicals..A Treasure Trove

Picture this scenario, if you will please.  James Brown is 55 years old and a Methodist circuit rider in very rural Wisconsin in about 1870. He felt “called” and loaded up his saddle bags on Old Nellie and set off to preach the gospel.  When Grandpa James was 75, and was a widower and getting somewhat feeble, he went to live with his daughter in St. Louis, Missouri. He had kept all his saddle-bag-books of his sermon notes and the baptisms and marriages he performed.  When he died, Daughter gathered up all his stuff (at his insistence) and carted them off, along with him, to her home in St.Louis. Years pass, James’ books and papers get “lost” in a box somewhere. Finally in about 1995, a granddaughter, who is very interested in her family history, stumbled upon the box and is delighted beyond words! Records written in her gggg-grandfather’s own hand! 

After the gggg-daughter enjoys and extracts information from Grandpa Brown’s records, she realizes the importance of them. They must be preserved and made available, she reasons. Ans she’s right. So she gives them to her local genealogical society and they publish abstracts from the records in their (Missouri) periodical. Obviously, far from Wisconsin! 

Why am I sharing this scenario/story? Because if James Brown was YOUR ancestor and you never knew where he died, and, more importantly, what happened to his religious records, you would be so happy to find out, wouldn’t you? 

The above image is from a family surname periodical, the Adams Agenda, this issue published in 1979. This publication contained mostly Adams-surname information but there were other goodies. I know you cannot read it, but catch this: “Genealogy of Capt. John Johnson,” or “Norris, Hackett, Prescott & Allied Families.” Or “Some Descendants of Philip Sherman.”

While a surname-oriented periodical might not be your best “bingo,” I know there is a St. Louis Genealogical Society which has a periodic publication. Might/could have James Brown’s Wisconsin records be published there, in St.Louis, Missouri? And, most importantly, would you think to look there for that information?

I really urge you to learn about PERSI (Periodical Source Index) and use it. This is where you’ll find indexed all the genealogy-related periodicals that the Allen County Public Library (aka Fort Wayne) could/can locate. Click to the FamilySearch.org/WIKI and ask for PERSI. Self-education will bring great rewards, I guarantee.