Today, let’s snack on a PERSI search. Believe me, if you haven’t tried this, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

PERSI is an index of articles in genealogy and local history periodicals around the world. The index was created by the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center, and they have copies of all of the periodicals in the index. For years, the PERSI index was in a collection of books in the Genealogy Center, but you can now search the index on

Don’t have an account? That’s ok. You don’t need one to do a PERSI search. And this can be very quick – with great potential for later research.

We’ll be working on a quick but significant list of specific things to spend time researching later.

PERSI listings rarely give an individual’s name unless there is an article title that includes that name – for example, a biography. So instead of using the Research Plan forms, you just need a place to keep a list. I’ve created a very simple one that you can download here, if you don’t want to take the time to create one of your own. I have designed the sheet to fit all of the information within the width of one landscape oriented page. If you have time today, I will list steps at the end of this post on how I quickly format the information to fit. But if you don’t have time for that, be sure to come back to this post and skip to the instructions at the end.

If this will be a new experiment for you, I’m going to give you one search to complete. Tomorrow, I’m going to post more about PERSI, but that would be for a day when you have more time to spend – not a Snack day.

Here’s the link which will take you directly to the search page: Findmypast – PERSI search

From the search page – enter your state and county toward the bottom of the search form. Note: When you begin to type, a suggestion will appear below where you are typing. If you don’t click on that pop-up, your filter may not be included. If no suggestions appear as you begin typing, then there are no filter terms with that criteria.


Every article you are seeing in this list has been tagged by the Allen County Genealogical Library staff as having something to do with the county you have entered. You are probably seeing quite a few articles in periodicals you never would have thought to look at before.

In the upper right corner, you can decide how you would like to view your list: Relevance, Article Title, Subject, Periodical or Publication Year. If you are using Excel to track your articles, you can always sort these later.

Because we are just in collection mode, we will make a list of every article now and take time to look at them later.


You can highlight all of the information on the page at a time by clicking at the the beginning of the first article and dragging your cursor all the way to the bottom. Copy it and paste it into your tracking document. Use the numbers at the bottom of the list to go through every page in your PERSI list and copy and paste the information for every article.

Tomorrow, we’ll dig into what we can do with the list but for now, we’re just collecting information for later when we have time for a larger “Meal”.

If you have a Findmypast account and your search resulted in a long list of articles that you don’t have time to look through, click on the “Save Search” button on the left. You will be able to find the same list of articles when you come back to the site under the “My Account” button in the upper right corner.

If you are using my Excel form for your list, here are the list of things I did to format everything so that every row fits on one page. It allows everything to fit and prints out nicely and it takes under 5 minutes.

  • In the right column, you probably see the word “Index” all the way down. Highlight those cells, but keep the header row and click “Delete”.
    (I like to use this column for checkmarks after I print out my list and I find and look at a record. There is actually a white period in the header row to force the column to print with the gridlines.)
  • Highlight all of the cells except the Header row.
    • Change the Font to Arial and the size to 8.
    • Click the arrow next to the bucket icon and change the color to “No Fill”.
    • Click the “Wrap Text” button.
    • Click the down arrow beneath “Format” and click “AutoFit Row Height”.