26 July 2014

Origins of a Letter

     A few years ago, I received a copy of an article that transcribed a letter written by Frank E Leaphart, my 3rd Great-Grandfather and a Civil War soldier.  It was unclear where the article was published - a book, a magazine? - or where the original letter was stored - an archive, by an individual? - or if there was any information in the publication aside from the letter.  I've been trying to find the origins of the letter ever since receiving it.

   I recently picked up the July/August issue of Family Tree Magazine which included the article "Better Together."  It explains the collaboration between FindMyPast.com and the Periodical Source Index (PERSI).  Before reading this article, I had heard of both of these, but hadn't used either.  But I was intrigued by the idea of PERSI, which is an index of genealogical magazines and journals, many of which have been digitized.  So I went to search.findmypast.com/search/periodical-source-index and did a surname search for "Leaphart," which turned up five results (I started with Leaphart because it's a local variation of Liebhardt and if I find it, I know it's my family).  To my absolute surprise, one of those results was "F. E. Leaphart Civil War letter to wife Julie, 1863."  My letter!

     When I clicked on the article, I was met with a payment wall.  Do I pay? First off, my article has not been digitized.  Secondly, on the search page, I am given the name of the article, the periodical title and the publication year.  This is enough to find the article, but not enough to do so easily.  I could contact the periodical personally and request back issues or assistance looking up the article - but how often do they publish? Monthly? Quarterly?  That's potentially a lot of issues to purchase.  They might not even be in business anymore.  So I went ahead and purchased a single month subscription to FindMyPast.com in order to access the full results.

     As I said, particular article was not digitized, but that's ok.  Now that I'm past the pay wall, I have information on the exact volume that the article is published in.  I can use his information to fill out a form (pdf) to request up to six articles at a time for a fee of $7.50, plus 20¢ per page.  And I very quickly found six articles to request - this is a treasure trove!  I'll be waiting excited for the articles that I requested and will probably find a more to request in the mean time.


JudyWebster said...

Interesting! Thanks for reminding me to take a closer look at PERSI with my FindMyPast subscription.

Magda said...

This is a great TIP for all genealogsts that always forgotten !



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