The Toolkit: Journals Gone Digital

By Rick Crume Premium

Although it’s a tremendous resource, the Periodical Source Index doesn’t catalog every name in every journal, and most citations on HeritageQuest Online won’t link to digitized articles for some time. Fortunately, every-name indexes and digital images of several major genealogical journals already have been published online and on CD-ROM. Altogether, these resources let you search quickly through millions of names in thousands of pages. (Unless otherwise noted, the CD-ROMs are available for both PCs and Macs.)

The American Genealogist Index: Each issue of The American Genealogist features well-researched family histories. This CD-ROM (PC only) indexes 172,513 names in volumes 9 to 41 (1932 to 1965). It’s from Picton Press <>.

The Complete Mayflower Descendant: All 46 volumes of the Mayflower Descendant plus the first five volumes of Pilgrim Notes and Queries reference a total of about 200,000 names. You can get both journals on CD-ROM ]from <>, or access them online as part of that site’s Genealogy Library subscription ($9.99 per month, $49.99 per year).

National Genealogical Society Quarterly: The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has digitized every page from the first 85 volumes of its journal (published between 1908 and 1997), including research guides, compiled family histories and an index of names. You can access the collection online through’s Genealogy Library subscription, or purchase the CD-ROM from the NGS bookstore <>.

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register: The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) <> has digitized the first 148 volumes (published from 1847 to 1994) of its quarterly journal. In addition to in-depth articles on history and genealogy, you’ll find transcriptions of obituaries and cemetery, church, tax, land, Bible and vital records — plus an index of names. Online access to this and other resources is a benefit of NEHGS membership, which costs $75 per year. You also can read some back issues of the NEHGS Nexus newsletter and New England Ancestors magazine on the Web site.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record: Still a work in progress, this CD-ROM collection will contain digital images of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s (NYG&B) <> quarterly journal. The first two discs, covering 1870 to 1899 and 1900 to 1915, are now available and include compiled genealogies of New York families, transcriptions of New York sources and book reviews.

The NYG&B also offers Worden’s Index to The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 1870-1938 on CD-ROM. It lists more than 1 million names. The society expects to complete its CD-ROM collection by the end of this year.

The Virginia Genealogist:This CD-ROM contains every page from the first 27 volumes (1957 to 1983) of the quarterly, as well as an index to names and subjects. It’s from Willow Bend Books <>.

William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine: Visit <> for text from the first 27 volumes (1892 to 1919) of this journal, as well as indexes to volumes 1 (A to L) and 2 (A to Z).
From the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine.