I can understand how you would be confused. Just as with any group, as genealogists we have our own language going on. These acronyms look like some fraternity like Signa Phi or Beta Theta Pi.
If you don’t know what these tools are, don’t worry. I’ll give you the details about each one. Let’s just say that if you’ve ever wanted to find a journal, manuscript, article in a periodical, or your ancestor’s name in a book, you should use these tools to search for it.
Now, don’t let your eyes roll back in your head in boredom. I promise this will be worth your time.
So what’s it all about (Alfie)? Here’s a translation:
WorldCat is a search engine that searches over 1.5 billion bibliographic items in 10,000 library catalogs throughout the world. You should register as a user or sign in before you begin your search because it will make it easier for you to find the actual work. You may search by surname, locality, topic, religion, or any other subject of interest. The search results will list items with your search terms, but you probably won’t be able to view the actual book. If you are signed in, the search results will tell you where copies of the book are located, starting with the copy closest to your home. You may also request the book on interlibrary loan if it is available from one of those repositories.
NUCMC is the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. NUCMC is a collection of known manuscripts and their location. You may search the NUCMC through WorldCat.
PERSI is the Periodical Source Index published by the Allen County Public Library (Indiana). PERSI was created as a way to index over 11,000 periodicals. Periodicals are the journals produced by genealogical and historical societies. Today the PERSI index is available online through Ancestry and HeritageQuest Online (see my sidebar for links). To find PERSI on the Ancestry website, go to Search – Card Catalogue, then in the search box for title put PERSI. You can search by Surname, by Locality, or by Research Methods. Be aware that PERSI is an index of TITLES, not the full text of the article. Once you find a title or subject you find pertinent to your search, you will need to retrieve a copy of the article. You can order copies from the Allen County Library for a small fee or contact the original publisher of the periodical and request a copy from that organization. You can read more about PERSI at the FamilySearchWiki.
JSTOR is a “trusted digital archive” of more than 1,000 journals and 1 million images in academic writings. To use JSTOR you will need to log on at a participating university or library.
Now, the next time you overhear some genealogists talking in what appears to be Greek speak, you can just jump right in and join the conversation!