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Genealogy and Family History: Peer-Reviewed Academic Journal Articles

A guide to assist those interested in starting a family history project.

What Is a Peer-Reviewed Article?

Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.

Publications that don't use peer review (Time, Cosmo, Salon) just rely on the judgement of the editors whether an article is up to snuff or not. That's why you can't count on them for solid, scientific scholarship. --University of Texas at Austin

Databases with Peer-Reviewed Genealogy Articles

The databases listed in this Research Guide are available only to Truckee Meadows Community College students, faculty and staff. You will need your TMCC credentials (Username and Password) to access them off-campus.

In most of these databases, you must check Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, usually before you click Search, or modify the search after you have received your results.  Check with the Reference Librarian to determine if a journal article is peer reviewed.

Academic Journals - Know the Difference

While the terms "Academic" and "Scholarly" can often be interchanged, EBSCO uses them as follows:

  • Academic Journals: EBSCO defines academic journals as journals that publish articles which carry footnotes and bibliographies, and whose intended audience is comprised of some kind of research community.

    It is a broad classification that includes both "peer-reviewed" journals as well as journals that are not "peer-reviewed" but intended for an academic audience.

  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals: Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals are journals that are intended for an academic audience and are peer-reviewed.

    EBSCO has established specific guidelines for what we consider a peer reviewed journal. For more information, please see: What are Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) publications?

While the "peer-reviewed" classification is applied at the title level, "article type" information is provided for all articles contained in a given issue. Presenting users with "article type" enables them to become aware that even though a journal may be considered "peer-reviewed," non-peer-reviewed content such as reviews and editorials may well be included in the publication.

Open Access Genealogy Journals

Sample Peer-Reviewed Journal Article

This sample peer-reviewed article is from EBSCO's Academic Search Premier database.

The search term used is "genealogy."  The Peer-Reviewed (Scholarly) box is checked.

EBSCO provides a citation for the works cited or references page of a paper. Simply click the Citation list icon in the menu on the left side of the article summary to get a list of citations in various formats.

Here is a sample of a genealogy journal available in Ebscohost:

Maine Genealogist & Biographer (available in the American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals collection, full text from 9/1/1875 - 12/1/1877)

Genealogical Sketches of the Descendants of John Hastings of Cambridge, 1643