Sunday, March 03, 2013

Church Record Sunday Meets Women's History Month 2013: Relief Society Magazine

Resources for Researching Your Female Ancestor, Day # 3

**Note from Gena: The following Church Record Sunday is from October 2011. It seemed appropriate to run it again for Women's History Month. Information in the post has been updated.

Churches publish many different kinds of periodicals, brochures, leaflets, books and tracts. In some cases, the publications were meant to spread the gospel to non-members and others were/are  publications meant for members that may include the names of everyday individuals. These publications, rarely indexed, provide a place for descendants to look for information about their ancestor. One ancestor of mine was a member of the Salvation Army in the late 1800s. It was through searching microfilmed copies of the Salvation Army newspaper, The War Cry, that I was able to find a mention of him.

One example of a church periodical is The Relief Society Magazine printed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1915-1970. The magazine was later replaced by the Ensign which is read by adult members of the Church, both female and male. The Relief Society Magazine provided gospel doctrine information but also celebrated the accomplishments of the Relief Society and it's members. To read more about The Relief Society Magazine see the wiki article found here.

The great thing about this magazine is that it included pictures of individual members as well as their names. These names could be found throughout the magazine, in birthday congratulations, letters to the editor, a section entitled Notes from the Field and in small paragraphs about individual achievements.

An index to The Relief Society Magazine does exist. You can read more about the Index hereThe Relief Society Magazine Index was created by students at BYU.

Internet Archive and Google Books both have some digitized copies of The Relief Society Magazine. Several university libraries including BYU have copies of the magazine. You can search on WorldCat to find libraries with copies. You can also find issues for sale on eBay. I was able to purchase some from a Deseret Thrift Store in Southern California.

A book about the history of The Relief Society Magazine is entitled, A Legacy Remembered, 1914-1970. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1982.

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