Review: JPASS at JSTOR – A Valuable Resource for Genealogy

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

This past August, during the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in San Antonio, I stopped by the booth of a new vendor: JSTOR and discovered a wonderful new product called JPASS. I’ve known about JSTOR for some time now and have used the research service at libraries and archives.

What is JSTOR?

Before we get to my review of JPASS, here’s what you should know about JSTOR if it is unfamiliar to you. JSTOR (http://www.jstor.org) is a not-for-profit organization created to assist libraries and publishers and is comprised of a digital library created in 1995. The goal was to allow university and college libraries free up shelf space and save money by digitizing content.

There are over 2,000 academic journals on the JSTOR database covering many different topics, many which will interest genealogists and family historians. Currently, JSTOR is available for free in over 9,200 institutions worldwide.

Will you find genealogy records on JSTOR? No, but you will find articles and materials that provide you with background information and can assist your research. An example, using my own research: articles on the Huguenots that settled in New Paltz, New York. I wanted to know why they arrived in New Paltz and why they left France (migration push and pull causes) and other information about their daily life.

JPASS – JSTOR Access at Home and On the Go

JPASS (http://jpass.jstor.org/) is a product from JSTOR that allows for personal access to approximately 1,500 journals in the JSTOR database. This means not having to trek down to the library to pull that article that I need. Or, if a research question pops into my head, I don’t need to write it down and wait for my next visit to the library.

As JSTOR advertises on its site: “JPASS gives you access to more than 1,700 academic journals on JSTOR. If you don’t have access to JSTOR through a school or public library, consider JPASS your personal digital library.”

JPASS is available in one-month and one-year plans and with the one-month plan (which I was given access to for this review), you get unlimited online reading access and you can download up to 10 articles a month (120 articles with the one-year plan). You also can create a MyJSTOR account so you can access JSTOR 24/7 from any device. What I like most about the MyJSTOR feature is the ability to set up alerts for specific search terms and I can save citations as well.

The Basics

Here is what you get when you purchase JPASS from JSTOR:

  • Pricing is $19.50/month which is good for short term projects. You get unlimited reading and you can download a total of 10 PDF articles per month.
  • Save by upgrading to a one year plan at $199, with the same unlimited reading and allowing you to download 120 PDF articles per year. You can use downloads at your own pace, meaning that with the one-year plan you are not rationed to 10 PDF articles per month.
  • JSTOR provides a full refund on JPASS within two weeks of purchase if no more than 10 downloads are used.
  • The monthly plan does not automatically renew and if you don’t renew, you still have access to the PDFs downloaded via MyJSTOR.
  • With MyJSTOR (https://www.jstor.org/action/registration) you can receive free, read-only access to as many as three articles at a time for a 2-week minimum. Where available, users may purchase articles after reading.

JPASS: Easy to Use and Hard to Stop

I started using JPASS by researching my Huguenot ancestors in New Paltz, New York (Hugo Freer was my 9th great-grandfather). So I enter the search query and press the search icon:

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

There were 51 results which I perused. Results are broken down into category using the Journals, Books and Pamphlets tabs:

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

Next, I clicked on an article title to get more information and to view the PDF online.

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

Once I decided that this was an article I wanted to download, I clicked View PDF and a confirmation dialog appeared:

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

I recommend not checking the “Don’t show . . .” option since the dialog tells you how many downloads you have remaining. And here is what the downloaded PDF looks like:

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

Another great feature is ability to mark articles using Save Citations:

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

I like being able to access the articles I have already read online at JSTOR. For my recent article Hiding Out in the Open: Researching LGBT Ancestors, I read several articles related to gay history and saved them for later review.

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers reviews JPASS by JSTOR and its uses for genealogy research

More from JSTOR

Want to use JSTOR for free at your local library or archive? Visit JSTOR’s Library – Institution finder (http://about.jstor.org/jstor-institutions) to find a location near you.

And here’s a neat feature: JSTOR Daily (http://daily.jstor.org/) is the JSTOR blog featuring unusual and interesting articles. Add it to your RSS feed reader or sign up for their bi-weekly newsletter to stay on top of the latest developments with JSTOR and JPASS.

Try JPASS for Free!

You can request a free 10-day trial by visiting http://jpass.jstor.org/freetrial. The free trial includes the following:

  • Unlimited reading access to more than 1,700 journals across the humanities, social science and science journals in the JSTOR archive for 10 days.
  • 3 complimentary article downloads that are yours to keep even after the 10 days are over.
  • Opportunity to sign up for a monthly or annual JPASS plan!

Conclusion

I highly recommend the JSTOR database if you are visiting a library or institution; in addition, it is well worth your time and money to try JPASS for at least one-month! I was amazed at what I found to help my research and as I’ve said, it is so easy to get lost in the many different journals and articles. As a result of using JPASS, I’ve been able to supplement my own genealogy research and better understand how my ancestors lived as well as what records they left behind.

* * *

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: The Invisible History of the Human Race

The Invisible History of the Human Race

In The Invisible History of the Human Race author Christine Kenneally has written an engaging story of how DNA, history, culture and environment have all come together to make each of us unique. Readers will appreciate the great storytelling that Kenneally offers whether it is related to Australian convict records, to DNA testing methodologies, or to how the Mormons grew to become so involved with genealogy.

What the author has crafted is a narrative of approachable science especially since advances in DNA testing and research have occurred so rapidly over the past 15 years. Kenneally’s chapters discussing Huntington’s Disease, Tay-Sachs Disease and the Melungeons stand out and get the reader to understand the ramifications of DNA testing today and in the future. The author gets at the heart of what we pass down from generation to generation and how DNA testing can now help us better understand not just the genetic code, but other influences such as environment, diet, culture and more.

For those who’ve been in the genealogy community for the past five to ten years, you will recognize many of the names mentioned in the book. Kenneally attended several genealogy conferences around the world, including RootsTech, as part of the research process. While I am familiar with the work and writings of these experts, it is always nice to see their offerings made available to those new to genealogy and DNA, one of the targeted audiences of The Invisible History of the Human Race.

If you have friends and family who don’t understand your obsession with genealogy and now your new obsession with DNA, The Invisible History of the Human Race would make the perfect gift, especially with the upcoming holiday season.

Conclusion

The Invisible History of the Human Race offers a first rate lesson in the history of genealogy, genetics and DNA for the lay reader. If I were to recommend this book to a friend, I’d say “Come for the DNA lesson and stay for the great overview of history and science that has made you that unique person that you are right here and right now.”

* * *

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: Goldsborough Families – Descendants of Charles Worthington Goldsborough and Ruth Arilla Redfearn

Goldsborough Families - Descendants of Charles Worthington Goldsborough and Ruth Arilla Redfearn

Recently at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2015 conference in San Antonio, Texas, I had the pleasure to meet author Karen Merrill Martin who has recently published Goldsborough Families – Descendants of Charles Worthington Goldsborough and Ruth Arilla Redfearn. When I was asked to review the book, of course I said “Yes” because I’m always curious to see how other genealogists take years of research to produce a published work.

What Martin has produced is not only an excellent example of self-publishing by a genealogist, but Goldsborough Families is a thoroughly engaging read filled with photos and compelling family stories.

Goldsborough Families – A Solid Read

As someone who teaches self-publishing in the genealogy industry, when I review a book I have a mental checklist of items that should be included and Martin has all bases covered. In fact, she’s added a few things that caused me to say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” such as a front section entitled “Conventions, Abbreviations and The Like.” Here the author explains to the non-genealogy reader the Modified Register format for labeling and numbering individuals. Also included are abbreviations that any genealogist would know, but perhaps not a family member reading the book.

Martin details the lives of six generations of Goldsborough family members, offering photos, transcriptions of newspaper articles and obituaries, all with source citations at the end of each generation section. While many family history books follow this format, I can tell that the author took extra care in selecting the best photos with high resolution and also arranged all elements about an ancestor to tell a solid story for each.

The stories are wonderful and enjoyable to read – even if they aren’t my own relations! What Martin has produced in Goldsborough Families is a fine example of what every self-published genealogy book should be.

Conclusion

At 401 pages, Goldsborough Families is a substantial family history book and genealogy societies and libraries will definitely want to get a copy for their patrons. Individuals will also benefit from the book, not only for research linked to these families, but also as an example of what can be done with years of genealogy research.

Please visit Karen Merrill Martin’s website at http://karenskuzins.weebly.com/ for more information about Goldsborough Families – Descendants of Charles Worthington Goldsborough and Ruth Arilla Redfearn and how to purchase your copy.

* * *

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.