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Gentleman's Magazine

Nature of Source

The Gentleman's Magazine, originally published as The Gentleman's Magazine: or Trader's Monthly Intelligencer, was founded in 1731 by Edward Cave. The monthly journal covered many aspects of social and political life. The magazine covered daily news events with reports on the major stories of the day and unusual events as well as providing daily weather summaries. Articles covered a wide variety of subjects including essays on towns and organisations providing a background to the lives of our ancestors. Many of the entries relate to the Jewish community.

Of particular use to family historians are notices of births, deaths and marriages taken from local newspapers. However, by the 1840s the magazine had changed in character and no longer carried items of genealogical interest and in 1868 stopped birth, marriage and death announcements. Helpfully each annual volume contained name indexes covering that year up until 1868. Other items of interest to the family historian included reports of court cases, disputed wills and inheritance and lists of bankrupts. After enjoying considerable success, the magazine declined in popularity and relevance from the late 19th century before finally folding in 1922.

Where Found

Society of Genealogists (Sets of The Gentleman's Magazine are to be found in the Middle Library)
British Library (Complete series)
The National Archives (Complete series with various indexes available)
Local reference libraries
LDS FamilySearch Centers (Microfilmed copies of the name indexes in 75 volumes compiled by the College of Arms)

Period Covered

1731 - 1922

Genealogical Value

Details of births, marriages, deaths, obituaries and bankruptcies. Includes the names & addresses of individuals.

Further References

De Montluzin, Emily Lorraine. Daily Life in Georgian England as Reported in the Gentleman's Magazine: Mellen Press, 2002

Farrar, Robert Henry. An Index to the Biographical and Obituary Notices in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1780: British Record Society, 1891

Nangle, Benjamin. The Gentleman's Magazine Biographical and Obituary Notices, 1781-1819: An Index: Garland Publishing, 1980

Websites's_Magazine (Wikipedia: The Gentleman's Magazine) (Spartacus Educational: Gentleman's Magazine) (FamilySearch Research Wiki: Gentlemans Magazine) (British Library Collections: Gentleman's Magazine) (Museum of the Order of St John: The Rise and Fall of the Gentleman’s Magazine)

Online Databases (Internet Library of Early Journals, editions from 1731-1750 available to search or browse for free) (SoG Data Online: Gentleman's Magazine Index, 1731-80. Members of the Society of Genealogists are able to view these records for free via their existing membership. Non-members can carry out free surname searches but will need to join the society to view the full record details) (The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868) (Midlands Historical Data: Annual series and indexes)

Editions of the magazine can be viewed or downloaded online at Google Books and the Internet Archive.

CD Roms

Archive CD Books (Topographical articles edited and indexed into county specific volumes republished by George Gomme in 1891)
Midlands Historical Data (Annual series and indexes)