The American Genealogist was begun in 1922 by Donald Lines Jacobus (1887–1970) as the New Haven Genealogical Magazine. The first eight volumes consisted primarily of the editor’s alphabetical compendium of “Families of Ancient New Haven.” When that project was completed, the journal became, with the July 1932 issue, The American Genealogist and New Haven Genealogical Magazine. It was dedicated to the elevation of genealogical scholarship through carefully documented analyses of genealogical problems and through short compiled genealogies. In 1937 the subtitle was dropped, and the journal became simply The American Genealogist, usually abbreviated as TAG.

After forty-three years as Editor and Publisher, Donald Lines Jacobus was succeeded in 1966 by George E. McCracken (1904–1986) of Des Moines, Iowa. In 1984, Dr. McCracken was succeeded by Robert Moody Sherman (1914–1984) and Ruth Wilder Sherman (1929–1992) of Warwick, Rhode Island. David L. Greene of Demorest, Georgia, who had assisted Mrs. Sherman as coeditor since 1984, succeeded her in 1993. In 2015, TAG returned to Rhode Island in the hands of its sixth Editor and Publisher, Nathaniel Lane Taylor of Barrington, Rhode Island, assisted by coeditors Joseph C. Anderson II of Dallas, Texas (since 1999), and Roger D. Joslyn of New York City (since 2014). All the editors are Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists [FASGs].

The present editors will continue TAG’s independent status and strive for the high standards which have been the hallmark of the journal since its founding.