No I haven’t been browsing the top shelf of my local newsagents (!), I have just finished reading a good article in the January Who Do You Think You Are? magazine about this publication which started life in 1731 and ceased publication in 1922. The idea of the magazine was to produce a monthly digest of news, commentary and, of great interest to genealogists, announcements of births, marriages and deaths, appointments and promotion amongst the clergy and armed forces.
The magazine was aimed at the upper classes and that is who features amongst the bmd’s and appointments so don’t expect to find your ag lab or small farmer much amongst the pages unless they committed some frightful crime in which case they may be given considerable attention!
I have used the Gentleman’s Magazine with regard to various of my ancestral families and had some good results.
The magazine is available at several places on the internet, not all of them seem to have complete runs so a surname search of each might be a good idea. Be aware that these magazines will have been indexed using OCR and that isn’t always 100% reliable. The magazine has had indexes published over the years which are more reliable and they can be found online.
Wikipedia offers a good overview of the magazine’s history and is well worth reading before you embark on searching the publication.
Those with subscriptions or free 14 day trials at Ancestry can find magazine excerpts 1731 – 1868 in their databases. The Bodleian Library at Oxford offers a number of historic journals including The Gentleman’s Magazine online.
Google Books has a good selection and some of the indexes, Archive.org offers 618 results on a search for Gentleman’s magazine, I see that some entries on the front page of results directs you to Google Books, but there are other entries from alternative sources.
The Hathi Trust, which I had never heard of before, has all the volumes 1736 – 1849 and the indexes, they are scanned and online. This seemed to be the best source. I think I shall have to return to the Hathi Trust website and spend some time seeing what is there as it looks as if it has great possibilities as a genealogical resource.