Cyndi's List Review
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Cyndi's List has become a genealogical institution. This vast, extraordinary website is run by the amazing Cyndi Howells, genealogy obsessive and family-loving, all-American mom. Predominantly purple in colour, with shadowy red oak leaves scattered around each page, it's friendly, chatty and personal in what most UK users will think a very American style. BUT, listing as it does every genealogy website she knows, it's an absolute mine of information. At the time of writing Cyndi is receiving hundreds of emails every day. She has posted over 180,000 sites and has welcomed over thirty million visitors.
The links available from this site are almost too numerous to comprehend, so the best starting point is probably Frequently Asked Questions. Under 'Why do you do all this?', Cyndi answers, 'because I have fun', and also neatly explains what Cyndi's List is: '… the internet is like a library with its books strewn all over the floor. I guess I'd like my list to be the card catalog for the genealogy section of that library.'
Husband Mark has put together what UK users may well find is one of the most useful parts of the site. 'Researching Ancestors from the United Kingdom' (his picture's available under 'About Mark Howells' at the end of the article) is a seven-page run-down of how to get going, which you may find worthwhile to print off. To find this, go to FAQs, then Personal Questions (bottom of page), then Mark and Cyndi's Family Tree, then Mark's Research, Including the UK & Ireland, and, finally, to the required article.
Overall, the site would have merited five stars in every category, except that Cyndi herself gives several very sensible warnings about trusting the information supplied, as it is simply not possible for her to check the reliability of everything submitted.
Cyndi's List Category Indexes & Search Engine offers her entire list of websites sorted in a number of different ways, such as in a 'No-Frills' form, by alphabetical order or by topics,a useful first method of sifting through this vast resource.
Scroll down the homepage for the Main Index, or choose to search in one the ways offered by the list on the top-right-hand of the home page:
Topical Index is perhaps the simplest way to get on top of the sheer number of sites listed, breaking them down into the following useful categories, each of which is further subdivided:
o Localities (it is worth checking out both United Kingdom and the separate countries. For example, England will also lead you to a very useful list of county-specific links).
o Ethnic Groups and People
o Immigration, Emigration and Migration
o Research Tools and Reference Materials
o Help from Others
o Computers and the internet
Other ways of viewing the links are:
Alphabetical Index, 'No Frills' index which omits update dates, descriptions or cross-referencing between categories.
Text Only Index is the quickest to load and navigate, and Search allows you do that if you prefer.
Browse the New Links details all the new sites submitted in the last three months.
CyndisList Mailing List gives details of how to become a subscriber, while How to Submit a New Link to Cyndi's List is self-explanatory.
Internet Stuff You Need to Know gives some very worthwhile warnings about such annoyances as spam, chain-letters, hoaxes and computer viruses, as well as helpful tips on terminology, netiquette, search engines and privacy issues.
Cyndi's Genealogy Home Page Construction Kit is just what it says: a guide to creating your own family tree homepage, with lists of free or reasonably priced page-hosting services, to putting your details into a GEDCOM format, designing a website either yourself or using a professional, and such important things as how to cope with updating and where to advertise your website.
Score - Cyndi's List scores a 8/10
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