Exploring Cyndi’s List

If you’re new to genealogy you may not have heard of Cyndi’s List.  If you’ve been doing genealogy for some time you may not have visited the website recently.  In either case, I urge you to check Cyndi’s List (cyndislist.com) often. The site is maintained by Cyndi Ingle and for over 20 years she’s been combing the Internet for genealogical sites to add to her site’s database.  This is a great service to the genealogical community.

Cyndi’s List is a comprehensive listing of just about every valuable genealogical or research site there is.  If you’re new to the site it may seem overwhelming but is easy to use. For example, if you’re looking for what’s on the Internet that pertains to Swedish genealogical research you can use Cyndi’s alphabetical listings and tap on S.  There you’ll find Swedish genealogy and by tapping on that you’ll come to a long list of sites which you can access by simply using the link. If you want to know what lineage societies exist you can find that as well as links to maps, vital records, cemeteries, and just about anything else you can imagine on the topic.

If you are a regular visitor to the site, you can simply hit the Browse New Links box and check to see if there is anything new in the area you’re researching.

One caveat — Cyndi’s List is free to use, which makes it a truly valuable site, but the links may take you to either free or fee-based sites, so watch out if you don’t want to pay fees.  You’ll also want to use caution in using sites that are not sourced or contain information you find questionable. We all know there are lots of great sites on the web and, unfortunately, lots of questionable ones as well. Cyndi offers up a smorgasbord of sites, but she doesn’t evaluate them for you.

Still, this is a great one-stop shopping site for genealogists of all stripes and abilities.  While search engines do a good job of locating material for you, nothing quite equals Cyndi’s List for the depth of offerings.  I don’t know the current number of sites she has listed, but a few years ago it was over 250,000, which is mind boggling. You can see why going to this website might locate sites for you that you might not know about.  I do recommend a visit and frequent checking to see what’s new.

If you happen to be visiting the Caribou Public Library, look for the genealogical display created by the Aroostook County Genealogical Society (the County).  They’ll be changing the exhibits over time. I also recommend you consider attending a meeting and get to know the friendly and helpful members of this group. If your roots are in The County or in neighboring Canadian provinces I can’t think of a better way to start your genealogical adventure. These are knowledgeable genealogists and they are always eager to offer a helping hand to newbies.

Happy researching, everyone.

Columnist Nancy Battick of Dover-Foxcroft has researched genealogy for over 30 years. She is past president of the Maine Genealogical Society. Reader emails are welcome at nbattick@roadrunner.com. Her semimonthly column is sponsored by the Aroostook County Genealogical Society which meets the fourth Monday of the month except in July and December at the Caribou Library at 6:30 p.m. Guests are always welcome. FMI contact Edwin “J” Bullard at 492-5501.

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