Cyndi's List: A Must-Have In Your Genealogy Toolbox

references & resources tools & technology Mar 10, 2021

I started to write this post back in October 2020, but things got in the way and I never finished the post. Apparently, there was a reason to hold off...

You see, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Cyndi's List πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ I guess it was serendipitous that I waited until now 😁

So what is Cyndi's List? I consider Cyndi's List an information superhighway of all things genealogy on the Internet. It's essentially a free directory of links to genealogy resources and references all over the web. Currently, there are more than 317,000 links across 228 categories. That's a lot of stuff!

Cyndi's List is a great place to go for anything genealogy-related.  The best way to get started is to head on over and choose the Categories option from the menu on the left.

Here you'll find categories related to places, ethnicities, source/record types, and other topics. Choose a category, and then choose a sub-category to see the links to various resources and reference materials.

For example, if you are interested in learning more about Jewish genealogy, you would select the Jewish category. From there, you'll see sub-categories including How To, Newspapers, History & Culture, Maps & Geography, Holocaust, and more. Choose a sub-category to explore the resources/references associated with it.

Or maybe you're looking for some help on how best to conduct genealogy research. Check out the category Research Methodology. Are you interested in what your ancestors might have worn? Take a look at the references for the category Clothing & Costumes. The possibilities are endless!

You can also search for links using the search box in the header of any page. This is not my preferred method because I like to head to a category and explore. BUT, it can help you figure out the category if you're stumped. For example, when I looked through the categories for indentured servants, there is no category listed...or is there? When I conducted a search for indentured servants, I actually learned that they category under which it is filed is Servitude: Indentures, Serfs, Apprentices, etc. Now I can head straight to that category and explore the sub-categories of interest.

Now, if you know me, you know that I am a big proponent of research planning to avoid rabbit holes. Cyndi's List is a great tool that can help you create a plan of action, but it can also distract you because there is so much cool stuff to explore. avoid spending hours roaming around (which I could totally do, and am guilty of!), I only head to Cyndi's List with a goal in mind. For example, maybe I want to check out what newspapers are available for Connecticut. Or, maybe I want to see what reference materials are available to learn more about researching indentured servants. Having a clear goal in mind will help you avoid spending hours wandering down a gazillion rabbit holes.

This take action prompt has two parts:

  1. Head over to the Cyndi's List Facebook page and post a message to Cyndi, congratulating her on 25 years of Cyndi's List and thanking her for her wonderful service to the genealogy community over the years.
  2. Think about your current research project. Are you working in a location that is unfamiliar? Do you need to work with records that are unfamiliar? Do you need to beef up on a skill such as evidence analysis? With one idea in mind, head over to Cyndi’s List and see what online resources are available. Share your discoveries on the discussion of this post on Facebook.

© Julie Tarr. This article was first published at Genealogy In Action; appearance of this article elsewhere, without my permission, violates copyright.