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Cyndi’s list is a starting point for anyone beginning their genealogy research. It categorizes a range of genealogy websites so you can find the right one easily The site also offers a mailing list, links to useful resources and a genealogy shop.
CyndisList.com doesn’t allow you to research your genealogy, per se, rather it provides links to research sites which it thinks might benefit your research. The first thing to do is to check the genealogy categories that are available. These are split in a variety of ways: countries, ethnicities, websites, resource types and more. For example, you could find websites which specialize in Cajun and Creole lineage, or African-American genealogy sites. Alternatively you might prefer websites which focus on newspaper research, or those which sell useful genealogy texts.
Once you’ve found the right category, this then splits further into an index of the various documents available, from birth marriage and death certificates, to immigration and migration documents. Again, you choose the category you’re interested in, and are then presented with a list of suitable sites.
Each suggested website comes with a brief description, which is useful in helping you to distinguish one from another. It also lets you know if original links are broken and if you will be redirected, so you can quickly eliminate websites which proved vacuous.
The site’s shop works in a similar way, allowing you to find resources using external websites. However, you cannot search for particular items, rather you just follow links to other websites and Cyndi’s List makes a little money on affiliate fees.
If you join the free mailing list, you’ll receive updates on new genealogy sites or changes, as well as tips and recommendations. Alternatively, you can visit CyndisList to check for updates and new links.
It might be useful if Cyndi’s List provided reviews of each website, as it can be hard to tell how reliable each suggested site is, or whether they’re just listed because they happen to have particular records. There’s no quality assessment, which makes it a little hard to decide whether or not to try a site, or how reliable its information may be.
This site also provides very few tools and not a great deal of advice, which is unusual considering it’s set up for people who are new to genealogy research. Since (we assume) the site’s team are quite experienced at this kind of research, it would be useful if they provided a guide of some sort, both to research in general and to their favorite sites.
Cyndis List is a free resource, aiming to help you find websites which can support your research. However, it does little beyond this. If you’ve hit a dead end on your path to genealogical enlightenment, this site could prove useful, but it won’t help if you wish to use it exclusively.
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