Wouldn't it be nice if family historians could go to a single website and find links to every conceivable place to search for their roots?
The good news: There is such a place! Well, it might not have every conceivable place to search, but it comes darned close
The site is Cyndi's List (www.cyndislist.com). If a site's name fits into the alphabet and has to do with genealogy, Cyndi probably has the link. She describes her list as the starting point for searching online. That's truth in advertising.
The site is clean, bright, straightforward — and simple. Purple block arrows pop off the white page and quickly show the visitor what is available. Choices are Categories, Following Twitter, Facebook and Cyndi's List Blog, Mailing Lists, Browsing New Links, Submitting a New Link, Reporting a New Link and Updating a Link.
"Submitting a New Link" is a smart idea. One person (Cyndi) can't possibly keep up with every new website that goes online or would be helpful to a researcher. So she makes it simple for us all to suggest links to her.
And those who have run into links that don't work (and who hasn't?) will be happy to know it is easy to report those breakages to Cyndi, and she actually corrects them!
But it is the "Category" list that brings us to this list in the first place. It's hard to imagine a topic that hasn't found its way into this site. Whatever the research period, topic or place, there's something here for everyone.
For example, when a person makes the decision to begin family research, relationships and cousins of all degrees can be terribly confusing. Select the category "Cousins and Kinships." The site reveals a Category Index and Related Categories. It is so simple to explore the charts, definitions and general resources.
Other frustrations for new researchers are the strange weights and measurements not in use in the 21st century. And what about all the terms you find in legal land descriptions in the old deeds? Just scroll on down to the category "Weights and Measurements" and you're likely to find just what you need for your education.
Have you explored a community cemetery to find that lots of folks died in a given time period? Under "Medical & Medicine" and then "Epidemics & Plagues" you might find a clue to what caused widespread deaths.
A student once asked me if there really was a Cyndi behind this list. The answer is a resounding "yes!" She's Cyndi Howells, one of the most approachable, down-to-earth folks around the genealogy world today. One writer even labeled her the "Oprah of the Genealogy World." It's an apt title. So jump on her bandwagon, When you visit Cyndi you'll become one of more than 3 million folks who go to her site each month!
But you won't just be a Cyndi's List groupie, you'll be wiser and a better Internet researcher who will use her site on a regular basis!
Keeping up with apps in today's technological world isn't easy. In case you missed this one, Ancestry.com has an upgraded mobile app for iPhone, iPad and iPod. The app is available free at http://tinyurl.com/8xth3j4.
Registration is open for the 2012 National Genealogical Society conference that will be in Cincinnati from May 9 to 12. Those interested can get details and register at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration.
Researchers of all levels of expertise (or those just beginning with no expertise) can find something of value at this group's annual spring conference, but it will be especially valuable to those with ancestors who settled in Ohio and surrounding states.