Since 1996, Cyndi Howells has single handily amassed a mammoth collection of genealogical links and is available online for use by anyone, anywhere, with no fee or subscription. It is called CyndisList with nearly 300,000 categorized links to every conceivable topic any researcher would be interested in, the site continues to provide an essential source for locating what information is out on the World Wide Web.
The site is an index of categorized and cross-referenced resources, which are all found on the Internet. When it began in March 1996 it had 1,025 links to genealogical web sites. By February of 1997 it had grown to 14,700 links covering 60 categories. In August 1999 there had been ten million visitors to the site. As the site grew, Cyndi did add part-time assistants for a few years to help with the location and set up of the newest links and categories, but it was still Cyndi‘s project. In March 2006, there were 242,672 categorized links and still growing in 2011. She continues to update the links and deletes any that are not working anymore. There is a “Search It!” with a search engine to assist in looking for surnames, locations or topics. Some 680 web pages with more than 180 unique categories exist and more are added all the time. By June 2011 she has transformed the site with a major upgrade into a database driven site which has made navigation much easier for the novice or the advanced researcher. She continues by herself the maintenance of the collection, review and sorting of the numerous links.This genealogical directory creation helps sort and organize the thousands of old and new family history databases, societies and web sites from around the world. The categories have sub-categories to help narrow in one’s search. Just to give you a meager sampling of the many categories, sub-categories and topics the following with the number of links comes from Cyndi’s List.United States: all states; and their counties; such as Florida with 3,096 links, California with 3,404 links, Pennsylvania with 4,935 links, Wisconsin with 4,700 links, Maine with 1,900 links, along with U. S. territories / Puerto Rico with 3,573 links.United States: all historical periods (Great Depression, Wars, Pilgrims, etc.)Countries and regions around the world: United Kingdom, Czech Republic, African continent, Scandinavian, Caribbean Islands, South America, China, Portugal, Canada, Australia, Lithuania, etc. Research topics: obituaries with 592 links, surnames, ports of entry, adoption, newspapers, passports with 52 links, census with 1774 links, military, death records with 569 links and deeds are a few of the categories, all with hundreds of links. There are the unusual topics or sources one might not even think of investigating, for instance: family myths, voter records, miners with 183 links, medieval times with 96 links, history of buildings, deciphering handwriting, prisons with 450 links, unique cultures, family reunions with 98 links, the Wild West with 144 links, recipes, postcards with 102 links and oral histories with 109 links.Overall, an important online directory the researcher will return to and use for years.