Cyndi’s List: The Genealogy Mega-Portal Site Turns 20

Cyndi’s List without doubt is one of the top websites I use, but it is also one of the top ones worldwide for genealogy.

While when people think of the big names in genealogy, they automatically thing of Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and FamilySearch … right? But in my thinking, Cyndi’s List is just as important. No, it’s not a site that contains billions of records like the others, but rather a mega-portal site that can direct you places that may well have what you’re after.

Having known of Cyndi for years and years, it was a true honour to meet her in person for the first time in 2013 at RootsTech, and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch up with her several times since. She is not only a dear friend both personally and in the genealogy industry, but in my opinion I believe she has changed genealogy … or more specifically I should say, her website has.

Cyndi and me at RootsTech 2013

Cyndi and me (with a stupid face) at RootsTech 2013

In thinking about this post I was asking myself to describe in one sentence what what Cyndi’s List is, here’s just a few I came up with:

– It is one the the most important genealogy websites around, and everyone should be using it
– It is the mega-portal for genealogy (the stats speak for themselves)
– It has provided me with places to search, that I never would have known existed, and am therefore I am indebted to it
– and it has been a labour of love for the past 20 years by one women, Cyndi herself

Cyndi and I ceffeeing it up at Southampton, England prior to the 8th Unlock the Past cruise

Cyndi and I coffeeing it up in Southampton, England prior to the 8th Unlock the Past cruise, 2015
[photo used with the permission of Helen Smith]

On the 4th of March 1996 Cyndi’s List was born. It started as a list of 1025 top genealogy links which she had compiled for her local genealogy society, and by the end of the first year she was up to 9600 links divided into 50 categories.

Fast forward 20 years and this site now has a phenomenal 330,000+  links in 207 categories, and continues to grow daily.

What I find astounding is not only is this the work of one person, but also that her site is free, and in Cyndi’s words “it always will be”.  Her site is supported by advertising, and a donation button. And anyone who has used Cyndi’s List knows the true value of this website, and how hard it would be to do genealogy without it. So let’s spread the word about Cyndi’s List. Send in a link or two, or update one. And donate a little if you can.

If you’d like to follow Cyndi you can find her everywhere: FacebookTwitterGoogle+, Pinterest, and Mailing List. And you can read the official Press Release here.

Cyndi’s List is an integral part of genealogy worldwide.
Here’s to the next 20 years!


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