Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Return to the beginning -- online genealogy resources

As the online genealogical community continues to grow and evolve, we need to sometimes remind ourselves of the our more humble online beginnings. What is more important is that some of these humble beginnings are still with us and have grown and become even more valuable. I would like to take a short trip down memory lane and point out some of the online golden oldies of genealogy that still need to be used and remembered.

Cyndi's List
First on my list is Cyndi's List. Cyndi Howells has been online with her comprehensive list of genealogical resources for over 18 years. This website has been growing steadily during those long years and now has 333,873 links to genealogy websites all over the world. As of the date of this post, Cyndi has 1146 new and updated links. This was a genealogical resource before we knew what online genealogy was all about. Here is the description of what this website entails quoted from her startup page:
What exactly is Cyndi's List?
  • A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
  • A list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.
  • A free jumping-off point for you to use in your online research.
  • A "card catalog" to the genealogical collection in the immense library that is the Internet.
  • Your genealogical research portal onto the Internet.
 To understand and gain an appreciation of what this one person has done for genealogy, you need to read the section that talks about Cyndi herself.

If you haven't used this resource or even if you haven't used Cyndi's List lately, I suggest it is time to get back to using this valuable and comprehensive list of genealogy websites.
I just wrote about very recently and so I will defer to my previous post about the details. The Internet Archive or was founded by an American computer engineer named Brewster Kahle. See Wikipedia: Brewster Kahle back in 1996. The Internet Archive is still going strong and although it is not specifically genealogical resource, the information in its massive digital files is extremely interesting and helpful to genealogical researchers. The mission of the Internet Archive is to provide "universal access to all knowledge." See Wikipedia: Internet Archive.

U.S. GenWeb
1996 was a significant year in the development of the Internet. Many of the original genealogically significant websites began about that time. the USGenWeb Project belongs in the that category. This is another of those extremely valuable websites that have continued in their development and usefulness, although I have seen few comments about the Project recently. Here is how the Project is described:
The USGenWeb Project consists of a group of volunteers working together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone. 
Organization is by county and state, and this website provides you with links to all the state websites which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties. The USGenWeb Project also sponsors important Special Projects at the national level and this website provides an entry point to all of those pages, as well.
I would suggest that if you are not familiar with this website, you certainly should be.

Another of the old websites that still keeps plugging along is Rootsweb.  This website also dates back to the early days of 1996 (or even before). However, the website was purchased by in 2000. It is a "free" website and has a huge amount of genealogical information. Originally, it was one of the foremost methods of posting genealogical requests for collaboration and help. It is still a very useful website if you ignore all the advertisements.

This list could go on. There have been some very persistent online blogs for example. If you have an old-time favorite, post a comment and let us know about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment