Monday, March 06, 2006


Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996
Subject: A New Web Site is Spun!

Cyndi Howells to CyndisList-L
Ten years ago, on March 4, 1996, I posted online my first attempt at a personal web site. Our personal site had our surnames, articles,and several other things that we planned to expand upon over time.
One small portion of the site was a list of links to genealogy web sites. It was one web page with more than 1,000 links. I had no idea that I had just created a monster that would take on a life of its
own. Since that time I have been the coyote, and Cyndi's List has been the roadrunner--taking me on a frantic chase to try and keep up with it, while also periodically dropping a virtual anvil on my head.

The original announcement was posted on Roots-L Tue, 5 Mar 1996 with the subject line: "A New Web Site is Spun!" In that message I bragged: "The many resources include:...a categorized list with over 1,000 links to genealogy Internet sites."

I had no way of knowing how big this little list was going to become, or what impact it would have on my life.

Since that day ten years ago life has not been dull. My son, Evan, was born (8 years old now). I've been through 5 computers and written three books. The site gained a corporate sponsor and then lost it three years later when Sierra sold the genealogy division. I have had the wonderful experience of traveling and speaking to hundreds of genealogy groups about this engrossing hobby of ours. Travel and trips have now been curtailed by family illnesses, but a break there means more time on the web site again. The ups and downs of running a site of this magnitude have worn me out often. But about the time I want to throw up my hands and run away
I get a big lift from one of the thousands of visitors to my site:
I receive a nice message telling me how helpful the site has been in their research. That is all it takes so that I'm off and running full steam ahead again.

Cyndi's List began as a six-page written article for my local genealogical society. When I put it online on March 4, 1996 my intension was to continue growing the list of links so that they might be helpful to other interested genealogists online. That intension hasn't ever changed. However, the amount of time and effort certainly has!

What is Cyndi's List?
The same research tool now that it was ten years ago (only bigger):
--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 FREE genealogical research portal onto the Internet.

For anyone interested in learning more about using Cyndi's List, see the syllabus material created for my lecture, "A Guided Tour of Cyndi's List"

On March 4, 1996 Cyndi's List started out with 1 page, 1,025 links, a handful of categories, and just one caretaker.

Today, 10 years after its creation Cyndi's List has:
--251,235 total links
--242,672 categorized links
--8,563 "What's New" links submitted by visitors
--684 individual web pages
--Visits through the front page: more than 43 million
--An average of 2 million page hits each month
--1 part-time employee, Michele
--1 periodic dabbler and caffeine-delivery person, Mark
--1 full-time caretaker, Cyndi


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