I’ve been working with my friend and colleague Cyndi Ingle now for quite some time. We’ve been teaching study groups and institute classes together now for several years. We’ve been friends for a while and would meet up at Salt Lake City every January for SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) and Family History Library (FHL) research time. A group of friends would get rooms at the Plaza (I usually stay at the Kimball) and we’d all meet up at the library for a raucous time. (Sounds like an oxymoron, a raucous time in the library, but if you’ve had the pleasure/displeasure of being around our table during those times, you know what I mean.) How can you stop a bunch of friends who live far away from each other from having a good time doing what we love? Well… a pandemic can do it.
In January 2020, Cyndi and I decided to be accountability buddies. I’d already started my study groups on Zoom, but had some goals to grow my business and work on my research and she had very similar goals. So…me being in Texas at the time and she living in Washington, we decided to have a weekly Zoom accountability meeting. My family and I had also made plans to visit Cyndi in the Seattle area during our Spring Break in … March 2020. Needless to say, all of the travel plans fell apart. But our accountability sessions did not. We have been fantastic partners in helping each other through stressful times in addition to the accountability. Some of our goals changed drastically through the pandemic. I ended up being hired by Ancestry ProGenealogists, and so I no longer take private clients, for example. So my professional goals changed. Many weeks we felt like we were just keeping our heads above water due to the stress of the pandemic and many social/political/natural disasters that were happening.
Through it all, I have learned so much more than I knew before these meetings with Cyndi, about Cyndi’s List and what it can do for your research. I think many of us forget about Cyndi’s list because we can “Google it” or “find it on Ancestry.” But Cyndi is a one-woman-indexing machine. She has curated millions (billions? ok maybe not THAT many) of links over the years (26+ years) that are genealogically relevant and has them categorized according to the way many genealogists might look for them. The thing I think is most helpful about Cyndi’s list is that you don’t know you need something or that something exists until you go browse the categories, topics, and links on the site. So I ask you, if you didn’t know about it, how are you going to Google for it?
This next series of posts is going to walk you through Cyndi’s List from a user perspective. I’ll discuss how to use it, how to help Cyndi keep it up-to-date, how to search for things on it (because it is massive), and I’ll share specific examples of ways I use it for my own research to provide you with context and real examples. I’m also trying to talk Cyndi in to writing a guest post so she can share some of her own perspective and feedback to you all.
So, get prepared. We are going to have some fun over the next several weeks!