Cyndi’s List Launches a New Web Site

Cyndi’s List is such an important part of family history research around the world that when a major upgrade of the site is announced we should all take notice. Here is a preview of the new look, and the press release:

Cyndi's List

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A major upgrade to celebrate 15 years of service

EDGEWOOD, WASHINGTON (June 6, 2011) – Cyndi’s List is proud to announce a newly upgraded web site. With improved navigation, a custom database, and a custom administrative interface, the upgrade means that everything will be quicker and easier for both visitors and for the site’s owner and administrator, Cyndi Ingle Howells. The upgrade has been done by fusionSpan of Maryland. Their staff worked closely with Cyndi to make improvements and to implement new technology and new ideas designed specifically for Cyndi’s List and for the genealogical community.

Part of the upgrade was made possible by donations from generous users of Cyndi’s List. To date, 20% of what was accomplished in the project was thanks to them. Donors have been listed on the web site.

What’s New with the Upgrade:

  • The front page of the Cyndi’s List site has a rolling genealogy news feed and a link to The Cyndi’s List Daily, a daily dose of family history news as tagged in Twitter and Facebook. Start each day with the front page of Cyndi’s List and read the current genealogy news stories.
  • The links are now contained within a database and pages will be dynamically loaded on each visit.
  • The custom database and administration interface means that maintaining the link list will be much easier for Cyndi, which ultimately benefits the user with faster and more frequent updates.
  • The new interface means that the backlog of uncategorized links can be processed much faster. The goal is to get the entire backlog done by the end of this year.
  • New links will be reviewed, approved, and categorized within 24-72 hours after submission by visitors.
  • Updates made to Cyndi’s List will be immediately available to the public.
  • Previous to the upgrade, the “What’s New” page and mailing list post contained only new links submitted by visitors. The new “What’s New” page and e-mail will contain those, as well as links added to the site during the day by Cyndi, *and* existing links that have been updated throughout the site (new addresses, updated descriptions, etc.).
  • Across the site links have been labeled with graphics as “new” or “updated” when appropriate. With the upgrade these will now be text-based notations (easily spotted in green), which means that you can search on a page for “new” or “updated” with the Edit>Find function in your web browser.
  • Now sub-categories within a category heading each have their own page.
  • And each page displays 20 links, with pagination in place to go to the next page and so on. This means there will be a lot less scrolling through long pages as in the past. Shorter pages mean faster load time in the browser as well.
  • Intuitive navigation at the top of the category makes it easy to find your way to previous category headings.
  • The number of links within each category/sub-category is displayed at the top right on each page.
  • Each of the U.S. counties (more than 3,100) now has a designated page of its own.
  • URLs (addresses) for the pages have changed so bookmarks, favorites, and links to Cyndi’s List will need to be updated.
  • Opportunities to shop, support, or donate are highlighted on each page.

What Has Stayed the Same?

  • The category and sub-category names are all the same.
  • Related Categories are highlighted at the top right on each category.
  • The layout and format of the links are the same.
  • The policies, procedures, and disclaimers for maintaining the link list are the same.
  • The Cyndi’s List Mailing List will still distribute a daily What’s New e-mail and a daily Link Activity e-mail. However, the What’s New e-mail will contain information about all new and updated links.
  • You can still follow Cyndi’s List on Facebook and Twitter.
  • The purpose and intent of Cyndi’s List is to be a free jumping-off point for your daily genealogical research.
  • Cyndi’s List remains free for everyone to use just as it has for the past 15 years.
  • This is still just a one-woman show!

“I started doing genealogy research in earnest back in 1998 and Cyndi’s List has always been one of my very favorite websites. It is on my ‘Go To’ list because I always find so much good information there.” –Kay F.

“I’ve relied on your website as THE best resource on the ‘net to help with my research…” –Jan J.

“Where can you get at all things genealogical in one fell swoop?

Everyone knows it’s CyndisList.com. Every genealogist who uses the web MUST use Cyndi’s List.” –Polly K.

About CyndisList.com

CyndisList.com is the world’s largest one-woman family history resource, with more than 300,000 categorized links for genealogical research. For more than 15 years Cyndi’s List has helped hundreds of thousands of people with their online journey to trace their family history. The site averages 275,000 unique visitors and 5,000,000 page hits every month.

Cyndi’s List has won numerous awards and consistently remains one of the top genealogical portals for beginners, intermediate, and veteran researchers.

About fusionSpan

fusionSpan is a start-up consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of non-profit associations and commercial organizations in the full range of the business cycle. With a core staff of highly experienced professionals from non-profit associations and a team approach to most consulting projects, fusionSpan will be able to offer a more balanced quality service and sustainable solution than many of its competitors. Our expertise covers the entire range of the web site and application development process: Strategy, Design, Development, Hosting, and Maintenance. For more information, visit www.fusionSpan.com

 

140 Free Online Genealogy Research Courses

Here is part of an announcement from FamilySearch about their growing list of free online research courses, some of which are specifically about Australian records:

Maybe you’d like to learn more about how to do your family history research but don’t think you can afford to take a class. Thousands of individuals are now satisfying many of those needs through FamilySearch’s growing collection of free online genealogy courses.

In just one year, the number of free FamilySearch courses has grown to over 140—and new courses are added monthly. Most recently, over 25 courses were added for Australia, England, Germany, and the U.S. Additional courses were added that focus on basic tools and techniques for anyone just getting started in family history research, as well as courses for intermediate and advanced researchers.

“The goal of the initiative is to educate more people worldwide about how to find their ancestors. We do it by filming the experts teaching a particular class of interest and then offering free access to that presentation online—complete with the PowerPoint used and anyelectronic handouts that the user can download or print for future reference,” said Candace Turpan, FamilySearch instructional designer.

Turpan’s team films presentations made by its staff from the FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as special guests (the library is frequented by accredited researchers from all over the world). They also travel to industry conferences or other venues where record and research specialists gather. There they film specialists’ presentations and make them available online.

FamilySearch uses viewing software that splits the viewing screen (sort of like the picture-in-picture features on some televisions) so the user can watch the video of the presenter while also seeing the PowerPoint presentation. Most courses are 30 minutes in length. You can also fast forward through the presentation or presentation slides or stop and pick up later where you left off—a luxury you don’t get in the live presentation.

I’ve used this software to view presentations and I’m very impressed. It works easily and looks great.

Highlights from the latest course additions:

Australia

  • Australia BDM Civil Registration Index
  • New South Wales Early Church Records 1788–1886
  • Using the New South Wales Birth, Death, Marriage Index

England

  • Getting the Most from the National Archives Website
  • Researching in the British Isles
  • What Is Britain?

Research Principles and Tools

  • Cemetery Art
  • Finding Your Way: Locating and Using Maps in Your Research
  • How to Find More at a Genealogy Library
  • If I’d Only Known: Beginner Genealogy Mistakes
  • Managing Your Family Records on the Internet
You can see the full list of courses at https://familysearch.org/learn/researchcourses

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer–driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in SaltLake City, Utah.

State Records NSW Updates

If you are not a subscriber to the newsletter of State Records NSW then you should be! 

News of new online indexes, changes to indexes, and how to use the website in general is being issued on a continuous basis, and the changes they are making may mean finding your ancestor after many years of being unable to find him/her.

A recent example is the merging of the immigration indexes. Previously the assisted immigration indexes for NSW were divided into three separate indexes, with additional indexes for other geographical areas that were part NSW at the time. If, in your enthusiasm, you missed searching one of the indexes you may miss your ancestor altogether.

Now, all these indexes have been combined into one, although you can search the old indexes individually if you wish. If he’s there you can’t NOT find him! (unless your spelling is too specific).

You can have these newsletter sent to you here.

You can also have updates sent to your blog reader here.

And you can see the most recent newsletter here.

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