Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Deep Links on Cyndi's List

While taking my morning walk today I listened to the most recent episode of the Genealogy Guys podcast. Half of the episode featured an interview with Cyndi of Cyndi's List that was recorded during the recent Ohio Genealogical Society 2015 conference.

What really caught my attention during this interview was a discussion about deep linking. Cyndi explained that Google doesn't do deep linking which is the concept of linking to parts of websites that are buried deep within a site. In the example she gave, Cyndi explained that she will dive into a university special collections site and then add links to specific databases to Cyndi's List.

Cyndi also suggested searching using the categories feature on Cyndi's List rather than the search feature because it will allow you to discover related topics that you weren't specifically searching for.

Intrigued by this new discovery of deep linking, I wanted to put Cyndi's List to the test. The subject I know best is Massachusetts genealogy so I want to check that out on Cyndi's List in hopes of finding links to resources of which I wasn't aware. There must be many deep linked resources that I haven't stumbled across.

From the categories link, I drilled down to United States which had visible subcategories (without clicking) for each state. I selected the one for Massachusetts. This presented me with 31 subcategories including things like cemeteries & funeral homes, directories, newspapers, occupations, prisons, prisoners & outlaws, and societies & Groups.

I opted for the Wills & Probate category. It provided links to and Nothing new for me there. I went back and this time I chose Libraries, Archives and Museums which is probably more likely to have deep links. This is where I started to see some of the magic that Cyndi was talking about. I was pleasantly surprised not only to see deep linking but to see the information displayed in a hierarchy so that it is very clear to see that the different links are subsections of the main website. (see image below)

For instance, under Boston Public Library, not only do we see the main site but a sublink for Research Services and further sublinks for Genealogy, the Microtext Department and the Newspaper Room. Occasionally you will find a link that is broken but that is understandable considering the monumental task it must be to maintain over 400,000 links when webmasters are constantly making changes to their sites.

One of the resources presented on Cyndi's List is the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts. According to the Van Gorden-William Library sublink, it holds one of the most comprehensive collections on American Masonry in the world. I'm going to have to put that museum on my to-do list this summer!

Try searching for yourself on Cyndi's list and see if you can find some deep links that you weren't familiar with. The libraries and archives subsections will probably provide the most worthwhile searches.

And while you're at it be sure to listen to the interview with Kris Rzepczynski in the first half of the show where they talk about resources at Seeking Michigan and the Michigan State Archives.

I hope you make lots of brand new discoveries!


  1. Thank you Marion Pierre-Loius for this most helpful post.

  2. This is a very helpful post. Thank you for explaining it so well. I've included it in my NoteWorthy Reads for this week: