Does The 2 Minute Genealogy Experiment Really Work? I am sure many of you have seen other blogger’s posts on the Cyndi’s List 2 minute experiment. I’ve read a number of versions and some said it was great and other weren’t so lucky with their results – sounds like most genealogy research really!! Anyway this morning I decided it try it myself and see what the results were. Nothing like trying something and judging for yourself. I’ve known Cyndi’s List for many years, in the early days it was simply that – a list that seemed to go on for ever, but these days it is much better organized. I must confess I don’t use it as much these days as I used to as like many researchers I have my dozen or so websites that I circle around when researching. This is NOT a good habit to get into and I must stop doing that as I am sure I am missing out on some great resources out there!!
Does The 2 Minute Genealogy Experiment Really Work – what is Cyndi’s List?
Cyndi’s List is a long running website that is run by a real genealogy hero called Cyndi Ingle, her website started off free of charge and remains so to this day although now you can donate via PayPal and their are some adverts. I know first hand the expenses involved in running a website and her’s is so much bigger than MadAboutGenealogy so if you can spare a few dollars then send them Cyndi’s way.
Does The 2 Minute Genealogy Experiment Really Work – what is the 2 minute experiment?
The theory is that Cyndi’s List is much more than simply a list of websites where you look under the zillion and one headings for a website that can help you. The idea is that Cyndi’s List may have already found what you are looking for almost before you knew you wanted it. The hypothesis is that you can use the list as a research tool as well as a library of websites. Let’s see if that’s true …
Does The 2 Minute Genealogy Experiment Really Work – the test
I thought I would test the theory twice – one with an English ancestral name and one with a USA ancestral name. I’ll try the English ancestor first.
Matkin of Derbyshire
I wanted to know more about my Matkin family of Derbyshire, they first appear on my family tree in London, but I have traced then back to Derbyshire which is a new county for me to research in. I’ll go step by step so you can see how I conducted the search. As I type this I have no idea how successful or otherwise this is going to be – so a real life experiment!
- Go to Cyndi’s List Home Page
- Click on Categories – now should I choose E for England England or D for Derbyshire? I chose D.
- Nothing in the alphabetically arranged list for Derbyshire so back and click on E.
- Nothing for England in the E’s, so try U for United Kingdom
- Jackpot! I’ve found United Kingdom. This first list isn’t that long so you could just tootle up and down the list instead of clicking on the initials.
- Under United Kingdom is a sublist and I click on England
- There are 20 categories in this new list – I choose Counties as the others look to be for the whole of England and I want something more specific
- Click on Derbyshire
- There are 24 categories for Derbyshire. From Births, Marriages & Deaths category to Wills and Probate. Think I should work my way through these, but this will take more than 2 minutes.
- In the experiment blog posts I’ve read they use the search box in the top right hand corner of each page. This search box searches the whole of Cyndi’s List, there is no advanced search.
- I type in Matkin Derbyshire
- The 4 results I get are all adverts; 1 MyHeritage offers to search for Matkin, 2 Ask.com offers to search for Derbyshire, 3 A firm offering me an escape room?!!!! 4 A firm offering me paragliding in Derbyshire.
You could view this as a failure, but it isn’t really as I now have 24 categories for Derbyshire that Cyndi has chosen to put in the list so I know they are all genealogy websites and not going to offer to build me an escape room (if you could see how teeny tiny my 17th century cottage is you’d laugh at the thought of where I would put one!!)
I then decided to search for information rather than people. I used Lead Mining as my search term and it came up with 2 genealogy results that I shall follow up. Both were in the Cyndi’s List sub category on Mining & Miners, both sites are about mining lead and coal in the Derbyshire area.
Mulcock of Utah
A branch of my Mulcock family moved from England to Utah in 1909. Recently I’ve been looking at what happened to this USA branch.
- Go to Cyndi’s List Home Page
- Click on Categories – chose U for USA
- Click on Utah
- Much the same categories as came up on the Derbyshire search so I have a list to work through. As USA research is still rather new to me this will be a great help.
- A search for Mulcock Utah in the search box brings up 4 adverts; 1 MyHeritage as before, 2 Trip Advisor offering me hotels, 3 Booking.com offer me more hotels, 4 a company offering me information on Utah. It would seem that doing this general search is not successful for me.
- Having learnt from the first example I put in LDS Migration into the search box as I had found evidence that the Mulcock’s converted from Church of England to the Mormon Church prior to their decision to emigrate. I suspected that this was the main reason for making the move to the US. Sure enough Cyndi’s List has a category on Migration Routes and Trails – Mormon Trails. Much of the information centered on the 19th century migration, but I will certainly take a closer look at several interesting leads. The other category that came up was under History of the LDS Church, again plenty of websites to take a look at for background information.
- I randomly pick one of the Migration websites (CLICK HERE to access) to take a closer look at. It is a site dedicated to Mormon migration and is a very simple site to use. I typed in Mulcock into the search box and there were Hiram & Maryann and the children. There was a picture of the ship they sailed on and departure date, they left Liverpool and sailed to Portland. I knew the dates and ports, but hadn’t seen a image of the ship so that was great. Clicking on the departure date took me to a page with a complete passenger list, other details on the page showed that the Mulcock’s were indeed part of a large group of LDS Church members migrating. I could look at a copy of the original ships passenger list and clicking on a name gave me name of passenger, age, booking point (this was Salt Lake another confirmation they were part of an organized group), nationality, it also gave film number so I could access the data via a Family History Center if I wished.
Does The 2 Minute Genealogy Experiment Really Work – Summary
So does the 2 minute genealogy experiment on Cyndi’s List work? I feel the answer is neither yes or no more “sort of “depending on what you are looking for. I went back and read one of the blog posts and they had found an obituary from an online newspaper archive. I am pleased they had been successful, but don’t feel that their results were representative of most researchers searches.
However this experiment has shown me, and I hope you, that Cyndi’s List is a website that should be in the top 5 of your list of websites to check. I will definitely be using Cyndi’s List regularly again, I had forgotten how extensive it is and how many unique websites are included. I’ll spend some time working through the 24 categories of sites for Derbyshire, many I can see I will be able to immediately dismiss as the records offered having been searched, but I am sure there will be some gold in there for me – or lead more likely as my Matkin’s were lead miners! If you decide to do a similar search don’t forget to jot down what you have looked and and where you found any results. Download and use one of the Project Planners in the MadAboutGenealogy Resource Library. CLICK HERE to learn how to get access to the library.
Take a look at Cyndi’s List as I am sure you will find websites that hold some family history gems that you might not have come across elsewhere. I’m off to look at my Mulcock and Matkin families and the websites that might hold more information on then.
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