What is a compendium? Google defines it as “a collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject, especially in a book or other publication” or “a collection of things, especially one systematically gathered.”
There are four collections that I would classify as genealogically-related compendiums, which are fairly well known, but still, I believe, way underused.
First, whether you are in need of help, information or would just like to virtually meet up with some new genea-buddies, Katherine Willson’s gigantic PDF of Facebook groups related to genealogy is definitely the place to start.
Katherine R. Willson’s Website
For the last few years, Katherine has taken on the mammoth job of categorizing all of the FB groups with genealogy ties. She deserves a million thanks for doing so. Why have I included her PDF on the compendium list? Because if I had a dollar for every person who requested help, particularly with researching a place where English is not the primary language, I could afford trips to several ancestral villages and towns with those dollars! I can vouch for terrific members in several of the groups who not only guide others to websites and resources, but they often provide translations of records (sometimes in less than ten minutes time!) And, they do it out of the goodness of their hearts. There are groups for specific software programs, ethnic groups and worldwide locations, in addition to many specialty topics like adoption, certification, DNA and lineage societies. There are links to over 10,000 Facebook groups, all of which have a connection to genealogy. Thank you, Katherine!
Next are three collections that would more traditionally be considered as compendiums. First is Cyndi’s List, created in 1996 by Cyndi Ingle. This is another behemoth project.
Cyndi’s List Home Page
There are over 332,000 (!) links more than 200 categories and every one of them is related to genealogy. Categories begin with “Acadian, Cajun, and Creole” (with 125 links and end with “Writing Your Family History,” (with 180 link). That range pretty much sums it up. Researchers will find links to just about any genealogy-related topic that one could imagine. Cyndi includes links to direct resources like military records, locations and city directories, but also provides links to collateral skills used by family historians. A big thank goes to Cyndi, too. 🙂
Second in this group is Linkpendium, created by Karen Isaacson and Brian (Wolf) Leverich, the founders of RootsWeb, back in 2003.
Since then, over 10,000,000 links have been added. The limitation to Linkpendium is that it is very U.S.-centric with some links to U.K. and Irish resources. There is also an ample surname directory. Resources are divided into 30 different categories. If your research is American-based, this needs to be in your favorites list.
The last compendium is probably the least known, but it has some terrific links. Access Genealogy is another site related to U.S. research, run by Dennis N. Partridge.
Access Genealogy Home Page
Although the home page is uncluttered and it looks like there isn’t much here, this is definitely a case where looks are deceiving. Even the categories list is pared down:
However, scroll down past this opening section to get an idea of some of the links to be found:
There is much more to Access Genealogy than meets the eye.
Researchers today are lucky to have search engines like Bing and Google, meta search engines and even Mocavo, which is a dedicated genealogy search engine. However, no one search engine is going to find everything, nor will they all find brand new resources at the same time.
Sometimes, the human touch is even better than computer driven discoveries. Take some time to visit these compendiums. Yes, they all have some broken links, but all are continually being updated and repaired. You might be very surprised at what you find and, even better, looking doesn’t cost a penny.