Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A portal by definition is an entry or gate. On the Internet, a portal is a web site that serves as a gateway to related information through a variety of categorized links. A portal site typically does not generate its own information; rather it provides the service of grouping information for easier access. Search engines are a type of portal, different only that information is surfaced by the user through the use keywords.
Portal sites are an important resource in genealogy, helping to surface information that might be otherwise buried or overlooked. One of the most popular genealogy portals on the Internet is Cyndi's List which provides an alphabetical list of general topics, linking to categorized topics within topics. Rootsweb is another, providing access to genealogy message boards, mailing lists, surname web sites, and a host of other useful resources. A great many genealogy portal sites are available on the Internet and may be general or specific, surfacing resources on a variety of genealogy-related topics or within a single research area.