About Crista Cowan

Crista has been doing genealogy since she was a child. She has been employed at Ancestry.com since 2004. Around here she's known as The Barefoot Genealogist.Google Twitter

Past Articles

Who Will You Discover In New York?

Posted on June 6, 2012 in Content

On a spring day in 1940, census taker Joseph D Donohue walked into a Manhattan neighborhood to begin his official enumeration for the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. Did he know beforehand that he would be knocking on the doors of some of the most famous people of his time to ask them some very personal… Read more

The Few. The Proud. The Marine Corps Muster Rolls.

Posted on May 24, 2012 in Ancestry.com Site, Content

In 1775 a committee of the Continental Congress met at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They issued a resolution that called for two battalions of men to fight for independence at sea and on shore.  Thus, on 10 November 1775, the Marine Corps was born.  Since then, the Marines have fought in major and… Read more

Have You Attended A Genealogy Conference Lately?

Posted on May 10, 2012 in Events

We are nearing the end of the second day of a four day genealogy conference.  That’s four days of classes from some of the best and the brightest educators in the genealogy community.  Four days in an exhibit hall with dozens of genealogy companies, organizations and societies all talking about their latest and greatest content,… Read more

Setting Sail Into The Unknown

Posted on April 10, 2012 in Content

One hundred years ago today the Titanic set out on her maiden voyage amid much fanfare.  So much has been written and produced about that fateful voyage that anything I try to write sounds like so much cliché.  But I have been thinking about the trips my own ancestors took as they immigrated to America.… Read more

Got Massachusetts Ancestors?

Posted on March 20, 2012 in Content

Have you seen what we did? The announcement went out this morning about a new collection of vital records now available online. The Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections contains over 8.2 million records covering over 360 years. Wow! After searching town records for their own relatives, Jay and DeLene Holbrook, realized that the majority of towns… Read more

These Families We Inherit

Posted on March 16, 2012 in Social Media, Stories

With families, no matter what kind you inherit, at some point you want to announce you belong to it. I had the opportunity yesterday to spend a few minutes talking with Kaui Hart Hemmings, the author of The Descendants.  She was very candid about her family history.  That wasn’t at all surprising. I have read… Read more

Everybody’s Got A Little Irish In Them

Posted on March 15, 2012 in Research Helps, Searching for Records

One in eight Americans claim Irish ancestry according to an American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008. That works out to about 36 million people. But, as we approach St Patrick’s Day this weekend, I’m betting a whole lot more than that will be “getting their Irish on.”  I know I’ll… Read more

Get Around the Missing 1890 Census

Posted on March 13, 2012 in Content, Research Helps, Searching for Records, Site Features

For those of you who are new to genealogy, you may be wondering why you haven’t received any hints leading you to 1890 census records for the people in your family tree.  Here’s the story.  The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was stored in the Commerce Building in Washington D.C.  In 1921 there was a fire… Read more

Everybody Has A Mother

Posted on March 6, 2012 in Family Tree Maker, Research Helps

Did you know that March is National Women’s History Month? This seems to fit so perfectly with what we do as genealogists. After all, half of our ancestors are women. In honor of this event, I would like to share what I plan on doing this month and invite you to join me. . Women… Read more

Not All In Our Past Is Noble And Good

Posted on February 16, 2012 in Content, Stories

Born and living in California, actor and activist George Takei was only four years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed in December of 1941. Two short months later, on February 19, 1942, in reaction to that event, President Franklin D Roosevelt issued an Executive Order that allowed approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese residents to be… Read more