Posted by Crista Cowan on February 9, 2012 in Events

I absolutely LOVE genealogy conferences. I love meeting new people and running into old friends. I love attending classes to learn new things. And, I love teaching classes where I get to watch people’s eyes light up with discovery. I love spending time in the booth where I’m able to help people break through brick walls. And, I love helping people look at their family history challenges in a little different light. Oddly, I also enjoy answering the same three or four questions over and over and over again.


“When does the 1940 census come out?”

The federal government will release the 1940 census to the public on April 2nd, 2012. will start posting images and working on creating an index right away. These records will be free to search until the end of 2013.


“Why are you called the Barefoot Genealogist?”

Look at my feet. No shoes. If I can get away with it, even in the booth at a major genealogy conference, I don’t wear shoes. This works really well around the office, not so well when traipsing through cemeteries.


“Why can’t I find my ancestor online?”

Their name might not be spelled consistently across all records. You might be limiting your searches too much with the search filters. Oh, and not all genealogy records are online or even publicly available. Let’s figure out where we might find them and then check the Card Catalog to see if we’ve got the records you need. You might also want to check online Family Trees and see if anyone else is researching the same family.


This past weekend I was able to attend RootsTech 2012. This particular conference, only in its 2nd year, is held in Utah, home to the world famous Family History Library,, and yours truly. There were dozens of sessions to chose from and over 4200 people in attendance. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot to take in every day of the three day conference.

If you were there, tell me, “What was your favorite thing about the conference?”

If you’ve never attended a genealogy conference I would encourage you to check out the recorded video streams from each of the three days of RootsTech. Maybe, take a look at the schedule to see what kinds of classes are being taught. Then let me know, “If you could attend a class on any genealogy related subject, what would it be?”

Next year RootsTech will be held March 21-23 in Salt Lake City. Between now and then will be at several other genealogy conferences around the country. Will I finally get to meet you? And, if I do, don’t ask me why I’m called the Barefoot Genealogist. Just admire my great pedicure and my cute toes! Then let’s get busy looking for your ancestors.

Until next time – Have fun climbing your family tree…

Also, watch two presentations below for free that were streamed last week @ RootsTech 2012:

Crista Cowan

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


  1. Rick

    I watched the streaming presentations at home during the conference and enjoyed the chance to see what might be coming in the future with genealogy research.

  2. scwbcm

    Excellent! I am really looking forward to the new work with DNA. Just thought I would mention that you need to prepare people with some dialogues. Many people do not seem to be understanding that DNA needs to be a part of their understanding of their family history. This is a blend of several areas of academics and people seem to find one corner of expertise and stay in that corner. Please have some people who can communicate and answer questions and help bridge the disconnect on this.

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