The Barefoot Genealogist

Hi Everyone!  Crista Cowan here.

You may know me as The Barefoot Genealogist.

I hate wearing shoes. But, invariably, as I travel around the country doing genealogy research, I find that librarians and archivists don't love me running around their facilities in my bare feet.  Also, it gets pretty painful trekking through a cemetery without good, sturdy shoes on my feet.  That's why it makes me so happy that every passing day brings more and more genealogy and family history resources online.  I can do family history research AND be barefoot as often as I want.  And, that doesn't just make me happy - it makes my feet happy, too!

I'm here to share all of my best family tree climbing tips and tricks with you.  So, kick off your shoes and join me as we dive into our family history together, with our happy feet.


I have been employed at Ancestry® since 2004 and have been their Corporate Genealogist since 2011.  However, all of the content and opinions on this site are my own.
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Speaker Bio:


Crista Cowan is a World-Renowned Genealogist and Expert Family History Educator. 

A seasoned professional with over three decades of experience in genealogy, Crista’s career is marked by prolific writing and captivating live and virtual presentations, making her a trusted guide for countless individuals navigating their own family history journeys. 

Employed by Ancestry® since 2004, Crista has spent the last decade as the Corporate Genealogist, overseeing internal and external family history education. Her passion for family history dates back to childhood, from being parked under a microfilm reader at the Family History Library in her baby carrier to her current role as a professional genealogist. 

As the host of the popular YouTube series "The Barefoot Genealogist," Crista has shared her expertise in nearly 500 episodes, amassing over 20 million views. These videos, found on the Ancestry YouTube channel, provide step-by-step guidance on starting and growing a family tree, interpreting AncestryDNA test results, and crafting meaningful family narratives. 

Recognized as one of the most popular speakers at RootsTech, the world's largest genealogical conference, Crista is known for engaging presentations that offer clear next steps. Her "What's New at Ancestry" presentation at RootsTech is always highly anticipated, showcasing her expertise and impact in the genealogical community. 

Crista's impact on the family history community extends beyond Ancestry. She is host of the podcast "Stories That Live in Us™," connecting families through the power of storytelling. Her membership program, "pajamas & pedigrees™," has evolved into a vibrant community, demonstrating how genealogy can be both enjoyable and accessible. 

Crista's literary contributions are evident in Ancestry magazine, the New York Times, and as a co-author of the biography, "Samuel Mulliner – The Mighty Oak." She is a prolific blogger, providing practical tips and knowledge, making her a go-to source for enthusiasts and beginners alike. 

As a founding member of the Utah Valley Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and a board member for the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Crista plays a pivotal role in fostering a supportive and collaborative environment in the global genealogy community. Her influence even extends to television production, where she served as the lead genetic genealogist for the TLC show "Long Lost Family." 

Crista's unwavering commitment to helping people discover, preserve, and share their family stories highlights her belief in the transformative power of genealogy. She continues to be a go-to resource for families seeking to maintain meaningful connections and develop a strong family narrative.


Short Bio:

 Crista Cowan is a World-Renowned Genealogist and Expert Family History Educator, with more than three decades of experience in the field. As the Corporate Genealogist, employed at Ancestry® since 2004, she has been a guiding force in family history education. From her engaging podcast, "Stories That Live in Us™," to the vibrant community of "pajamas & pedigrees™," Crista's ability to connect with a global audience is evident. Host of the acclaimed YouTube series "The Barefoot Genealogist" and a perennial favorite at RootsTech, she shares her expertise through captivating presentations, offering clear next steps for individuals on their family history journeys. Crista's unwavering belief in the transformative power of genealogy continues to position her as the go-to resource for families seeking to maintain meaningful connections and develop a strong family narrative.


    I am the Corporate Genealogist for Ancestry®.  However, this site is not hosted by, sponsored by, or endorsed by Ancestry® in any way.