In the past few years, finding and charting one’s family history has become trendy because it’s also become a lot easier to get started. Companies like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have spent the last decade or so making all of their tools, records, and data available on the internet, revolutionizing genealogical research — and significantly lowering the barrier to entry in the process. What was once a pastime for older people or professionals with disposable income is quickly becoming a more mainstream pursuit. Taking a peek into the past now requires nothing more than a decent internet connection and a laptop. DNA testing, which just a few years ago cost thousands of dollars and offered little information for genealogists, is now a growing consumer option, reaching back hundreds of years to provide undreamed of amounts of information about our ancestors.
In March nearly 7,000 people traveled to the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend the weekend at RootsTech, a yearly technology-focused genealogy conference sponsored by FamilySearch and a few other big names in the family history industry. Genealogy — the search for and documentation of one’s ancestors — and “technology” haven’t always been kissing cousins, but this conference speaks to and encourages a growing relationship between the two. The hobby, traditionally picked up near retirement age and most often by women, is now a billion-dollar industry with a growing younger demographic.
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