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History of Family History at BYU

Family History has a rich and long history at BYU. The Family History Program at Brigham Young University began in 1962. Various courses dedicated to genealogical research were offered, and students were able to choose either a two-year certificate or a family history minor. In addition, researchers were hired to conduct professional genealogical research for clients (this practice ended in 1991). By 1966 the program had expanded to an associate's degree. The BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy began in 1969 and has been hosted on campus every year since. In 1979 the B.A. in Family and Local History Studies was offered through the History Department, but with strong ties to the Church History and Doctrine Department as well. For a brief period in the 1980s, they also offered a master's degree in family history. After a brief hiatus, the degree program was renamed in 1992 as Family History-Genealogy and continues to serve hundreds of students each year. Over that time the library (both the family history section and Special Collections) has consistently supported both the academic and public audiences for genealogical research. In 2000 the Center for Family History and Genealogy was founded as a place for students to engage in serious, academically rigorous genealogical/family historical research. The BYU Family History Technology Conference (from which RootsTech grew) and the Family History Technology Workshop began under the Computer Science Department's auspices in 2000. Since then numerous faculty members and campus organizations have participated in or supported family history on campus. The links on the previous page will connect you to the current programs, projects, and support services.