Roots & Branches: Genealogy at HSP

Welcome to Our New Blog: Roots & Branches

Monday, 6/18/12
Topics: Genealogy


Did you know that HSP is one of the largest family history libraries in the nation?

Sure, we hold many national treasures, from drafts of the U.S. Constitution to the earliest surviving American photograph. But we also have excellent collections on local and regional history, and we collect genealogical materials from Pennsylvania and every other state east of the Mississippi River. The Society is also one of the nation's leading repositories of ethnic and immigrant studies materials, after our merger with the Balch Institute in 2002.

We've launched this new blog, Roots & Branches, to help highlight genealogy and family history at HSP.

We'll be writing about Society resources that may be helpful to genealogists, publicizing new items in our library, and discussing other happenings at HSP that we think will be of interest to community and family historians. We also hope to begin a conversation with you, our reader, about tackling this kind of history and how to do it better.

To begin, I thought I'd highlight some of the genealogical resources that currently exist on HSP's web site.

If you're new to researching your family tree, you may want to start with this overview of getting started on your family's history.

We also offer subject guides on specific genealogical topics, including:

* family history and genealogy resources at HSP;

* vital records at HSP, including cemetery, church, baptismal, and Bible records, family histories, and much more;

* Jewish resources at HSP, including genealogical, synagogue and cemetery resources;

* African American collections, from the colonial era to the present;

* ethnic history resources;

* federal Census records;

* land records;

* military records;

* Philadelphia city directories; and

* Philadelphia neighborhood history.

We look forward to sharing more with you in the weeks and months ahead!

[Editor's note: Links updated 9/25/14.]


Maude Pearl Kieffer birth of November 29, 1874

I was always told my grandmother, Maude Pearl Kieffer, born November 29, 1874, was born in Pennsylvania, and was Pennsylvania Dutch. She married Charles Saunders Hope around 1895. I thought it was in Pennsylvania, as I was told my grandfather went back to work in Pennsylvania when he was young and that is how he met my grandmother.

My grandfather is listed as being born in Philadelphia, the son of Benjamin B. Hope and Catharine Lucy Saunders Hope.

My great grandparents moved to Iowa, Kansas, and then back to Iowa, and stayed in Iowa where they lived most of their lives, and are buried in the St. Charles, Iowa Cemetery.

The info about my grandmother shows on the Internet as being born and living in Missouri, which I believe is very untrue. There is no record of a Maude Kieffer being born in Kansas City, Mo. Also, I remember when I was a child, my grandmother's siblings wrote to her from Pennsylvania.

What can you find out for me??????????


re: Maude Pearl Kieffer birth of November 29, 1874


Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like your best option for finding evidence of your grandmother's birth would be in church records, since Pennsylvania didn't start issuing birth certificates until 1906 and counties kept only intermittent records before that.

HSP has a large number of church records, and we partnered with a couple years ago to make some 7 million records available through that site. If you're an Ancestry subscriber or a member of HSP, you can search or browse those digitized records there. (HSP members go through our web site to access the records.)

You may also be interested in our Research by Mail service, where you can hire our experts to tackle your research question. You can learn more here:

Good luck!

Dana Dorman

Sharples-Sharpless Family Reunion Reunion

Does anyone know of any future reunions for the Sharples-Sharpless Family?
You can also contact me on my facebook page: Sharples-Sharpless Family Tree

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