New Family History Days Genealogy Conference

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New Family History Days Genealogy Conference

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For many, history is personal. Whether a beginner or a seasoned veteran, learn new ways to discover and celebrate your family history with a two-day conference on March 6 and 7. Hosted by HSP, one of the largest family history centers in the country with genealogical material from every state east of the Mississippi River, Family History Days will help take your genealogy research further than ever before.

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Have their questions answered by professional genealogists
  • Meet family history professionals from local and regional genealogy organizations
  • Take a sneak peak of HSP’s library on behind-the-scenes tours
  • Learn about genealogical resources available at HSP, online, and in the greater Philadelphia area, including how to access them
  • Purchase individual consultations with professional genealogists to assist them in their research
  • Conduct research in the Reading Room

Family history research uncovers the fascinating stories of diverse Americans across the country, linking personal histories to larger community narratives and revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America. Brush up on old skills, learn new tricks, and network with fellow travelers this spring at HSP.


  • $20 each day, $30 for both days for HSP members.
  • $30 each day, $50 for both days for nonmembers.
  • One on one consultations are $40 and available to purchase at checkout.

Purchase tickets for individual days or as a pair and receive a $10 discount. Space is limited. Brush up on old skills, learn new tricks, and network with fellow travelers this spring at HSP.

Timed research slots and tours are limited and on a first come, first served basis. Attendees can sign up at designated tables during each day. All lectures are subject to change.

Schedule of Events: 

"Breakfast for Beginners"  -  Enjoy coffee and a light breakfast as volunteers from the Genealogy Society of Pennsylvania present a lecture discussing the best ways for starting your family history. This lecture is offered on both Friday or Saturday at 8:00 a.m. The cost is $15 and available for purchase at checkout.

Personal Consultation with a Professional Genealogist - Members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists will be available to discuss your research. The forty-five minute consultation can help get the answers you need, find your long lost ancestor, develop a research plan, or break through that brick wall research problem. Space is limited so reserve your consult today! The cost is $40 and available for purchase at checkout.

Friday, March 6

  • 9:00-10:00: "Getting Started with your Genealogy at HSP"
    • Presented by Lee Arnold, Senior Director of the Library at HSP.
  • 10:30-11:30: "Genealogical Resources at the Pennsylvania State Archives"
    • Presented by Linda Ries. 
    • Linda worked for thirty five years as head of the Processing Section at the Pennsylvania State Archives before retiring in August, 2014. She is also the editor of Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, published by the Pennsylvania Historical Association.
  • 12:00-1:00: "Searching Your Family Tree at the Delaware Public Archives"
    • Presented by Thomas Summers, Manager of Outreach at the Delaware Public Archives. 
    • Thinking about looking up your family tree at the Delaware Public Archives?  This workshop will provide an excellent starting point for researching your family genealogy.  Among the numerous types of resources to be presented are vital statistics, probate records, and orphans court files.  In addition, this program will include some of the unique genealogical collections held at the Delaware Public Archives along with the free online resources that are available at the facility. 
  • 2:00-3:00: "Genealogical Resources at the NJ State Archives"
    • Presented by Joe Klett, Director of the New Jersey State Archives.
  • 3:30-4:30: "Colonial Records in the Mid-Atlantic"
    • Presented by Michael Hait.

Saturday, March 7

  • 9:00-10:00: "Getting Started with your Genealogy at HSP"
    • Presented by Lee Arnold, Senior Director of the Library at HSP.
  • 10:30-11:30: "Family History In China Today: Cultural Heritage, Economic Development, Pop Culture"
    • China has a long tradition of kinship studies, including the compilation of genealogies.  During the Cultural Revolution, Mao had many such records burned and ancestral temples destroyed because they glorified individual families and harkened to the “feudal” past. Since China’s reforms from the 1980s, there has been a outpouring of work on family history and genealogy in new ways. The uses of Qian family history today may shed light on contemporary Chinese society, economy, and state. Presented by Dr. Cecelia Chien.
    • Dr. Cecilia Chien is Associate Professor and Acting Chairperson of the History Department at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.  Her research interests include the regional history of middle-imperial China, kinship and genealogy, and development in the Yangzi River delta today.  She teaches courses on pre-modern and modern East Asia, world civilizations, and the Asian-American experience.
  • 12:00-1:00: "Urban Maps and City Directories: Correlating Family History into Space And Time"
    • Presented by Frank Soutcott, a professional genealogist who specializes in historic Chester County, Pennsylvania.  He is currently the President, Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists, and Secretary, International Society of British Genealogy and Family History.
    • Philadelphia has been widely documented with maps and city directories over the years.  However, we often take our city directories, find a name and address, and then move on to census or other family data without correlating that information to the geography of the land.   This presentation will help you understand the importance of extracting and correlating all the data maps and directories provide.  It will aid in visualizing your family and the neighborhoods in which they lived and placing them in the context of the time.
  • 2:00-3:00: "Resources for Family History in Greater Philadelphia"
    • Presented by Sandra M. Hewlett, CG, a professional genealogist experienced with projects in eastern Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic states, England and Northern Ireland. Sandi served on the boards of the New England Historic Genealogical Society where she enjoyed 10-years as a board member and as vice president, 1992-2002, and the National Genealogical Society. Currently she is an HSP board member.
    • There are a wealth of libraries, archives, and historical societies in the Greater Philadelphia area that can assist you with your family history search. Coupled with the growing collections of online databases for the mid-Atlantic states, and covering 17th to 20th century records, this lecture will outline the resources available that might lead you to your family story.
  • 3:30-4:30: "Genealogical Databases at HSP"