Reconnecting with the past through modern technology

Maggie Kent Image
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Researching family history
Researching family history: Maggie Kent reports on Action News at 5 p.m., February 6, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In his thirty plus years of personal searching, Dean Henry has traced his lineage to before the slaves were feed in this country.

"Cassie Rambo was born a slave she's my great grandmother, this is her daughter, my second great grandmother Phyllis," he said.

His family is a complicated and ever-expanding tree with its branches spreading across the country.

"We are related to the Rambos who came from Sweden in the 1600s. Certainly my branch of the family was owned by the Rambo's in Georgia, and my blood test shows I'm not only related to black but white Rambo's," he said.

Henry is a member of the African American genealogy group, working closely with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to help other "seekers" overcome similar hurdles.

"I would say just start," he said.

One place to begin is in the shelves of the archives at 13th and Locust streets.

The archives contain 21 million items and they are not just books published about history. There's also family trees, birth certificates, immigration records, things that may help you get closer. And don't worry if you're not originally from Pennsylvania, they have stuff from all over the nation.

The public is invited to come in and explore.

"Your family history is history, it happens to be about your family, but the family history is the history of this country," said Lee Arnold, library director.

Every story is a link to our shared past as Americans.


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