Connected Tempe Postcard

Country: USA

Region (County/State/Province): Arizona 


Contact: Mckell Keeney

Study Description 

The city of Tempe, Arizona, United States, is celebrating its 150th birthday (sesquicentennial) in 2021. Community members submitted a one-place-study project to find and enter all early Tempeans into one family tree online. No one is forgotten and descendants can find their ancestors and their records. The project was approved by the city. Volunteers used the 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Censuses, City Directories, cemetery records and other sources to enrich the history of early Tempe families. An oral history component was added to the project to video city leaders, people who grew up in Tempe or have lived here many decades. Videos are available on the Connected Tempe YouTube Channel. A webapp was developed that is free and does not require downloading or signing in. A person looks up a deceased ancestor, such as a grandparent. The app instantly shows a number of relationships to early Tempe families. People who did not grow up in Arizona do not expect to be related to anyone who lived in Arizona between 1871 and 1920. Due to European, Colonial American or Hispanic ancestry, they are surprised to see they are cousins with many well-known Tempeans.

Connected Tempe: Community Ancestry.
Tempe has a story…you are part of it!
Find who’s part of your story.

“Tempe, Arizona was originally settled by the Hohokam people who built elaborate canals for agriculture although they largely abandoned the area in the 1400s. In 1865, Fort McDowell was established in present-day Tempe and helped in the establishment of new towns along Salt River. Military members and Hispanic workers were brought in to care for animals and grow crops to support the fort and they created two permanent communities in the valley: San Pablo and Hayden’s Ferry named for a ferry operator. The community was later named Tempe in 1879.” (Accessed 1 November 2021)

Tempe is landlocked (surrounded by other municipalities) and cannot expand beyond its current 40 square miles.


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100 people in 1877; 180,587 people in 2020

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