CD34, podocalyxin, and endoglycan are members of a family of single-pass transmembrane proteins that show distinct expression on early hematopoietic precursors and vascular-associated tissue. In spite of the fact that the expression of CD34 on these early progenitors has been known for over 20 yr and used clinically in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for more than 15 yr, little is known about its exact role or function. More recently, CD34 expression has been shown to distinguish activated early progenitors from quiescent cells. With the subsequent identification of podocalyxin and endoglycan as related family members also expressed on early progenitor cells, attention is slowly shifting toward understanding how these molecules might contribute to progenitor function and behavior. In this review we examine the existing evidence and propose testable models to reveal the importance of these molecules for stem and progenitor cell function.