Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration

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*Wokeck, Marianne S. ''Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America''. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. {{FHL|1023023|item|disp=FHL Book 970 W2w}}.
*Wokeck, Marianne S. ''Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America''. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. {{FHL|1023023|item|disp=FHL Book 970 W2w}}.
=== Migration Out of Pennsylvania ===
During the colonial period, many immigrants lived temporarily in Pennsylvania before resettling elsewhere in the colonies - particularly those of German and Scotch-Irish background. Many went to the backcountry regions of Virginia and North Carolina.<ref>Wayland Fuller Dunaway, "Pennsylvania as an Early Distributing Center of Population," ''The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,'' Vol. 55, No. 2 (Apr. 1931):134-169. For free online access, see [ WeRelate].
== Web Sites  ==
== Web Sites  ==

Revision as of 22:00, 18 May 2012

United States Gotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Emigration and Immigration

The United States Emigration and Immigration Wiki article lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. These nationwide sources include many references to people who settled in Pennsylvania. The Tracing Immigrant Origins Wiki article introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's original hometown.
FamilySearch Indexing icon.png Records from this area are currently being indexed by volunteers. Come join the effort and help us index the US, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882



New Sweden. The first permanent European settlers in Pennsylvania were the Swedes and Finns who, starting in 1638, settled between present-day Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, and small settlements in West New Jersey.[1][2] For more details see the New Sweden wiki article.

New Netherland. The Dutch built a trade center blockhouse "at the Schuylkill" (now Philadelphia) in 1633 (earlier than the Swedish) but abandoned it in about 1643.[3][4] From 1648 to 1651 the Dutch built and garrisoned Fort Beversrede ("beaver road") in what is now Philadelphia. In order to intercept Minqua Indian fur traders coming down the Schuylkill River, and stifle competition, the Swedish built a blockhouse between the river and fort and only 12 feet in front of the palisade gates of Beversrede.[5][6][7][8] When the Dutch built another fort in present-day New Castle, Delaware the Swedes captured it without a fight in 1654.[9][10][11] But the Dutch returned in 1655 and took possession of all New Sweden. For more details see the New Netherland wiki article.

British Empire. In 1642 Englishmen from New Haven, Connecticut built a blockhouse at Province Island (now Philadelphia Airport) but were promptly driven out by the Dutch and Swedish. In 1664 as part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the British forced New Netherland into submission. By 1670 the English, Irish, and Welsh predominated in the area. They settled mostly in Philadelphia and the eastern counties.[12]

Germans began coming to Pennsylvania in large numbers at the end of the 1600s. They settled first in the eastern counties and later migrated to western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Many Pennsylvania Germans also migrated later to North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois.

Jordan's article includes passenger lists for many Moravians entering the colony:

  • Jordan, John W. "Moravian Immigration to Pennsylvania, 1734-1765," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 33 (1909):228-256. For free online access, see WeRelate.

Scots-Irish started coming in large numbers after 1718. They settled first in the Cumberland Valley area and later pushed into the western Pennsylvania counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington, Greene, and Allegheny. Many Scotch-Irish eventually moved into southern states such as Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Kentucky. French Huguenot and Swiss families mingled with the Germans. Some Huguenots from New York migrated to Pennsylvania and settled in Berks and Lancaster counties. Swiss Mennonites began to settle in Lancaster county about 1710.

Irish Quakers came to Pennsylvania as early as the 17th Century. An outstanding historical study with brief biographies and names of extended family members remaining in Ireland, and which provides a summary of Irish Quaker emigration and migration to the state, is: Immigration of Irish Quakers to Pennsylvania, 1682-1750 .

There are many online resources for finding Irish emigrant ancestry to the United States and Pennsylvania in particular. Visit a significant website containing several Irish immigration website links for Pennsylvania:

French settlers were minorities in Colonial Pennsylvania.[13]

Many people came to Pennsylvania and the other colonies as indentured servants. For an excellent discussion of "unfree labor," see Sharon V. Salinger, To Serve Well and Faithfully: Labor and Indentured Servants in Pennsylvania, 1682-1800 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1987; Family History Library book FHL book 974.8 E6ss. It includes the names of some individuals who were indentured servants. The sources Salinger used can provide examples of the kind of records to search to find out information about these individuals.

An interesting collection of records compiled during the Revolutionary War period that may provide helpful information on families is Pennsylvania, Supreme Executive Council, Application for Passes, 1775-1790 (Family History Library film FHL film 1759080. See Guide to the Microfilm of the Records of Pennsylvania Revolutionary Governments, 1775-1790 in the "Archives and Libraries" article on this site for a list of names in these records.

In the 1870s Pennsylvania attracted large numbers of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. These included Slavs, Poles, Italians, Jews, Russians, and Greeks. During the 19th and especially the 20th centuries, blacks from the southern states also moved to Pennsylvania in large numbers.

For an account of some of these groups see John E. Bodnar, The Ethnic Experience in Pennsylvania (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania : Bucknell University Press, 1973; Family History Library book FHL book 974.8 F2bo.

  • The Israel Daniel Rupp Collection of 30,000 Pennsylvania immigrants from 1727-1776 is online in PDF form at the Brigham Young University Family History Archives.

    For the period 1792-1794, there is A Health Officer's Register of Passenger's Names at the State Archives (but not at the Family History Library) that lists the names of ship passengers.

    In Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2 vol. 17, pp. 521-667, is Names of Foreigners Arriving in Pennsylvania, 1786-1808, which appears to be the same records covering a longer span of time. Some entries include place of birth. They are also included in Strassburger and Hinke, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, which is listed below.

Philadelphia has been a major port of entry for European immigrants since the seventeenth century. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of passenger arrival records from the National Archives, including:

  • Indexes,1800-1882, 1883-1948, 1906-1926
  • Lists, 1800-1906, 1883-1921 Pennsylvania passenger lists for 1 July 1948 to 30 November 1954 were destroyed before they were microfilmed.
  • Bentley, Elizabeth P., and Michael H. Tepper.Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia, 1800-1819. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. FHL book 974.811 W3p

See Also:

  • Over 200,000 names of immigrants and naturalized aliens in Pennsylvania are indexed in the following source: *Filby, P. William. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. 15 vols. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1981-. FHL book 973.W32p The first three volumes are a combined alphabetical index published in 1981. Supplemental volumes have been issued annually. There are also cumulative 1982 to 1985, 1986 to 1900, and 1991 to 1997 supplements. These volumes index names of colonial immigrants listed in published sources.
  • A large alphabetically-arranged 54 volume manuscript collection at the Chester County Historical Society is Albert C. Meyers, comp., Notes on Immigrants to Pennsylvania, 1681-1737 (on 14 Family History Library films beginning with FHL film 567010 item 2.
  • Emigrants to Pennsylvania, 1641-1819: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists from the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. FHL book 974.8 W3t.
  • Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776 and Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775. [Novato, California]: Brøderbund Software, 1996. (Family History Library compact disc no. 9 pt. 350). Not available at Family History Centers. A comprehensive list of about 140,000 immigrants to America from Britain. Includes Pennsylvania immigrants. It may show British hometown, emigration date, ship, destination, and text of the document abstract.
  • Records of major ethnic groups are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under PENNSYLVANIA - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION, and under PENNSYLVANIA - MINORITIES. See also Pennsylvania Minorities. Published studies include those for the Schwenkfelder, Quaker, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, Amish, and Huguenot groups. Many passenger lists are now available on the internet. Use a search engine with "Pennsylvania Passenger Lists" terms to identify currently available lists.


A list of colonial ships for the Port of Philadelphia has been compiled. Though the names of passengers are not identified, it is possible to identify the ships' movements, owners, places built, and tonnage, see:

  • "Ship Registers for the Port of Philadelphia, 1726-1775," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1726-1730: Vol. 23 (1899):254-264; 1730-1736: Vol. 23 (1899):370-385; 1736/7-1739: Vol. 23 (1899):498-515; 1740-1742: Vol. 24 (1900):108-115; 1742-1745: Vol. 24 (1900):212-223; 1745-1747: Vol. 24 (1900):348-366; 1748-1750: Vol. 24 (1900):500-519; 1750-1751: Vol. 25 (1901):118-131; 1751-1752: Vol. 25 (1901):266-281; 1752-1754: Vol. 25 (1901):400-416; 1755-1756: Vol. 25 (1901):560-574; 1757-1758: Vol. 26 (1902):126-143; 1759: Vol. 26 (1902):280-284; 1759: Vol. 26 (1902):390-400; 1759-1760: Vol. 26 (1902):470-475; 1760-1761: Vol. 27 (1903):94-107; 1761: Vol. 27 (1903):238-245; 1761-1765: Vol. 27 (1903):346-370; 1765-1767: Vol. 27 (1903):482-498; 1767-1768: Vol. 28 (1904):84-100; 1769-1770: Vol. 28 (1904):218-235; 1770-1772: Vol. 28 (1904):346-374; 1773-1775: Vol. 28 (1904):470-507. For free online access, see WeRelate.

Dr. Marianne S. Wokeck created a detailed list of "German Immigrant Voyages, 1683-1775" to Colonial America. Philadelphia was the most popular destination. She published the list in an Appendix to:

  • Wokeck, Marianne S. Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. FHL Book 970 W2w.

Migration Out of Pennsylvania

During the colonial period, many immigrants lived temporarily in Pennsylvania before resettling elsewhere in the colonies - particularly those of German and Scotch-Irish background. Many went to the backcountry regions of Virginia and North Carolina.[14]

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