click to view original photo

History of the Pennsylvania Dutch

Brief history of the origins of the Pennsylvania Dutch in America.


Content Details

Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Melissa Slate
Word Count: 276 (approx.)
Labels: Ethnic 
Short URL:

Add Comment

The Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of German speaking immigrants who came to Pennsylvania prior to 1800. They were the first foreign language speaking culture in America. The Pennsylvania Dutch were not really people of Dutch descent or lineage at all. Some people feel that the Dutch title came from a confusion of the word Deutsch which means German, so strictly speaking the title Pennsylvania German is probably more correct. However, some Pennsylvania Dutch argue strongly in favor of the Dutch term as it implies a subculture that has thrived apart from its European connections. The true ethnic origins of the Pennsylvania Dutch arose from the European nations of Germany and Switzerland.

Between the years 1689-1697 French troops pillaged the town of Palatine, Germany during the War of the Grand Alliance. Many Germans were forced to flee as refugees. A great may of these people left the homeland for America with the intent of settling in the colony of William Penn while others immigrated to Ireland. The Germans were largely assisted in their immigration efforts by the British until just prior to the Revolutionary War, when much of the British assistance ceased.

To the Germans, Pennsylvania offered a vast amount of rich farmland and the chance for religious freedom. By choosing to settle in Pennsylvania, the farmers cou vary widely. In addition to the Amish or Mennonite religions there are Lutherans and Catholics as well as other smaller religious orders. They were a devout, quiet, non aggressive agricultural people known for there fair treatment of the Indians and their extreme opposition to the enslavement of men.

Pennsylvania Dutch Family History

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

Recent Feedback:
  • No matches for this listing.
  • << GenWeekly

    << Helpful Articles


    Suggested Next Steps (BETA)

  • Would you like to keep up-to-date with the latest releases from Genealogy Today, along with news from a variety of other sources by receiving The Genealogy News (a FREE service) by email? Yes, sign me up
  • Would you like to become a Genealogy Today member and be able to manage your research experience, post messages to forums, add comments to resources and much more? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to tap into our community of over 85,000 members by posting a query and get assistance breaking down your most difficult brickwalls? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to go shopping in a marketplace of over 700 items, including charts, scrapbooking materials, books and a variety of unique gifts and supplies? Yes, take me there
  • Would you like to search for your ancestors in a collection of over 6,000 transcribed documents that includes Masonic lodge rosters, funeral notices, school catalogues, telephone directories, insurance claims, directories, church member lists, prison records, etc.? Yes, take me there