Pennsylvania Dutch

It’s no secret that American family origins often get murky in the 18th century, but when the records were largely created and kept by people who didn’t even speak the same language as your ancestors, tracing your family history can really go sideways. Add in the fact that many early families were Mennonite and generally eschewed vital records creation; and that Pennsylvania Dutch families were less likely to create wills and more likely to handle estate and land transactions ‘off the books’, you’ll find that many traditional genealogical methods will fall flat with these families.

As an 11th generation of Pennsylvania Dutch descendant and native resident of the Pennsylvania Dutch ‘heartland’ of southeastern-south central PA, I have deep familiarity with the immigration and migration, family structures, and cultural customs of German-speaking people who immigrated to the mid-Atlantic in the late 17th through mid-19th centuries and then often traveled west or south within a generation or two. With my localized access to the small repositories and churches that hold crucial historical records, we can untangle the yarns of your Pennsylvania Dutch family story.