Resources for Pennsylvania German Genealogy

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Resources for Pennsylvania German Genealogy

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and following the guidelines set forth by the CDC and state and local officials, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this program. Refunds will be issued to tickets already purchased. Please do not hesitate to contact us at with any further questions or concerns. Thank You.

Tuesday, 4/21/20 1:00 pm - Tuesday, 5/12/20 3:00 pm

Event Type

Genealogy Workshop
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St
19107 Philadelphia , PA

According to the 2012 American Community Survey, 1 in 4 of Pennsylvanians self-reported German ancestry.  In the same study, nationally over 1 in every 10 people self-reported the same, many of whose families immigrated through the Commonwealth.  How do learn about your family history if you fall into one of these groups?  

Come to HSP’s four-week course to learn about the history of Pennsylvania-German immigration and the various records and methods for genealogical research.  Each session will feature information about a topic and a chance to learn about HSP’s resources related to it.  You can buy the tickets for the whole series at a discount, or come for those days that most interest you. 

Tuesday, April 21 - Setting the Scene of the Pennsylvania Germans: Who, What and Where

Waves of German immigration have occurred over the 300 years of American history.  James M. Beidler will provide the historical background needed to understand the dynamics and settlement patterns. He is a research-reports editor for Legacy Tree Genealogists as well as an author and columnist. He will give an overview of the ethnic group’s history and how it affects genealogical research about them. Attendees also will have a chance to purchase his books:  The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide, Trace Your German Roots Online, The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide and The Family Tree Historical Atlas of Germany).

This session will include an introduction to how to do genealogical research with HSP’s collections and resources.

Tuesday, April 28 -  Navigating Church Records

Thomas J. McCullough will discuss where to find church records and tips for how to make best use of them, especially if they are written in German.  McCullough is assistant archivist of the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA. He is a German paleography specialist and has taught hundreds of teenagers and adults in the United States and Germany how to read and write antiquated German handwriting. He holds master’s degrees in applied history (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania) and library and information science (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

In this session, we also will showcase church records available at HSP. 

Tuesday, May 5 - Gleaning Information from Deeds and Estate Files

Daniel Brooks Lippard will discuss what records are available at the Recorder of Deeds and the Register of Wills and the vagaries of the indices for those offices. His talk also will include ways to establish unknown owners of land. He grew up in Lansdowne, Delaware County, graduated from Duke in 1968, was an officer in US Naval Security Group until 1971, and graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1975.  He has been in private practice here in Media for 45 years, focusing on land title issues and decedent's estates and is board member of the German Society of Pennsylvania.

In this session, we also will showcase land and legal records available at HSP. 

Tuesday, May 12- Getting Started on Finding Your Pennsylvania German Ancestor's Village of Origin in Germany

Finding the village of origin of our German ancestors can be a challenge. Sydney F. Cruice Dixon will help us explore the methods and the most efficient strategies for discovering the village of origin. The first step is resources on this side of the Atlantic, including those at HSP, which Dixon will review. She is a professional genealogist, writer and lecturer practicing in the Mid-Atlantic Region, current President of the Association of Professional Genealogists for the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, and serves on the Genealogy Advisory Committee for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She holds an MBA from Drexel University and a BA from Penn State University.