German, Swiss, Dutch Immagrants to Pennsylvania 1727-1775

4 Answers

+4 votes
That is one of the old stand-by references. It is always good to remind a new generation of some of these standard works.

Nice to know it has been digitized.
by Daniel Bly G2G6 Mach 5 (53.8k points)
Thanks Daniel, I'm glad it is known.  It was new to me and I was hoping for a breakthrough on one of my brickwalls, but no such luck.  Do you know of a similar book or source for New York (or New Amsterdam) for the 1700's?
No I do not know any New York sources. I would bet there is someone on here who does!

People arriving in New Netherland were not greeted by British bureaucrats demanding that they take oaths of allegiance to the British crown,wink so there are no similar records for ships arriving in New Netherland. There is some documentation of new arrivals, but nothing systematic.

The  New Netherland Settlers Project has a number of pages of information about sources for New Netherland, including links to documentation for some arriving passengers. Please check out New Netherland Settlers Project Reliable Sources and linked pages in WikiTree. The collection in Olive Tree Genealogy's Seventeenth Century Immigrants to New Netherland and New York (not a WikiTree page) can be a good place to start in looking for ship records.

+5 votes
Hi Brad,  The Rupp source is excellent, and you will find it highly cited both at Wikitree and beyond.  Arrivals of Germans and Swiss in Philadelphia began around 1715, but ships' records are sparse before 1727, so it's difficult or impossible to find ship records for 1715-1726 for Philadelphia arrivals.

For New York arrivals, the classic source is "The Palatine Families of New York", by Henry Z. Jones Jr (1985).  This is an outstanding piece of genealogical research that documents a cohort of of people who arrived in New York in 1710 from the Palatinate, most of which is today Germany. A subset of these immigrants migrated from New York to Pennsylvania around 1723-1730.  Some others remained in New York, and some of those people later migrated to what is today Canada.  This source is not online.  I can help if you require further info.
by Michael Schell G2G6 Mach 2 (27.7k points)

Michael, I couldn't find any online source of that book, only rather expensive reprints for several hundred dollars.

Do you know of such a public, free source?


Reading the description I understand what value it presents:

"2 vol; 684pp & 690pp. 45 illus. 30,000 entry Every Name index plus German place name index. 2010 (2001) (1995)(1985). Now in its fourth printing, this classic two volume set is a mainstay of all New York Germanic research, as well as much of New Jersey's! In the decade since winning the prestigious Jacobus Award the author has spoken before many societies and conferences, and is widely known and admired for his work on German immigrants to colonial America. Hank Jones' massive two volumes fully document the account of all 847 Palatine families who came to colonial New York from Germany in 1710. The volumes trace the American descendants of many of them down to the American Revolution. Also included is the German ancestry, often back into the 17th century, for over 500 of the 847 families! Much of the German research was done by the late Carla Mittelstaedt-Kubaseck, working from the original records in Germany which have never been microfilmed. Any student of the great Germanic migrations needs this large and meticulously compiled two-volume set."

The bad news is that none of the Jones volumes are online.  The good news is that I own all of them, so I am happy to help with look-ups.  Jones even published a brief update to his his original 1985 work in 2020.
I know that the historian Philip Otterness, author of "Becoming German" compiled a database of the 1710 immigrants based on the Jones book.  Wouldn't it be great if he shared it online? Until last year Jones still sold new copies of his first two volumes for about $150.  Now that he's sold out, I've seen prices as high as $1000 at Amazon.
Michael, my ancestor [[DeBeck-24]] was Johan (John) Ludwig Debeck.  His muster roll for Emmerick's Chasseurs in 1778, fighting for the British, states that he was born in Germany, so I'm assuming he came over either to fight or was here a few years earlier.  He didn't come with the Hessians.  His last name has been spelt in muster rolls as Debeck, de Beck, or DeBesch (or variation thereof).  

I haven't found any records of him (or family, if he came with parents), but I know that Emmerick recruited from Duchess County and area.  If you would be so kind as to have a look at your records from Jones' book, I would be grateful.  

I believe anywhere from 1770 -1778 should be the range.

Thank you in advance for any effort you put in.

There is no mention of the surname Debeck or its variations in any of the Henry Jones works.  I got nothin'.

I agree that Ludwig probably came over to fight; there were various German mercenary groups who fought with the British. You might be able to figure out more about which German units worked with Emmerick's Chasseurs, perhaps a  record of a port of departure?

Funny, my ancestor Thomas Hill, UE had a Loyalist journey similar to Johan Ludwig Debeck (although Hill was English, not German).  Hill was wounded at Camden under Simcoe and Tarleton, evacuated to Long Island, then to Nova Scotia, finally settling in Toronto.

Thanks for checking for me Michael.  It is a brick wall that I am trying to break down.
+5 votes

An even better source for the records of ships arriving at Philadelphia is Strassburger, Ralph Beaver; edited by William John Hinke. Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808. Pennsylvania German Society, Norristown, PA, 1934. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., Baltimore, 1980. (See the linked page for online sources.)

If you are interested in these people, you ought to consider participating in the Palatine Migration Project. smiley

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
There should be some care taken when it comes to the spelling of names as presented in the Captain's list (as per the author himself explained in the beginning of volume 3).

He states that they noted down the names as they would hear them without knowledge of German names and using the spelling of how English would spell.

An example:

"Thus we find on p. 346 Martian Oadt, p. 347 Martini Tienod, and p. 348 Martin Oats. The correct form must have been Martin Ott ..."

Examples which are rather funny but completely wrong:

Jacob Rudolph Seymour (p. 301) = Jacob Riedesheimer

Hans Jackop Struhgefier (p. 117) = Hans Jacob Schreiber

Albert Uderstal (p. 591) = Albert Otto Steg

So in general it's advised to use the index in volume 3 as well for the correct German spelling, otherwise you might never identify who your ancestor was in German records.
+2 votes
Rupp is useful, but often wildly inaccurate. My immigrant ancestors arrived in 1741 and I have found their arrival in Rupp, and in Strassburger (as answered earlier by someone else). Strassburger also published facsimiles of the actual handwritten documents. My family name, Feÿ,, was apparently illegible to Rupp, who has one of them, the father, as "Huey", and his son as "Süs", whereas Strassburger has both correctly, and they are very clear on the facsimile. So, yes, make use of Rupp, but don't be overconfident of what he says.
by David Foy G2G Crew (740 points)
Thanks for that clarification. Indeed, a number of the people listed in the Appendix of Rupp are said to have arrived before 1730--when actually quite a few on that list actually arrived 1731-1733.

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