Pennsylvania Genealogy and History Guide

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Pennsylvania History and Genealogy Guide

This is a locality guide to help you with your research in Pennsylvania.


Official State Name: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Statehood: 12 December 1787
State Motto: Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
State Capital: Harrisburg
State Nickname: Keystone State; Quaker State
Demonym: Pennsylvanian
State Animal: White-Tailed Deer
State Beverage: Milk
State Bird: Ruffed Grouse
State Colors: Blue & Gold
State Dog: Great Dane
State Fish: Brook Trout
State Flower: Mountain Laurel
State Insect: Firefly
State Plant: Penngift Crownvetch
State Song: Pennsylvania
State Toy (proposed): Slinky
State Tree: Eastern Hemlock
  • Timeline:
1608 - English explorer Captain John Smith sails up the Susquehanna River.
1609 - Henry Hudson claims much of the region for the Dutch.
1643 - Swedish settlers found the first permanent settlement.
1664 - The land comes under the control of the British.
1681 - William Penn is given a large tract of land by King Charles II. He names it Pennsylvania.
1701 - The Charter of Privileges is signed by William Penn establishing a government.
1731 - The first U.S. library is opened by Benjamin Franklin.
1767 - The Mason-Dixon Line is agreed upon as the southern border with Maryland.
1774 - The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.
1775 - The Second Continental Congress meets, creating the Continental Army with George Washington as the leader.
1777 - The city of Philadelphia is occupied by the British.
1780 - Slavery is abolished.
1787 - Pennsylvania ratifies the Constitution and becomes the 2nd state.
1812 - The state capital moves to Harrisburg.
1835 - The Liberty Bell cracks.
1863 - The Battle of Gettysburg occurs. It is the turning point of the Civil War.
1953 - Dr. Jonas Salk discovers the vaccine for polio while working at the University of Pittsburgh.

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