Pennsylvania German Pioneers Research Guide 1727-1808

Books, CD-Rom, Microfilm, Microfiche and Online Lists

compiled by Joe Beine, German Roots Webmaster

Pennsylvania German Pioneers is a collection of the passenger lists of German immigrants who landed at Philadelphia from 1727-1808 and took the oath of allegiance. Generally only the names of the adult male passengers (age 16 and above) were recorded. Some of the later lists also name the women and children. This webpage lists the varying ways of searching these lists. Pennsylvania German Pioneers was originally published as a 3 volume set of books...

BOOK SERIES: Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727-1808. Compiled by Ralph Beaver Strassburger. Edited by William John Hinke. (3 Vols.)
  • Vol. 1 has abstracts of the lists from 1727-1784
  • Vol. 2 has reproductions of the orginal lists, including most of the adult male passenger's signatures (or marks) from 1727-1775 (some passengers signed with an 'X' or other mark, but their names are still listed)
  • Vol. 3 covers 1785-1808 and indexes all 3 volumes
These books are still in print. Although expensive, the set can be ordered at Also check at your local library.

CD-Rom: The complete text of Volumes 1 & 3 (but not Volume 2 with the signatures) is available on the German & Swiss Settlers in America CD-Rom. Click on the link below for ordering information...

German & Swiss Settlers in America 1700s-1800s (CD #267) - this CD-Rom also includes the text of many other books related to German immigration to the US, mostly from the 18th century.

You can also order Pennsylvania German Pioneers on microfilm or microfiche for viewing at any local LDS Family History Center (FHC) for a small fee.

Microfilm roll numbers...
note: Vol 2 is not available on microfilm, only microfiche
  • Vol 1 (FHL Catalog lists this as Vol 42) 1727-1775...FHL Roll #1035683...item 5
  • Vol 3 (FHL Catalog lists this as Vol 44) 1785-1808, indexes...FHL Roll #1321373...item 3
Microfiche numbers...
note: check with your local FHC -- they may already have these on hand
  • Vol 1 (FHL Catalog lists this as Vol 42) 1727-1775...FHL Fiche #6051507 (10 fiches)
  • Vol 2 (FHL Catalog lists this as Vol 43) signatures...FHL Fiche #6051508 (11 fiches)
  • Vol 3 (FHL Catalog lists this as Vol 44) 1785-1808, indexes...FHL Fiche #6051509 (9 fiches)
Pennsylvania German Pioneers Online

Directory of Ships in Pennsylvania German Pioneers with links to online passenger lists -- not yet complete, but has more than 200 lists (free to search)

Pennsylvania German Pioneers Searchable Database (requires payment - part of an Ancestry subscription)

Pennsylvania German Pioneers Research Notes

What's the Difference Between the A, B & C Lists?

Some of the lists in Volume 1 of Pennsylvania German Pioneers contain three slightly different versions of the same list. These are labeled A, B & C. List A is the "Captain's List," the passenger list as prepared by the ship captain. Lists B & C are different versions of the Oath of Allegiance lists (usually the B lists are Oaths of Allegiance to the King and the C lists are Oaths of Abjuration from the Pope). Some of the different versions of each list have not survived. Many have just one or two. There is only one list for each of the ships in Volume 3. Volume 1 contains Lists 1-324 (with some A, B & C variations). Volume 3 contains Lists 325-506. Some of the later lists in Volume 3 also name the women and children as do a few of the earlier lists. For more details see: Description of the Lists of German Passengers at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

What Does "Last from Cowes" Mean? Or "Last from Portsmouth?"

If you see this on one of the lists it means the ship stopped at Cowes or Portsmouth on its way. Cowes is a port near southern England on the Isle of Wight. Portsmouth is a port on the south coast of England.

What Do I Do Next?

If you find a match in Pennsylvania German Pioneers the next step is to locate the place (town name) in Germany your ancestor is from -- then you can look for records from that town to research the family further. Some of the passenger lists give the town name, but most do not. Here is a list of research ideas for finding this information about your ancestor...
  • The Research Monographs & Books of Annette K. Burgert
  • Filby's Passenger & Immigration Lists Index
  • Other Palatine Research Materials
All of these items are discussed here: Finding Passenger Lists Before 1820 ...Look in the "General," "Philadelphia" and "Germany" sections.

Return to the Finding Passenger Lists Before 1820 Page

Finding Passenger Lists 1820 to the 1940s

What Passenger Lists Are Online?

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