Pennsylvania German Pioneers Research Guide 1727-1808

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 various ways of searching these lists. Pennsylvania German Pioneers was originally published as a 3 volume set of books by the Pennsylvania German Society in 1934...

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 1727-1775
  • 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
You might check at your local library.

Pennsylvania German Pioneers Online

Vol. 1 is available for download at the Internet Archive: Pennsylvania German Pioneers Vol. 1, 1727-1775

Vol. 3 is available for download at the Internet Archive: Pennsylvania German Pioneers Vol. 3, 1785-1808 includes a name index for the series in the back of the book

All 3 Volumes can be viewed and downloaded at FamilySearch: Pennsylvania German Pioneers: a Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 free with registration

All 3 Volumes can be viewed online at Hathi Trust: Pennsylvania German Pioneers

Pennsylvania German Pioneers Research Notes

What's the Difference Between the A, B and 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. The items listed below may be helpful for finding more information about your ancestor...
  • The Research Monographs and Books of Annette K. Burgert
  • Filby's Passenger and 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

Ship Passenger Lists on the Internet

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