Emigration and Immigration

(See also the LDS Research Outline, United States Research Outline as well as Tracing Immigrant Origins research outline for important sources of information regarding immigrants.)

The first European settlers in Pennsylvania were the swedes who came in the 1630's and the Dutch who came in the 1650's. By 1670 the English, Irish and Welsh predominated in the area. The settled mostly in Philadelphia and in the eastern counties.

Germans began coming to Pennsylvania in large numbers towards the end of the 1600's. They settled first in the eastern counties and later migrated to western Pennsylvania. The Scotch-irish started coming in large numbers after 1718. They settled first in the Cumberland Valley and later moved west to Fayette and Westmoreland counties as well as Washington, Green and Allegheny.

Early settlers to Somerset county were English, Scottish and German. Swiss Mennonites who settled in Lancaster county as early as 1710, also came to this county. There are several Amish-Mennonite communities in the county today.

After the Civil War, Pennsylvania attracted large numbers of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. These included Slavs, Poles, Italians, Jews, Russians, and Greeks. In Somerset county, many of these immigrants settled in the northern counties of Paint and Shade Township.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, many blacks from southern states migrated to Pennsylvania in large numbers. For an account of some of these groups, see John E. Bodnar's, The Ethnic Experience in Pennsylvania (Lewisberg, PA: Bucknell Univ. 1973 FHL call number 974.8 F2bo).

Port of Entry

Philadelphia was a major port of entry for European immigrants since the 1600's. The LDS FHL has microfilmed copies of passenger arrival records from the National Archives.

Indexes from 1800-1906, 1820-1874, 1883-1948, 1906-1911. Lists from 1800-1916

There are several websites that specialize in Ship's List details.


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Last Revised: January 27, 2016

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