Naturalization and Citizenship

British immigrants to Pennsylvania were already citizens because Pennsylvania was a British colony. Others gave an oath of allegiance soon after they arrived. For early lists of oaths of allegiance, see Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Strassburger and Hinke. Other good sources of early naturalization records include:

Naturalization Lists, 1740-1773, Pennsylvania Supreme Court. These records can be viewed as part of the Pennsylania Archives series 2, vol. 2, as well as through the LDS FHL (film 1032845 item 5-7).

Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants in the American and West Indian Colonies (Pursuant to statute 13 George 11, c.7), M. S. Giusepi, ed. FHL call number 973 W5g; film 908978 item 1.

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania required oaths of allegiance during and shortly after the Revolutionary War period.

See "Names of Persons who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania Between the years 1776 and 1794" found in the Pennsylvania Archives, series 2, v. 3, p. 1-86. FHL book call number 974.8 A39p ser 2 v3 or on film 823994 item 1. Also, Names of Persons who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania Between the Years 1777 and 1789: With a History of "Test Laws" of Pennsylvania by Thompson Westcott (1965 Balt. MD). FHL call number 974.8 P4w or film 1033632 item 7.

After this period, immigrants filed for naturalization in county courts, though many filed in city, state or federal courts too. The LDS FHL has microfilmed copies of some of these records. The court of common pleas and the court of quarter sessions has jurisdiction over the naturalization of aliens.

The Comprehensive Naturalization Law of 1906 provided for nationwide uniformity of processes and records. Jurisdication over naturalization was provided by the US District Courts. For records after 1906, see the NARA - Philadelphia Branch or the local office of Immigration and Naturalization. The LDS FHL has some microfilmed records of naturalization (for about 2/3 of PA counties).

Early Immigration - Statistics

Date Settlers
1630 - 1650 Swedes, Dutch and English arrive in Pennsylvania
1670's English, Irish and Welsh arrive - predominate the area
1680s - 1700 Germans began arriving in large numbers and settled in eastern Pennsylvania. Later they migrated to the western portion of the state, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Many Pennsylvania Germans migrated to North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.
1718 Scotch-Irish come in large numbers and settle in the Cumberland Valley area and later push westward to Fayette, Greene, Westmoreland, and Allegheny counties.
1720's French Huguenot and Swiss Mennonites arrive and settle in Berks and Lancaster county

Ships Lists

More general information on Immigration, Passenger Lists, and Ships Lists follows.

There are several websites that specialize in Ship's List details. These are a few that were recommended by two of our Somerset County researchers, Pam Roper and Denny Shirer:

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This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by April Phillips and Connie Burkett with help and information provided by other volunteers.

Last Revised: January 27, 2016

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