Saturday, January 8, 2011

Surname Saturday - Pennsylvania Ancestors


When I began researching our genealogy the discovery that most of my husband's ancestors came from Pennsylvania was a surprise. In fact three of his family lines run very deep in the state. He had always been under the assumption that his relatives immigrated to the midwest.

These ancestors arrived in Pennsylvania from Germany, Switzerland, and Ireland. The Wismer line is believed to have arrived in Bucks County as early as 1710, Ruth line arriving also to Bucks County between 1756 and 1757. The McSherry line arrived in Adams County around 1745, in fact there is a town named for this ancestor.

From Adams County Bicentennial Tidbits September, 1999.

McSherrystown is the fourth oldest town in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Its founder, Patrick McSherry procured a 300 acre tract from the Digges Family in 1763 and proceeded to lay out a number of five-acre lots. The first known deed for one of these lots was dated June 27, 1765. Although McSherry may have intended his effort to be used primarily as outlots for Hanover residents, where they could keep their animals at times and obtain wood, it soon developed into a full-fledged town. McSherry, who lived in Mount Pleasant Township in 1765 and was later tavern-keeper in Littlestown, may never have lived in the town which bears his name.

There were many surprises along the way from Mennonite ancestry to prominent political leaders. Information that would never have come to light without this obsession called "genealogy"

I have spent a fair amount of time trying to locate resources. Here are a few that have proved to be helpful :

Digital Newspapers at Penn State

From Pennsylvania to Waterloo: a biographical history of Waterloo Township

History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania by William Watts Hart Davis (Google Books)

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
PA-Roots

Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War
Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives
Record Groups at the Pennsylvania State Archives

Records of the Department of Internal Affairs, Record of Marriages, 1885-1889
USGenWeb - Pennsylvania County Histories and Pennsylvania Biographies

And of course there are many research tools on these sites:

Cyndi's List : Pennsylvania
Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

Genealogy About.com : Pennsylvania

Genealogy Today : Pennsylvania

Olive Tree Genealogy : Pennsylvania Genealogy & History
Fortunately we live close enough to visit the areas in which these ancestors resided. Several summers have been spent traveling every Saturday to locate cemeteries, churches, and visit historical societies. I do believe we have many more years of discovery in the state of Pennsylvania!

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