Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Genealogy by the States ~ Pennsylvania

Jim Sanders of Hidden Genealogy Nuggets has begun a new genealogy blogging series.

"Each week the blog post will focus on a particular state. The post can be about a particular individual or family who lived in or was connected in some way to that state. Sometimes there will not be a personal connection to the state. In this case find a genealogy resource for that state to talk about and highlight instead. Follow along with this series and post to your own site. If you choose to follow along, please link to ( or mention the Hidden Genealogy Nuggets website."

Pennsylvania - The Keystone State

My father was an avid American history buff. When we were children we visited many of the historical sites in our region. Pennsylvania had to be one of our favorites. From Philadelphia to the Gettysburg National Battlefield each trip was filled with new discoveries.

Not until I began this genealogy adventure did we know about my husband's deep Pennsylvanian roots. In fact, three of his family lines (McSherry, Ruth and Wismer) immigrated to the state. The Starr family eventually relocated from Connecticut to Adams County, Pennsylvania.
Rev. Christian Wismer Ruth, husband's grandfather

Ruth and Wismer lines:

One surprise we encountered was my husband's Mennonite history. Until this point we knew nothing of this hearitage. These ancestors were among the early founders of churches in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

I have been fortunate enough to locate many resources about both the Ruth and Wismer lines. On Google Books we found: "Brief history of Jacob Wismer, and a complete genealogical family register" by Rev. A. J. Fretz, published 1893 by the Mennonite Publishing Company. From eBay I purchased "Ruth Genealogy with Supplement" by Warren R. Kriebel, published 1978 by Fountain Press.

Frick's Meetinghouse and Burial Ground, Montgomery, Pennsylvania
Burial site of Susannah Allebach Ruth, husband's 3rd great-grandmother

McSherry line:

Patrick McSherry (husband's 5th great-grandfather) immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1760 from Ireland. There he founded McSherrytown. The following information was located on Google Books.

 "History of Saint Aloyisus Church of Littlestown, Pennsylvania" by William McSherry, Jr., A.M. published by J.E. Wible, 1893.

Starr line:

Comfort Starr (husband's 9th great-grandfather) immigrated from England in 1635 to the state of Massachusetts. My husband's line moved from Connecticut to New York, eventually settling in Adams County, Pennsylvania.

On the Internet Archives site I found "A History of the Starr Family of New England, from the ancestor, Dr. Comfort Starr, of Ashford, County of Kent, England, Who Emigrated to Boston, Mass., in 1635; containing the names of 6766 if His Descendants, and the Record and History of 1794 Families" by Burgis Pratt Starr. Published in Hartford, Connecticut. The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., in 1879.

It has been a pleasure to research my husband's Pennsylvania roots. I must admit being a wee bit jealous of the ease with which we discovered his family history. Locating books about his ancestors has led to a wealth of information.

Here are several additional Pennsylvania resources discovered while researching.

Genealogy Today - Pennsylvania

Historical Digital Collegian Archive (newspapers) - Penn State University Libraries

Historical Maps of Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania Civil War 150

Pennsylvania Civil War Volunteers

Pennsylvania Genealogy & Family History - Genealogy

Pennsylvania Genealogy & History - The Olive Tree Genealogy

Revolutionary War and Beyond

Writing this blog has led to connecting with several of my husband's cousins. Please leave a message if you may be related to one of the above lines.


  1. Hi Deb,

    You mentioned Google Books which is one of my favorite free resources for Genealogy. There are so many books digitized and available for free. I've found my ancestors in NYC Directories, Scotland Directories, United States Government printings and more. I can't get enough of Google Books. I look forward to reading the other blogs on your post about the states.

    Regards, Jim

    1. Hello Jim,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree, the Google Books website is a wonderful resource! Also, thank you for this wonderful series. Looking forward to discovering more about our country as each week passes.

  2. Thank you for such a lovely posting about your ancestors in PA, plus the great resources! My KUHN ancestors came to PA in about 1732, and my 2nd great-grandfather, Joseph Jacobus KUHN, died in McSherrytown in 1878. I was so surprised at seeing the name of that town in a blog, and now I know more about its history! Thank you so much.

    1. Celia,

      Thank you for reading the post and commenting. What a small world! I have seen the Kuhn name during research and visits to Adams County. Never know, you may be one of my hubby's cousins.

  3. I enjoy reading your blog. My 3rd greatgrandmother was Sidina Ruth. Her line begins with Henry Ruth emigrating to Pennsylvania in early 1700s. She was born January 13, 1814 in Upper Mount Bethel, Northhampton, Pennsylvania. Sidina married George Phillips and eventually they moved to Iowa. Her name in census records was listed as Sidney and maiden name as Root in family tree. It took many years of searching before I found a baptism record for Sidina Ruth and it all came together. That has been the most rewarding moment in my genealogy search. I had never realised my maternal line had been here before the Revolutionary War. Thank you for the information about Pennsylvania. I do appreciate it. Pam

    1. Pam,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Glad you are enjoying the blog. I am having a blast writing! The Ruth family gave me a few problems because of using variations such as Rutt and so forth. Glad to hear you are having such success with your research.