Pennsylvania’s nickname, the Keystone State, is true in genealogy as well. Many of our early ancestors first came to America through the port of Philadelphia which was also the nation’s first capital before it moved to Washington, D.C. “Penn’s woods” welcomed people of all faiths and ethnicities making it Penn’s “Holy Experiment.” The westward expansion of the early 1800s toward Pittsburgh and the head of the Ohio River saw our ancestors open new territories. The industrial revolution of the late 1800s and early 1900s brought new immigrant workers to the coal mines and steel mills of Pennsylvania. The Allegheny Mountains, which run through the center of the state, were a barrier to westward expansion and still divide the state today with differences from language accents and food to sports and politics.
The In-Brief Guide to Pennsylvania Genealogy written by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, contains Factoids, Timeline, Research Strategies, Migration Routes and Motivations and many other recommended resources. This 4-page PDF guide can be used on your computer or mobile device.
Elissa is a western Pennsylvania researcher and co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). She is a past-president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and coordinator of the IGHR “Professional Genealogy” course since 2007 She was an instructor for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate course (2008-2016) and co-coordinator of SLIG’s 2013 “Credentialing: AG, CG, or Both?” course. Elissa’s familiarity with Pennsylvania history and research helps make this research guide a real value to anyone wanting to go further with their Pennsylvania ancestors.