Genealogy Pennsylvania Dutch in the US

Dad said his Fulmer ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch. The Pennsylvania Dutch are not even Dutch at all. They are not from the country that we know today as the Netherlands. Some say that the Pennsylvania Dutch should be more properly known as Pennsylvania German. Deutsch means German and the early English in America corrupted the term Deutsch to Dutch. The term German though had a different meaning before 1800. The Germans were not members of a formal country at that time, but were a loose collection of principalities, free cities, protectorates and confederations. The country that we know today as Germany came into being in 1848 with the unification process starting around 1800. German areas before 1800 included areas that are now part of Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Russia, France and other areas as well as Germany. A more formal definition of Pennsylvania Dutch then are those that came to America from those areas where the German language was spoken before 1800. Those that came after 1800 are usually referred to as Pennsylvania Germans or just German immigrants.


1806-1871, Formation of the German Empire

Prussia, Schleswig, Holstein, Hanover, Alsace, Lorraine


Map of Germany

Germany today


Thank you for 1800's map: L. P. Benezet, The Story of the Map of Europe (Chicago, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1916) 158
Map Credit: Courtesy The Private Collection of Roy Winkelman

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