Re: 17th century mixed marriages--Rhineland & Switzerland? #dna

SarahRose Werner

How exactly is "Pennsylvania Dutch" defined in the case of the Pennsylvania Dutch migrant?  Does it mean someone who was supposedly of the Anabaptist faith?  Or does it mean someone who emigrated from the same region of (what later became) Germany as other 18th century emigrants to Pennsylvania, regardless of their religion?

The reason I'm asking is that some of my mother's Protestant German ancestors were from Freinsheim in the Palatinate, der Rheinpfalz.  This was one region from which German-speaking folks emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.  My mother's ancestors didn't emigrate until the mid-1800s.  There are pretty detailed records for people who left Freinsheim in the mid/late 1800s, and these records include religion.  Lots of Protestants (Reformed and Lutheran), some Catholics and a handful of Jews.  Some of the Jewish names in the emigration records also show up in legal records earlier in the 1800s.

If the Jewish families in Freinsheim in the 1800s are descendants of people who were there in the 1700s, it doesn't seem unlikely that there were also Jews in Freinsheim - and elsewhere in the Pfalz - who emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

Note that historically, the Pfalz is known for being a farming region and getting invaded a lot.  It wasn't the richest place to live.  I would guess that many emigrants were motivated by economics rather than by religious persecution.  (In my great-great-grandfather's stepfather's case, political trouble may also have been involved.)  

SarahRose Werner,  Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada   <swerner@...>

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