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Pennsylvania Dutch History

Granddad Walter carrying Alan and Cousin Cay.  Grandma Ida holds cousin Patty.  Grandma Showalter's Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes from AlansKitchen.comThe Pennsylvania Dutch are the descendants of Germanic peoples who emigrated to the U.S. (primarily to Pennsylvania), from Southwestern Germany and Switzerland. The origin of the word 'Dutch' is a "folk-rendering" of the Pennsylvania Dutch's own self-designation Deitsch.

There is also some speculation among scholars that "Dutch" is actually an archaic term that was used to refer to all people of Germanic descent, and that is the term that stuck in the English-speaking community.  It corresponds to German Deutsch and the Netherlands' "Diets," meaning 'of the common people' as opposed to the learned lords and clerics who had mastered Latin.  The Pennsylvania Dutch come mostly from what is now Germany rather than the Netherlands. Logically, their language too is ultimately a derivative of Palatinate German, not Dutch.

Pennsylvania Dutch are a people of various religious affiliations, most of them Lutheran or Reformed, but many Anabaptists, non-Christian, and non-religious as well.  They live primarily in Southeastern and South Central Pennsylvania in the area stretching in an arc from Bethlehem and Allentown through Reading, Lebanon, and Lancaster to York and Chambersburg.

They can also be found down throughout the Shenandoah Valley (the modern Interstate 81 corridor) in the adjacent states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, and in the large Amish and Mennonite communities in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, in Ohio north and south of Youngstown and in Indiana around Elkhart.  Their cultural traditions date back to the German immigrations to America in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Only then did German immigration from various parts the southern Rhineland, Palatinate, the southern part of Hesse, Baden, Alsace Switzerland, and Tyrol Austria gain momentum, and soon dominate the area.

More Pennsylvania Dutch

Marian exiles
Hans Herr
Old German Baptist Brethren
Rumspringa
Pennsylvania German language
Hiwwe wie Driwwe
German American
German Texan
Germany Valley, West Virginia
Helen Reimensnyder Martin
Anna Balmer Myers
Fraktur (Pennsylvania German folk art)
Kurrent handwriting

Related ethnic groups
Palatine German
Alsatian
Swiss German
Hessian
Württemberger
Huguenot

Religion
Lutheran
Reformed
Evangelical
Moravian
Church of the Brethren
Mennonite
Amish
Schwenkfelder
United Church of Christ
River Brethren
Yorker Brethren
Roman Catholic
Urglaawe

More Pennsylvania Dutch History

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