The Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, listen (help·info)) are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and their descendants. The word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people or Dutch language, but to the German settlers, known as Deutsch (in standard German) and Deitsch (in the principal dialect they spoke, Palatine German). Most emigrated, in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the Americas from within the Holy Roman Empire, which included areas that were later to become Germany and Switzerland. Over time, the various dialects spoken by these immigrants fused into a unique dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania "Dutch".
The Pennsylvania Dutch maintained numerous religious affiliations, with the greatest number being Lutheran or German Reformed, but also with many Anabaptists, including Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterite. The Anabaptist religions promoted a simple lifestyle, and their adherents were known as Plain people or Plain Dutch. This was in contrast to the Fancy Dutch, who tended to assimilate more easily into the American mainstream. Other religions were also represented by the late 1700s, in smaller numbers.
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States, especially Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia; Canada, especially Ontario (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Markham, Stouffville and Pickering)|
|English (including Pennsylvania Dutch English), Pennsylvania German|
|Lutheran, Reformed, German Reformed, Catholic, Moravian, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Amish, Schwenkfelder, River Brethren, Yorker Brethren|
|Related ethnic groups|
|German American, Swiss American, French American, Dutch American|
Pennsylvania German (Deitsch, Pennsylvania Deitsch, Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, listen (help·info); usually called Pennsylvania Dutch) is a variety of West Central German spoken by the Amish, Old Order Mennonites, and other descendants of German immigrants in the United States and Canada, closely related to the Palatine dialects.
During the Middle Ages the word "Dutch" in English referred to West Germanic speakers of continental Europe in general. From c. 1600 onward it was mainly restricted to the inhabitants of the Low Countries.
After the Second World War, use of Pennsylvania German virtually died out in favor of English, except among the more insular and tradition-bound Anabaptists, such as the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites. A number of German cultural practices continue to this day, and German Americans remain the largest ancestry group claimed in Pennsylvania by people in the census.
The Pennsylvania Dutch live primarily in Southeastern and in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a large area that includes South Central Pennsylvania, in the area stretching in an arc from Bethlehem and Allentown through Reading, Lebanon, and Lancaster to York and Chambersburg. Some Pennsylvania Dutch live in the historically Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking areas of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Many Pennsylvania Dutch were descendants of refugees who had left religious persecution in the Palatinate of the German Rhine. For example, some Amish and Mennonites came to the Palatinate and surrounding areas from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, where, as Anabaptists, they were persecuted, and so their stay in the Palatinate was of limited duration.
Most of the Pennsylvania Dutch have roots going much further back in the Palatinate. During the War of the Grand Alliance (1689–97), French troops pillaged the Palatinate, forcing many Germans to flee. The War of the Palatinate (as it was called in Germany), also called the War of the League of Augsburg, began in 1688 as Louis XIV laid claim to the Electorate of the Palatinate. French forces devastated all major cities of the region, including Cologne. By 1697 the war came to a close with the Treaty of Ryswick, now Rijswijk in the Netherlands, and the Palatinate remained free of French control. However, by 1702, the War of the Spanish Succession began, lasting until 1713. French expansionism forced many Palatines to flee as refugees.
The devastation of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and the wars between the German principalities and France caused some of the immigration of Germans to America from the Rhine area. Members of this group founded the borough of Germantown, in northwest Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, in 1683. They settled on land sold to them by William Penn. Germantown included not only Mennonites but also Quakers.
This group of Mennonites was organized by Francis Daniel Pastorius, an agent for a land purchasing company based in Frankfurt am Main. None of the Frankfurt Company ever came to Pennsylvania except Pastorius himself, but 13 Krefeld German (Dutch-speaking) Mennonite families arrived on October 6, 1683, in Philadelphia. They were joined by eight more Dutch-speaking families from Hamburg-Altona in 1700 and five German-speaking families from the Palatinate in 1707.
In 1723, some 33 Palatine families, dissatisfied under Governor Hunter's rule, migrated from Schoharie, New York, along the Susquehanna River to Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania, where other Palatines had settled. They became farmers and used intensive German farming techniques that proved highly productive.
Another wave of settlers from Germany, which would eventually coalesce to form a large part of the Pennsylvania Dutch, arrived between 1727 and 1775; some 65,000 Germans landed in Philadelphia in that era and others landed at other ports. Another wave from Germany arrived 1749-1754. Not all were Mennonites; some were Quakers, for example. The majority originated in what is today southwestern Germany, i.e., Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg; other prominent groups were Alsatians, Dutch, French Huguenots (French Protestants), Moravians from Bohemia and Moravia and Germans from Switzerland. 
The Pennsylvania Dutch composed nearly half of the population of Pennsylvania and generally supported the Patriot cause in the American Revolution. Henry Miller, an immigrant from Germany of Swiss ancestry, published an early German translation of the Declaration of Independence (1776) in his newspaper Philadelphische Staatsbote. Miller often wrote about Swiss history and myth, such as the William Tell legend, to provide a context for patriot support in the conflict with Britain.
Frederick Muhlenberg (1750–1801), a Lutheran pastor, became a major patriot and politician, rising to be elected as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
An early group, mainly from the Roxborough-Germantown area of Pennsylvania, emigrated to then colonial Nova Scotia in 1766 and founded the Township of Monckton, site of present day Moncton, New Brunswick. The extensive Steeves clan descends from this group.
After the American Revolution, John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, invited Americans, including Mennonites and German Baptist Brethren, to settle in British North American territory and offered tracts of land to immigrant groups. This resulted in communities of Pennsylvania Dutch speakers' emigrating to Canada, many to the area called the German Company Tract, a subset of land within the Haldimand Tract, in the Township of Waterloo, which later became Waterloo County, Ontario. Some still live in the area around Markham, Ontario  and particularly in the northern areas of the current Waterloo Region. Some members of the two communities formed the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference. Today, the Pennsylvania Dutch language is mostly spoken by Old Order Mennonites.
From 1800 to the 1830s, some Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania moved north to Canada, primarily to the area that would become Cambridge, Ontario, Kitchener, Ontario/Waterloo, Ontario and St. Jacobs, Ontario/Elmira, Ontario/Listowel, Ontario in Waterloo County, Ontario. Settlement started in 1800 by Joseph Schoerg and Samuel Betzner, Jr. (brothers-in-law), Mennonites, from Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Other settlers followed mostly from Pennsylvania typically by Conestoga wagons. Many of the pioneers arriving from Pennsylvania after November 1803 bought land in a 60,000 acre section established by a group of Mennonites from Lancaster County Pennsylvania, called the German Company Lands.
Fewer of the Pennsylvania Dutch settled in what would later become the Greater Toronto Area in areas that would later be the towns of Altona, Ontario, Pickering, Ontario and especially Markham Village, Ontario and Stouffville, Ontario. William Berczy, a German entrepreneur and artist, had settled in upstate New York and in May 1794, he was able to obtain 64,000 acres in Markham Township, near the current city of Toronto, Ontario. Berczy arrived with approximately 190 German families from Pennsylvania and settled here. Others later moved to other locations in the general area, including a hamlet they founded, German Mills, Ontario, named for its grist mill; that community is now called Thornhill, Ontario), in the township that is now part of York Region.
The immigrants of the 1600s and 1700s who were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch included Mennonites, Swiss Brethren (also called Mennonites by the locals) and Amish but also German Pietists such as German Baptist Brethren and those who belonged to German Lutheran or German Reformed Church congregations. Other settlers of that era were of the Moravian Church while a few were Seventh Day Baptists or members of the Dunkard Brethren. Calvinist Palatines and several other religions to a lesser extent were also represented.
Over 60% of the immigrants who arrived in Pennsylvania from Germany or Switzerland in the 1700s and 1800s were Lutherans and they maintained good relations with those of the German Reformed Church. The two groups founded Franklin College (now Franklin & Marshall College) in 1787.
Henry Muhlenberg (1711–1787) founded the Lutheran Church in America. He organized the Ministerium of Pennsylvania in 1748, set out the standard organizational format for new churches and helped shape Lutheran liturgy.
Muhlenberg was sent by the Lutheran bishops in Germany, and he always insisted on strict conformity to Lutheran dogma. Muhlenberg's view of church unity was in direct opposition to Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf's Moravian approach, with its goal of uniting various Pennsylvania German religious groups under a less rigid "Congregation of God in the Spirit." The differences between the two approaches led to permanent impasse between Lutherans and Moravians, especially after a December 1742 meeting in Philadelphia. The Moravians settled Bethlehem and nearby areas and established schools for Native Americans.
Blythe Katherine Danner Paltrow (born February 3, 1943) is an American actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Izzy Huffstodt on Huff (2004–2006), and a Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in Butterflies Are Free on Broadway (1969–1972). Danner was twice nominated for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for portraying Marilyn Truman on Will & Grace (2001–06; 2018), and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her roles in We Were the Mulvaneys (2002) and Back When We Were Grownups (2004). For the latter, she also received a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Danner is best known for her role as Dina Byrnes in Meet the Parents (2000), and its sequels Meet the Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers (2010). She has collaborated on several occasions with Woody Allen, appearing in three of his films: Another Woman (1988), Alice (1990), and Husbands and Wives (1992). Her other notable film credits include 1776 (1972), Hearts of the West (1975), The Great Santini (1979), Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990), The Prince of Tides (1991), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), The Myth of Fingerprints (1997), The X-Files (1998), Forces of Nature (1999), The Last Kiss (2006), Paul (2011), Hello I Must Be Going (2012), I'll See You in My Dreams (2015), and What They Had (2018).
Danner is the sister of Harry Danner and the widow of Bruce Paltrow. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.Chicken and waffles
Chicken and waffles is an American dish combining chicken with waffles. It is part of a variety of culinary traditions, including soul food and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, and is served in certain specialty restaurants in the United States.Cuisine of the Pennsylvania Dutch
Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is the typical and traditional fare of the Pennsylvania Dutch. According to one writer, "If you had to make a short list of regions in the United States where regional food is actually consumed on a daily basis, the land of the Pennsylvania Dutch - in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - would be at or near the top of that list," mainly because the area is a cultural enclave of Pennsylvania Dutch culture. Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine reflects influences of the Pennsylvania Dutch's German heritage, agrarian society, and rejection of rapid change.It is extremely common to find Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine throughout the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley region.Dutch baby pancake
A Dutch baby pancake, sometimes called a German pancake, a Bismarck, or a Dutch puff, is a large American popover.A Dutch baby pancake is similar to a large Yorkshire pudding. Compared to a typical pancake, a Dutch baby is always baked in the oven, rather than being fried on both sides on the stove top, it is generally thicker than most pancakes, and it contains no chemical leavening ingredients, such as baking powder.
The idea of a Dutch baby pancake may have been derived from the German Pfannkuchen, but the current form originated in the US in the early 1900s.Fasnacht (doughnut)
Fasnacht (also spelled fastnacht, faschnacht, fosnot, fosnaught, fausnaught) is a fried doughnut of German origin served traditionally in the days of Carnival and Fastnacht or on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent starts. Fasnachts were made as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar, fat, and butter, which were traditionally fasted from during Lent.Funnel cake
Funnel cake (Drechderkuche in Pennsylvania German) is a regional food popular in North America at carnivals, fairs, sporting events, and seaside resorts.Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania German: Grund'sau dåk, Grundsaudaag, Grundsow Dawg, Murmeltiertag; Nova Scotia: Daks Day) is a popular tradition celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog (Deitsch: Grundsau, Grunddax, Dax) emerging from its burrow on this day sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow or not and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German: dachs) is the forecasting animal. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.
The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering around a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most attended. Grundsow Lodges in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the southeast part of the state celebrate them as well. Other cities in the United States and Canada have also adopted the event.
The 1993 film Groundhog Day helped boost recognition of the custom, and the celebration has spread even further afield. In 2009, Quebec began to mark the day (Canadian French: Jour de la Marmotte) with its own groundhog.Jane Wolfe
Jane Wolfe (March 21, 1875 – March 29, 1958) was an American silent film character actress and Thelemite.Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (born Jonathan Taylor Weiss; September 8, 1981) is an American actor, voice actor, and director. He is known for portraying Randy Taylor on Home Improvement and voicing young Simba in Disney's 1994 film The Lion King.Lebanon bologna
Lebanon bologna is a type of cured, smoked, and fermented semidry sausage. Made of beef, it is similar in appearance and texture to salami, though somewhat darker in color, and typically served as a cold cut or appetizer. Lebanon bologna has a distinct tangy flavor, more so than other fermented meat products such as summer sausage. Hardwood smoking imparts a strong smokiness to the traditionally prepared versions of the product; increasingly, liquid smoke is used as a substitute for this costly time- and labor-intensive process.List of Pennsylvania Dutch-language poets
List of Pennsylvania Dutch language poets. This is a list of poets who write, or wrote, in Pennsylvania Dutch.List of museums in Pennsylvania
This list of museums in Pennsylvania encompasses museums defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are university and non-profit art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.
To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Pennsylvania Dutch Country (Deitsch: Deitscherei) refers to an area of Southeastern and South Central Pennsylvania that by the American Revolution had a high percentage of Pennsylvania Dutch inhabitants. Religiously, there was a large portion of Lutherans. There were also German Reformed, Moravian, Amish, Mennonite, Schwarzenau Brethren and other German Christian sects. The term was used in the middle of the 20th century as a description of a region with a distinctive Pennsylvania Dutch culture, but in recent decades the composition of the population is changing and the phrase is used more now in a tourism context than any other.
Greater Pennsylvania refers to this region as well as historically Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking areas of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.Pennsylvania Dutch English
Pennsylvania Dutch English is a dialect of English that has been influenced by the Pennsylvania German language. It is largely spoken in South Central Pennsylvania, both by people who are monolingual (in English) and bilingual (in Pennsylvania German and English). The dialect has been dying out, as non-Amish younger Pennsylvania Germans tend to speak modern General American English. Very few non-Amish members of these people can speak the Pennsylvania German language, although most know some words and phrases. The World War II Generation was the last generation in which Pennsylvania Dutch was widely spoken outside the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities.Pennsylvania German language
Pennsylvania German (Deitsch, Pennsylvania Deitsch, Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, Hinterwäldler Deutsch, listen ; often called Pennsylvania Dutch) is a variety of West Central German spoken by the Old Order Amish, Old Order Mennonites and other descendants of German immigrants in the United States and Canada, closely related to the Palatine dialects. There are possibly more than 300,000 native speakers in the United States and Canada. In Pennsylvania 29.9% of the population currently claim to have German ancestry.
It has traditionally been the dialect of the Pennsylvania Dutch, descendants of late 17th- and early to late 18th-century immigrants to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina from southern Germany, eastern France (Alsace and Lorraine), and Switzerland. Although for many, the term "Pennsylvania Dutch" is often taken to refer to the Amish and related Old Order groups exclusively, the term should not imply a connection to any particular religious group.
In this context, the word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people or their descendants. Historically, it has been accepted that the "Dutch" in Pennsylvania Dutch is a corruption or "folk-rendering" of the Pennsylvania German endonym Deitsch. An alternative theory is that it is left over from an archaic sense of the English word "Dutch"; compare German Deutsch ('German'), Dutch Duits ('German'), Diets ('Dutch'), which once referred to any people speaking a non-peripheral continental West Germanic language on the European mainland.Speakers of the dialect today are primarily found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and other Midwestern states of the United States, and in Ontario in Canada. Historically, the dialect was also spoken in several other regions where its use has either largely or entirely faded. The practice of Pennsylvania German as a street language in urban areas of Pennsylvania (such as Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, and York) was declining by the arrival of the 20th century, while in more rural areas it continued in widespread use through the World War II era. Since that time, its use has greatly declined. The exception to this decline is in the context of the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities, and presently the members of these two groups make up the majority of Pennsylvania German speakers (see "Survival", below).Pot pie
A pot pie is a type of meat pie with a top pie crust, sometimes a bottom pie crust, consisting of flaky pastry. The term is used in North America. Pot pies may be made with a variety of fillings including poultry, beef, seafood, or plant-based fillings, and may also differ in the types of crust. In the United States, chicken pot pie is one of the most popular types of pot pies and it can vary significantly in terms of both preparation and ingredients.Regions of Pennsylvania
Geographic regions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America.Scouting in Pennsylvania
Scouting in Pennsylvania has a long and rich tradition, from 1908 to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.Scrapple
Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name Pannhaas or "pan rabbit", is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then pan-fried before serving. Scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste. Scrapple is best known as an American food of the Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia). Scrapple and panhaas are commonly considered an ethnic food of the Pennsylvania Dutch, including the Mennonites and Amish. Scrapple is found in supermarkets throughout the region in both fresh and frozen refrigerated cases.