The genealogical importance of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, cannot be overstated. Organized in 1729, Lancaster was the parent of thirty other counties, and therefore many early records of Pennsylvania ultimately date back to Lancaster County. Moreover, few U. S. counties hosted such a variety of peoples and religions. Throngs of immigrants came to Lancaster County in the 18th century, the two largest groups being the Scotch-Irish and the Germans. Religious denominations included Mennonites, Quakers, Amish, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, German Baptists, Lutherans, German Reformed, Moravians, Catholics, the Universalists, the Evangelical Association, and more. I. Daniel Rupp’s History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania documents the origins and development of this hotbed of Pennsylvania genealogy.
This standard history by Rupp–the author of A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776, published by the Genealogical Publishing Co.–is divided into three parts. An introductory section covers the period from the earliest settlements in Pennsylvania to the first settlements within the present limits of Lancaster County; the second part continues the coverage until 1929, when the county was established; and the third part discusses the period from 1729 until the early 1800s. In passing, the author lists many names of early residents of Lancaster County, including those of Welsh families who arrived in the 17th century; Palatine families who arrived in the 18th century; Swiss and Germans who were naturalized in 1738; Revolutionary War veterans; and members of the Assembly for Lancaster County. Also incorporated into the text are some brief biographical sketches of settlers who were intimately associated with the history of the county.