Pennsylvania German Pioneers is one of the grand works of American genealogy. The most complete collection of colonial passenger lists ever published, its two volumes contain all the original lists of persons who arrived in the port of Philadelphia between 1727 and 1808. The lists were assembled from state archives and give the names of 38,000 immigrants, names of ships, dates of arrival, and places of origin. Volume I covers the period 1727-1775 and contains 324 ship passenger lists, including captains’ lists, signers of the oath of allegiance, and signers of the oath of abjuration. Volume II covers the period 1785-1808 and includes 182 additional lists, in many cases giving ages, occupations, and birthplaces. In all, this two-volume transcription contains 50,000 references.
What is not commonly known about Pennsylvania German Pioneers is that in its original incarnation, the work was published with a third volume of immigrant signature pages. In this volume Messrs Strassburger and Hinke went to considerable lengths to reproduce the requisite signatures that affirmed the oaths of allegiance taken by the immigrants themselves. The lists of signatures are arranged in chronological order according to the date of arrival of the vessels that brought the immigrants. The great value of the Facsimile Signatures volume, of course, is that it permits the researcher to make his/her own determinations of immigrant names, alongside those of the editors. It also enables persons who had previously purchased the two-volume transcription of Pennsylvania German Pioneers finally to possess the “missing” volume to the set.