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Pennsylvania Genealogy: Historical Background


* 1643
First permanent settlement by Swedes on the Delaware.
* 1681
William Penn receives Pennsylvania as royal grant.
* 1701
Philadelphia chartered as a city.
* 1714
The Amish begin settlement in Berks County.
* 1754
French establish Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio.
French and Indian War begins with French and Indians fighting the British.
* 1758
French troops retreat and burn Fort Duquesne; British General Forbes occupies area and names it "Pittsbourgh."
* 1767
Mason/Dixon Line sets boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
* 1774
First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.
* 1790
New state constitution for Pennsylvania.
Congress establishes Philadelphia as seat of federal government.
* 1792
Purchase of "Erie Triangle" to complete present state.
* 1794
Uprising against excise tax known as "Whiskey Rebellion."
* 1838
New state constitution.
* 1852-5
Pennsylvania counties keep vital statistics records.
* 1863
The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg is fought.
* 1867
First practical Bessemer steel made at Steelton.
* 1869
Pennsylvania Railroad reaches west to Columbus, Ohio.
* 1874
New state constitution.
* 1877
Railroad riots cause destruction and deaths.
* 1885
Marriage license applications begin in county records.
* 1893
Births and deaths recorded by counties.
* 1906
State records of births and deaths begin.
* 1985
State law closes access to original birth records held in the state depository.

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