Pushing William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” to Its Limits: Ephrata Cloister

On the banks of the Cocalico Creek in northern Lancaster County a group of remarkable individuals established Ephrata, one of colonial Pennsylvania’s most unusual communities. A place of intense spirituality, unconventional way of life, literary and artistic brilliance, and medieval-style architecture, Ephrata was the center of a religious society whose principles gave William Penn’s...
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Currents

Pennsylvania Germans Historians trace the origins of Pennsylvania German settlement to late seventeenth-century Philadelphia and the arrival of the earliest immigrants. These arrivals came from many regions in what are now the countries of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the Alsace region of France. Lutheran, Reformed, Moravian, Catholic, Jewish, and Anabaptist (including...
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Sowing a Wealth Uncommon

When Pennsylvania’s thirty-seven-year-old founder William Penn (1644-1718) drew plans for Philadelphia, he specified a central park of ten acres and four symmetrically placed squares of eight acres each “for the comfort and recreation of all forever.” In his September 30, 1681, instructions to his commissioners, he also mandated private space. “Let every House be placed,...
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Genealogy Records at Ephrata Cloister

The types of source documents that help family historians most often depend upon such factors as ethnicity, ge­ography, and time period. Even within an ethnic group, there can be great variety. Pennsylvania Germans constitute one such group. The large immigration to Pennsylvania of German­-speaking people in the late seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century was composed...
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