My Genealogy Research ...
A Web Site by Rich Thomas

My Immigrant Ancestors
Johannes Peter Thomas
Dietrich Six

Special Features

Marc Chapelle and Antoine Simon: In Search of Religious Freedom [partially done]

Peter, Gerhard, and Anna Elisabetha Thomas

Six's Fort: Berks Co, PA and the French and Indian War

Special Plea
Join the Thomas Surname DNA Study

PA Research Facilities
Berks County
Lancaster County
Lebanon County
Northumberland County
Schuylkill County
York County

Contact Me



Welcome to my family history web site.   I've learned a lot since I started working on my family history in 1999, not only new information about my family heritage, but also how to improve my research methods.  This web site will serve two purposes:  to present results of my research and to document some of the tips and research strategies I've found useful.  It will be a "work in progress" for many years, as I attempt to further extend and document my family history.  I hope you find it useful.

You will find most of my work relates to German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania, simply because over 90 percent of my direct-line ancestors (at least 50) came from Germany to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.   My ultimate goal is to identify all of these immigrants.  Fortunately for me (as a researcher), all of my direct ancestors remained within a few counties of Pennsylvania (York, Lancaster, Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Northumberland, and Schuylkill).   There are some really good research facilities available throughout this area (see list).  

While some researchers tend to want to keep their findings to themselves, my main desire is to share them freely.  I've invested hundreds of hours and accumulated more expenses than I care to think about in gathering the information you will see presented.  Much of the information is gathered from other researchers who also were willing to share.  You will find credits to all of the researchers I could identify.  If you use information from this site, please give credit where credit is due. 


Protestant Chruch, Pleizenhausen, Germany
Church where Peter Thomas grew up in early 1700's


Latest Additions:
  • A series of pages on the history of the Chapelle/Schappel and Simon families is near completion, viewable, but still under construction (08/29/2006)
  • A new special feature on Fort Henry, a French and Indian War fort on my ancestors property (Dietrich Six)  (10/7/2004)
  • A page full of PA genealogical research facilities was added.(10/7/2004)
  • A new series of web pages was added related to my immigrating ancestor, Peter Thomas, of Pleizenhausen, Germany. (11/16/2003; updated on 10/8/2004)
  • I added a link to my family tree information on, much of it done when beginning, so user beware!  One of these days I need to validate it.  (10/12/2003)
  • I began a list of family lines associated with various immigrant ancestors.   These are well researched and documented.  (10/12/2003)