Between 1874 and 1887, 13 families and three individuals of German (Pennsylvania Dutch) descent from the Williamsport, Pennsylvania vicinity, who were related to each other, migrated to the Dawson, Nebraska area where they formed what is called the “Pennsylvania Colony in Nebraska.” Those families included the Jacob G. Heim family (1874), John Gross and the John Sippley family (1879), the Frederick Marquardt family (1879), the Christian Wuster and David Wagner families, (1880), the John “Johnnie” Heim family and Emanuel Ulmer (1881), the John J. Heim family (1882), Henry W. Heim (1883), the John Kerr and Catherine Ulmer (widow of Martin) families (1884), the John Eckard family (1885), the William Stoltz family (1886), and Ella, Emma, and George Eckard (1887).

The ancestors of these families came mostly from southwest Germany, province of Wuerttemberg, beginning in 1804 with the voyage of the “Margaret.” The Heim family descends from brothers Christian and Jakob, who arrived in America in 1817 and settled at Blooming Grove north of Williamsport. The Blooming Grove Historical Society maintains a museum there and has extensive records on the families which settled and remained there. For information on the genealogy of the colony in Nebraska and their antecedents in Germany, contact John Fiala (e-mail
A family picnic has been held annually in August at Dawson or Humboldt since 1922. This year is 135 years in Nebraska for the colony.  A special two day celebration is planned on Saturday, August 8th and Sunday, August 9th, 2009.  Find more information of those plans on the “Annual Picnic” page.   The Pennsylvania Colony of Nebraska Historical Society was formed in 1996 and publishes a newsletter, “The Colony Penn,” three times a year. The Society’s address is 71329 638 Ave., Dawson, NE 68337

The genealogy on this site is of individuals and their families who are related to the original families migrating from the area of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania to the area of Dawson, Richardson County, Nebraska in the late 1800’s. The genealogy has been compiled from a number of sources and the data has not been verified by original research by the Pennsylvania Colony Historical Society of Nebraska. It therefore should not be exclusively relied upon for accuracy. It should be noted, however, that some sources used by the Society are known to include original research. In addition, facts reported to the Society in recent years are often made by persons who have direct knowledge of the event reported.

For privacy purposes only persons believed to be deceased are identified by name. The method to determine who might be living, and therefore identified as such, was made by flagging anyone for whom we do not have a death date and for whom we have a birth date of 1900 or later. If we do not have both a birth date and a death date, the person is considered living unless by relationship and relative position in history it is believed the person may be deceased.

As you view individuals you may notice we are missing many dates and places for births, marriages, deaths and burials. If you are willing to provide the missing information please email John L. Fiala at

Place Names
Place names in the database are entered in the sequence Town, County, State (unless one of these governmental units is not known). Each unit is separated by a comma. State and County names are spelled out. Where the place can be further identified, (i.e. cemetery) the identification appears in the Place Details. Places outside the US follow the same protocol, for as much as is known.

Unknown Surname
Where an individual’s surname is unknown, the term “Unknown” is used in the name space. In the Name Suffix space is typed (in parentheses) “spouse of”, or “child of” followed by the appropriate identifier. That way, all of the unknowns are together in the search function, and the identifier is visible there too. When looking for an individual, if the person does not turn up in the search function under their surname, check the “unknown” surname group for the person.

When a person has been reported as adopted the @ symbol is placed in the given name space, following the given name. This allows a correct alpha sort placement on the surname, then given first name. Where the adoption is by a second spouse of the natural parent, the birth surname will be placed in parentheses and the child will be attached to the adoptive marriage. Thus, “Zabortsky, James William (Bratrsovsky)@” was born a Bratrsovsky and was adopted by a Zabortsky, and is listed as a child of the marriage of Mr. Zabortsky to the former Mrs. Bratrsovsky.