Exploring Your Pennsylvania Roots with AncestryDNA's Genetic Communities

Your AncestryDNA genetic communities combined with your other records can create powerful evidence of relationships and family trees going back hundreds of years.

Exploring Your Pennsylvania Roots with AncestryDNA's Genetic Communities

For genealogists researching their Pennsylvania ancestry, AncestryDNA's genetic communities is essential.

AncestryDNA allows family historians to visualize familial connections beyond the basic DNA match list. This feature takes DNA testing to the next level, providing a window into the historical migrations and communities that shaped your ancestors' lives.

What Are Genetic Communities?

Genetic communities are groups of AncestryDNA members likely descended from a common ancestor in the same region and time period. These communities are identified through advanced DNA analysis, which can trace patterns of migration and settlement. For researchers, being linked to one or more of these communities can offer specific insights into their ancestors' journeys and lifestyles.

The Significance for Pennsylvania Genealogy

Pennsylvania, with its history of over 300 years of immigration, is home to numerous genetic communities identified by AncestryDNA.

From the early settlers of Central Pennsylvania to the Amish Country, Pennsylvania settlers, each community tells a story of migration and settlement that could be crucial to understanding your family's history. These genetic communities provide a context that goes beyond individual records, offering a glimpse into the collective lives of our ancestors.

AncestryDNA can confirm the accuracy of your existing family tree or suggest new directions for your research, especially if your family history intersects with multiple communities across Pennsylvania.

How to Use AncestryDNA Genetic Communities in Your Research

  1. Review Your Genetic Community Assignments: Start by exploring the communities AncestryDNA has associated with your DNA. Each community comes with a detailed description, including the time period and common migration paths. Make sure to take screen shots for your records.
  2. Cross-reference with Historical Records: Use the information about your genetic communities to guide your search for historical records. Look for documents that coincide with the locations and time periods of your assigned communities. If you have people of the same name in two different locations, the one with the genetic community that matches you is likely the correct ancestor.
  3. Connect with Relatives within Communities: AncestryDNA allows you to see how you're connected to others within the same genetic community. Reaching out to these individuals can provide personal insights and additional information on shared ancestors. This is particularly helpful with brick wall research.
  4. Keep an Eye on Updates: AncestryDNA continuously refines its genetic communities based on new data. Regularly check for updates to your DNA results, as new connections and communities may emerge, further enriching your understanding of your ancestry.
You can also learn how to use genetic communities in research in this video episode: Target Your Research with Genetic Communities.

Current Genetic Communities in 2024

Pennsylvania’s genetic communities started with about a dozen communities in 2018, and now numbers over eighty distinct groupings.

This is the current list of AncestryDNA genetic communities for Pennsylvania ancestry: 

  • Early Connecticut & New York Settlers
  • Rhode Island, Southern New York, and Northeast Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Ontario, Northern New York & Northern Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Early Pennsylvania Settlers
  • Early Settlers of Central Pennsylvania 
  • Early Settlers of Eastern Pennsylvania 
  • Early Settlers of North-Central Pennsylvania 
  • Early Settlers of Western Pennsylvania
  • Eastern Ohio River Valley & Northern Blue Ridge Mountains Settlers
  • Southeast Pennsylvania & Northern Maryland Border Settlers 
  • Southern Pennsylvania & Amish Country, Ohio Settlers 
  • New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania Settlers
  • Mid-Atlantic Settlers Philadelphia, South & Central Jersey Settlers 
  • Northern Mid-Atlantic Settlers
  • Bradford County, Pennsylvania & Southern Tioga County, New York Settlers 
  • New Jersey, New York & Pennsylvania Border Settlers 
  • Northeast Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania & South Central New York Border Settlers 
  • Southern New York & Northern Pennsylvania & New Jersey Settlers 
  • Southwestern New York & North Central Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia & Maryland Settlers
  • Adams County, Pennsylvania & Carroll County, Maryland Settlers 
  • Allegheny & Butler County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Armstrong County, Pennsylvania Area Settlers 
  • Bedford, Blair & Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Berks County, Pennsylvania Settlers Cameron & Eastern Elk County, Pennsylvania Settlers Central & Eastern Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Central & Eastern Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Central & Northern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Central & Western Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Central Eastern West Virginia Settlers Central Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Centre & Clearfield County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Centre & Clinton County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Clarion & Venango County, Pennsylvania Area Settlers 
  • Clearfield, Centre & Clinton County, Pennsylvania Border Settlers 
  • Clinton & Lycoming County Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Columbia & Western Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Columbiana & Mahoning Counties, Ohio & Western Pennsylvania Border Settlers
  • Dauphin, Cumberland, York & Adams County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Allegheny & Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Central Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Centre & Southern Clinton County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Crawford & Western Warren County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Jefferson & Western Clearfield County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Mercer & Western Vernango County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Eastern Pennsylvania Settlers Eastern West Virginia & Northwestern Virginia Settlers
  • Eastern West Virginia, Western Maryland & Northern Virginia Settlers 
  • Fayette & Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Indiana County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Jefferson, Clarion, & Armstrong County, Pennsylvania Border Settlers 
  • Lancaster County Area, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Lawrence & Beaver County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Lawrence & Mercer County, Pennsylvania & Ohio Border Settlers 
  • Lebanon, Dauphin & Berks County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Lycoming, Sullivan, Columbia & Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • North Central Pennsylvania Settlers Northeastern West Virginia Settlers 
  • Northern Armstrong & Southern Clarion County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northern Cambria County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northern Somerset County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northern Susquehanna River Settlers 
  • Northern West Virginia, Southeastern Ohio, & Southwestern Pennsylvania Border Settlers 
  • Northern West Virginia, Southern & Eastern Pennsylvania & Northern Maryland Settlers 
  • Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northwestern Berks County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northwestern Cambria County, Pennsylvania Area Settlers 
  • Northwestern Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Northwestern West Virginia Settlers 
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Region Settlers 
  • Schuylkill & Northwestern Berks County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • South Central Pennsylvania & Northern Maryland Settlers 
  • South Central Pennsylvania & West Virginia Border Settlers 
  • Southeastern Berks County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southeastern Ohio Settlers Southeastern Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Armstrong & Northern Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Settlers
  • Southern Armstrong County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Bedford & Fulton County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Butler & Northern Beaver County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Central Pennsylvania & Northwestern Maryland Border Settlers 
  • Southern Central Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southern Somerset County, Pennsylvania & Western Maryland Border Settlers
  • Southern Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania & Northern West Virginia Border Settlers 
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania & West Virginia Border Settlers 
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Wilds Settlers 
  • West Central Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • West Central Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • West Virginia, Pennsylvania & Maryland Border Settlers 
  • Western & Central Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Western Clearfield, Southwestern Jefferson & Northern Indiana County, Pennsylvania Settlers 
  • Western Maryland & Eastern West Virginia Settlers 
  • Western Maryland & Pennsylvania Border Settlers 
  • Western Maryland & Southern Pennsylvania Border Settlers 
  • Western Maryland Settlers Western Pennsylvania & Eastern Ohio Border Settlers 
  • York County, Pennsylvania & North Central Maryland Border Settlers

Your genetic communities combined with your other records can create powerful evidence of relationships and family trees going back hundreds of years.


AncestryDNA's genetic communities are a powerful tool for genealogists, especially those researching Pennsylvania ancestry. They offer a unique perspective on your family's place within larger historical and migratory trends, adding depth to your genealogical research. By integrating genetic communities with traditional research methods, you can uncover a more detailed and nuanced story of your ancestors' lives and legacies.


“List of AncestryDNA Regions,” Ancestry (https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/List-of-AncestryDNA-Regions#America : accessed 16 Feb 2024).

“AncestryDNA Communities,” Ancestry (https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/AncestryDNA-Communities : accessed 16 Feb 2024).

© 2019–2024 PA Ancestors L.L.C. and Denys Allen. All Rights Reserved.