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4.11 Conewago (Adams County, Penn.), 1815 - 1974


Scope and Contents

Subseries 4.11 contains the records of the Conewago House in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Materials include House diaries, announcement books, sacramental registers, and financial records. Church records include materials from St. Joseph’s Church and Sacred Heart Church in Hanover and Holy Trinity Church in McSherrystown. The subseries also contains rules for burials, spiritual writings, ephemera, histories, newsclippings, publications, and House diary from the short-lived Paradise House in York County.

In 1741, Jesuit missionaries established a House at Conewago in Adams County, Pennsylvania, a strategic location that allowed them to surround the boundaries between the colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania. The residents of this House covered an extensive territory that included the Pennsylvania counties of Adams, York, Lancaster, Cumberland, and Franklin, where they sought to minister to German immigrants as well as smaller communities of French and Irish immigrants. The German-speaking community persisted in this area of Pennsylvania through the nineteenth century, and the priests of Conewago conducted their ministry primarily in German. Unlike the Houses of Southern Maryland, the Conewago House worked closely with secular priests and nuns to build parochial education as early as the 1830s. In 1901, the Jesuits closed the House at Conewago, transferring their pastoral care of the churches and their real estate title to the Diocese of Harrisburg.

For more information, see Background on the House at Conewago andSuperiors of Conewago.

The following churches were served by the Jesuits of Conewago:

- Sacred Heart Church (Hanover, Penn.), 1730-1901 (Seat of Conewago; Alternate Names: Conewago Chapel, Basilica of the Sacred Heart)

- St. Mary of the Assumption (Lancaster, Lancaster County, Penn.), 1741-unknown (Alternate Name: Historic St. Mary’s)

- Brandt’s Chapel (Paradise Township, York County, Penn.), 1831-1843 (Seat of Paradise; Alternate Name: Paradise Church)

- St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (Hanover, Penn.), 1806-approximately 1890 St. Ignatius Church (Orrtanna, Penn.), 1816-1858 (Alternate Names: St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Old Jesuit Mission of Buchanan Valley)

- St. Francis Xavier Church (Gettysburg, Penn.), 1816-1858

- St. Aloysius Church (Littlestown, Penn.), 1840-1884

- Holy Trinity Church (McSherrystown, Penn.), 1890-1901 (Succeeded by Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in McSherrystown, Penn.)

- St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception (New Oxford, Penn.), 1852-1891 (Succeeded by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in New Oxford, Penn.)

If these churches are active, sacramental records may be available to genealogists by consulting the churches or their successors directly. Researchers also should consult the Archdiocese of Washington.

**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**

Conditions Governing Access

Most materials dated 1900 and later have not been digitized. Materials dating 1900-1939 are available for research use at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. All materials dated 1940 and later are restricted.


Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. Materials in this subseries are from the original MPA placed on deposit at Georgetown in the 1970s, the MPA Addenda, and the Maryland Province Collection.


  • 1815 - 1974


From the Collection: 292 boxes (292 total boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers (201 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 53 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, 14 card catalog drawers))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Multiple languages