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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Nov 29, 2007

Learn About Migration Patterns
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

Many experts have shared their experiences with migration in various excellent resources. Learn how to use migration patterns to find your elusive ancestors. References and links to some of the many authoritative resources are included in this article. A short, but worthwhile sampling is listed here:

  • Genealogy Research Methods and Sources is a set of two books produced by the National Genealogical Society. Although out of print, they are still found in libraries and are excellent in the information regarding migration research methodologies.

  • The Handy Book for Genealogists is an excellent publication that contains good maps for each state and county in the United States, and an overview of the entire U.S. with named migration trails.

  • Research Outlines of the Family History Library are free and a good resources. Go to www.familysearch.org and click on the research guidance feature on the home page.

  • World Conference on Records reports - good methodologies for other countries.

  • On-line library or archival catalogs or any good historical library, subject listings provide wonderful resources.

  • Genealogy How-to-Books and presentations by George Schweitzer, Helen Leary, Wade Hone, etc.

  • Genealogy articles and lectures by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Tom Jones, etc.

  • Compiled genealogies of people who traveled in and out of the counties located in the above mentioned records, in published family histories, and found on-line at www.mytrees.com, www.nehgs.org, Ancestry.com, , www.familysearch.org, RootsWeb , and www.usgenweb.org.

  • Histories of all kinds: occupational, ethnic, religious, state, county, and town to name a few.

To capitalize on this information, one must study and apply what is learned to a specific case. For this reason, it is hoped that a subject or ancestor might be selected. When an example is provided in one of the above resources, try to locate a source in your own family for such an example that would be applicable to the subject or ancestor.

History
Much of the history which caused migration, including a movement from one nation to another, was often caused by economics (fish, furs, or land) or social issues (freedom of religion, ethnic persecution, an ability to be educated, etc.). Land was a principle economic factor in American migration.

If we were to focus on foreign immigration to the United States from Great Britain, it would be seen that different groups came during different times and that they went to different areas for different reasons. With all these differences, what do they have in common?

  • Indentured servants from London 1683-86.
  • British convicts transported to the colonies 1718-1775.
  • Percentages of total emigration by area 1607-1700.
  • West Indies settlement colonial period.
  • The Flow of Migration from Britain.
  • Residences of Emigrants from England and Scotland by county.

Empirical evidence for the above movement was recorded in such books as Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer. Trying to determine the last location of your ancestor may be most difficult to do, if you were only to use the statistics from Mr. Fischer's book. However, such writings serve to let us know the greatest concentrations of movements to and from an area, and they can lead us to sources used to compile the statistics recorded in Albion's Seed. One might jump to erroneous conclusions, however, so we need more than history to guide us.

Topography
Topography requires a visual example. Visual examples can come from a variety of places and many are available today online or through the use of mapping programs.

  • A topographical map of the land features which could indicate barriers to migration.
  • Pictorial view of area covered in a topographical map such as a Sanford map (bird's eye-view, or early insurance map) of a town.
  • Topographical map with waterways and land mass outlined for the landscape.
  • Forests of the United States and the barriers they caused to movement that detoured families to other places than the most direct route.
  • Political maps, colonial grants, county boundaries of the time period.

Visual examples explain issues easier than written text. Written text and visual images together, explain a great deal about human conditions. Take the challenge; look for examples of maps which could cover your area of interest for each of these subject areas mentioned above. There are forces which prevented migration. Some of those forces are treated under the subject of jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction
Where people could travel, or could not travel, and who would have recorded their movements or their day-to-day records falls under the category of jurisdiction. Each area may have multiple, and over-lapping jurisdictions including a religious, civil, judicial, and a military jurisdiction. Learning about these overlapping boundaries, and how to locate records recorded in each, is an essential part of family history studies. How fast they could travel, what they could take with them, who might accompany them, and other factors are part of movement methodologies.

Movement Methodologies
Rivers were the most frequently used methods of movement throughout the world. They required less effort, provided some protection from highway men, and provided necessary water for cleaning and drinking. Internal migration within the US was made possible by a nearly unbroken highway of water. Explorers continually searched from the tidewater basins along the eastern seaboard to the western rivers for passes, gaps, portages and favorable land and water routes westward.

Looking at a close up picture of the state you are interested in, with all its historical waterways and early roads, can provide a good over-all picture of movement. These are usually available in encyclopedias. It can be especially illuminating near county and state borders to determine where else to look for records and to pinpoint the location of a person found in land and property records.

Indian paths were the first migration trails. They were called traces and many a road was built upon them. They traversed in and out, over and around the mountains and rivers. Eventually trappers on horses followed the Indian Traces, followed by the covered wagons, and pull carts. Sometimes planks were placed across the road and these 'corduroy' roads of the early 1800's helped keep the wagons out of the mud. Usually, however, the trails were rough stretches of just plain dirt and mud. Finally, the mail and stagecoach roads made their debut. Native races were pushed further and further off of their lands, and their territory was quickly filled in by other races. Thus we see that one person's migration could be causes for someone else's migration.

When natural waterways did not exist, canals and canal boats were built to bridge the gap. These were replaced by railroads and other mechanical means. There were several deterrents to movement, including elevation, forests, water bodies, and human enemies (just to name a few.) Topography is therefore a major consideration in movement.

Knowing the history of an area is another way to discover deterrents to migration, and thus we are forced back in our cycle of evolving factors which guide us ever deeper into our ancestor's lives and their places of origin. Indian wars, disease, and natural disasters either prevented movement in one area or drove people out of another area. A time-line of cause-effect relationships is particularly helpful in those periods of time when few records are left.

To summarize, here is what a colleague shared with me about the principles of migration which were given in 1885. This information is taken from the book: Laws of Migration

Laws of Migration*
Ernest George Ravenstein (1885)
Patterns
  1. Majority of migrants go only a short distance
  2. Migration proceeds step by step
  3. Each migration current produces a counter current
  4. Migrants going long distances generally prefer to go to a large center of commerce or industry
  5. Major direction is from agricultural to industrial or commercial centers
Characteristics of Migrants
  1. Females are more migratory within their county of birth; males more frequently venture beyond county boundaries
  2. Most are [young] adults; families rarely migrate out of birth county
  3. Natives of towns migrate less than those of rural areas
  4. Major causes of migration are economic
Volume
  1. Large towns grow more by migration than birth rate
  2. Migration increases as industry and commerce develop, and transportation improves
* Today we would call them tendencies or some such more flexible term, but, remarkably, most of Ravenstein's generalizations seem valid today to contemporary scholars.... Ravenstein's 'laws,' ... do square [with the actual American experience], at least in their basic thrust. Roger Daniels, Coming to America, 1990 p. 16, 18.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Nov 29, 2007

Learn About Migration Patterns
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

Many experts have shared their experiences with migration in various excellent resources. Learn how to use migration patterns to find your elusive ancestors. References and links to some of the many authoritative resources are included in this article. A short, but worthwhile sampling is listed here:

  • Genealogy Research Methods and Sources is a set of two books produced by the National Genealogical Society. Although out of print, they are still found in libraries and are excellent in the information regarding migration research methodologies.

  • The Handy Book for Genealogists is an excellent publication that contains good maps for each state and county in the United States, and an overview of the entire U.S. with named migration trails.

  • Research Outlines of the Family History Library are free and a good resources. Go to www.familysearch.org and click on the research guidance feature on the home page.

  • World Conference on Records reports - good methodologies for other countries.

  • On-line library or archival catalogs or any good historical library, subject listings provide wonderful resources.

  • Genealogy How-to-Books and presentations by George Schweitzer, Helen Leary, Wade Hone, etc.

  • Genealogy articles and lectures by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Tom Jones, etc.

  • Compiled genealogies of people who traveled in and out of the counties located in the above mentioned records, in published family histories, and found on-line at www.mytrees.com, www.nehgs.org, Ancestry.com, , www.familysearch.org, RootsWeb , and www.usgenweb.org.

  • Histories of all kinds: occupational, ethnic, religious, state, county, and town to name a few.

To capitalize on this information, one must study and apply what is learned to a specific case. For this reason, it is hoped that a subject or ancestor might be selected. When an example is provided in one of the above resources, try to locate a source in your own family for such an example that would be applicable to the subject or ancestor.

History
Much of the history which caused migration, including a movement from one nation to another, was often caused by economics (fish, furs, or land) or social issues (freedom of religion, ethnic persecution, an ability to be educated, etc.). Land was a principle economic factor in American migration.

If we were to focus on foreign immigration to the United States from Great Britain, it would be seen that different groups came during different times and that they went to different areas for different reasons. With all these differences, what do they have in common?

  • Indentured servants from London 1683-86.
  • British convicts transported to the colonies 1718-1775.
  • Percentages of total emigration by area 1607-1700.
  • West Indies settlement colonial period.
  • The Flow of Migration from Britain.
  • Residences of Emigrants from England and Scotland by county.

Empirical evidence for the above movement was recorded in such books as Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer. Trying to determine the last location of your ancestor may be most difficult to do, if you were only to use the statistics from Mr. Fischer's book. However, such writings serve to let us know the greatest concentrations of movements to and from an area, and they can lead us to sources used to compile the statistics recorded in Albion's Seed. One might jump to erroneous conclusions, however, so we need more than history to guide us.

Topography
Topography requires a visual example. Visual examples can come from a variety of places and many are available today online or through the use of mapping programs.

  • A topographical map of the land features which could indicate barriers to migration.
  • Pictorial view of area covered in a topographical map such as a Sanford map (bird's eye-view, or early insurance map) of a town.
  • Topographical map with waterways and land mass outlined for the landscape.
  • Forests of the United States and the barriers they caused to movement that detoured families to other places than the most direct route.
  • Political maps, colonial grants, county boundaries of the time period.

Visual examples explain issues easier than written text. Written text and visual images together, explain a great deal about human conditions. Take the challenge; look for examples of maps which could cover your area of interest for each of these subject areas mentioned above. There are forces which prevented migration. Some of those forces are treated under the subject of jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction
Where people could travel, or could not travel, and who would have recorded their movements or their day-to-day records falls under the category of jurisdiction. Each area may have multiple, and over-lapping jurisdictions including a religious, civil, judicial, and a military jurisdiction. Learning about these overlapping boundaries, and how to locate records recorded in each, is an essential part of family history studies. How fast they could travel, what they could take with them, who might accompany them, and other factors are part of movement methodologies.

Movement Methodologies
Rivers were the most frequently used methods of movement throughout the world. They required less effort, provided some protection from highway men, and provided necessary water for cleaning and drinking. Internal migration within the US was made possible by a nearly unbroken highway of water. Explorers continually searched from the tidewater basins along the eastern seaboard to the western rivers for passes, gaps, portages and favorable land and water routes westward.

Looking at a close up picture of the state you are interested in, with all its historical waterways and early roads, can provide a good over-all picture of movement. These are usually available in encyclopedias. It can be especially illuminating near county and state borders to determine where else to look for records and to pinpoint the location of a person found in land and property records.

Indian paths were the first migration trails. They were called traces and many a road was built upon them. They traversed in and out, over and around the mountains and rivers. Eventually trappers on horses followed the Indian Traces, followed by the covered wagons, and pull carts. Sometimes planks were placed across the road and these 'corduroy' roads of the early 1800's helped keep the wagons out of the mud. Usually, however, the trails were rough stretches of just plain dirt and mud. Finally, the mail and stagecoach roads made their debut. Native races were pushed further and further off of their lands, and their territory was quickly filled in by other races. Thus we see that one person's migration could be causes for someone else's migration.

When natural waterways did not exist, canals and canal boats were built to bridge the gap. These were replaced by railroads and other mechanical means. There were several deterrents to movement, including elevation, forests, water bodies, and human enemies (just to name a few.) Topography is therefore a major consideration in movement.

Knowing the history of an area is another way to discover deterrents to migration, and thus we are forced back in our cycle of evolving factors which guide us ever deeper into our ancestor's lives and their places of origin. Indian wars, disease, and natural disasters either prevented movement in one area or drove people out of another area. A time-line of cause-effect relationships is particularly helpful in those periods of time when few records are left.

To summarize, here is what a colleague shared with me about the principles of migration which were given in 1885. This information is taken from the book: Laws of Migration

Laws of Migration*
Ernest George Ravenstein (1885)
Patterns
  1. Majority of migrants go only a short distance
  2. Migration proceeds step by step
  3. Each migration current produces a counter current
  4. Migrants going long distances generally prefer to go to a large center of commerce or industry
  5. Major direction is from agricultural to industrial or commercial centers
Characteristics of Migrants
  1. Females are more migratory within their county of birth; males more frequently venture beyond county boundaries
  2. Most are [young] adults; families rarely migrate out of birth county
  3. Natives of towns migrate less than those of rural areas
  4. Major causes of migration are economic
Volume
  1. Large towns grow more by migration than birth rate
  2. Migration increases as industry and commerce develop, and transportation improves
* Today we would call them tendencies or some such more flexible term, but, remarkably, most of Ravenstein's generalizations seem valid today to contemporary scholars.... Ravenstein's 'laws,' ... do square [with the actual American experience], at least in their basic thrust. Roger Daniels, Coming to America, 1990 p. 16, 18.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Nov 29, 2007

Learn About Migration Patterns
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

Many experts have shared their experiences with migration in various excellent resources. Learn how to use migration patterns to find your elusive ancestors. References and links to some of the many authoritative resources are included in this article. A short, but worthwhile sampling is listed here:

  • Genealogy Research Methods and Sources is a set of two books produced by the National Genealogical Society. Although out of print, they are still found in libraries and are excellent in the information regarding migration research methodologies.

  • The Handy Book for Genealogists is an excellent publication that contains good maps for each state and county in the United States, and an overview of the entire U.S. with named migration trails.

  • Research Outlines of the Family History Library are free and a good resources. Go to www.familysearch.org and click on the research guidance feature on the home page.

  • World Conference on Records reports - good methodologies for other countries.

  • On-line library or archival catalogs or any good historical library, subject listings provide wonderful resources.

  • Genealogy How-to-Books and presentations by George Schweitzer, Helen Leary, Wade Hone, etc.

  • Genealogy articles and lectures by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Tom Jones, etc.

  • Compiled genealogies of people who traveled in and out of the counties located in the above mentioned records, in published family histories, and found on-line at www.mytrees.com, www.nehgs.org, Ancestry.com, , www.familysearch.org, RootsWeb , and www.usgenweb.org.

  • Histories of all kinds: occupational, ethnic, religious, state, county, and town to name a few.

To capitalize on this information, one must study and apply what is learned to a specific case. For this reason, it is hoped that a subject or ancestor might be selected. When an example is provided in one of the above resources, try to locate a source in your own family for such an example that would be applicable to the subject or ancestor.

History
Much of the history which caused migration, including a movement from one nation to another, was often caused by economics (fish, furs, or land) or social issues (freedom of religion, ethnic persecution, an ability to be educated, etc.). Land was a principle economic factor in American migration.

If we were to focus on foreign immigration to the United States from Great Britain, it would be seen that different groups came during different times and that they went to different areas for different reasons. With all these differences, what do they have in common?

  • Indentured servants from London 1683-86.
  • British convicts transported to the colonies 1718-1775.
  • Percentages of total emigration by area 1607-1700.
  • West Indies settlement colonial period.
  • The Flow of Migration from Britain.
  • Residences of Emigrants from England and Scotland by county.

Empirical evidence for the above movement was recorded in such books as Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer. Trying to determine the last location of your ancestor may be most difficult to do, if you were only to use the statistics from Mr. Fischer's book. However, such writings serve to let us know the greatest concentrations of movements to and from an area, and they can lead us to sources used to compile the statistics recorded in Albion's Seed. One might jump to erroneous conclusions, however, so we need more than history to guide us.

Topography
Topography requires a visual example. Visual examples can come from a variety of places and many are available today online or through the use of mapping programs.

  • A topographical map of the land features which could indicate barriers to migration.
  • Pictorial view of area covered in a topographical map such as a Sanford map (bird's eye-view, or early insurance map) of a town.
  • Topographical map with waterways and land mass outlined for the landscape.
  • Forests of the United States and the barriers they caused to movement that detoured families to other places than the most direct route.
  • Political maps, colonial grants, county boundaries of the time period.

Visual examples explain issues easier than written text. Written text and visual images together, explain a great deal about human conditions. Take the challenge; look for examples of maps which could cover your area of interest for each of these subject areas mentioned above. There are forces which prevented migration. Some of those forces are treated under the subject of jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction
Where people could travel, or could not travel, and who would have recorded their movements or their day-to-day records falls under the category of jurisdiction. Each area may have multiple, and over-lapping jurisdictions including a religious, civil, judicial, and a military jurisdiction. Learning about these overlapping boundaries, and how to locate records recorded in each, is an essential part of family history studies. How fast they could travel, what they could take with them, who might accompany them, and other factors are part of movement methodologies.

Movement Methodologies
Rivers were the most frequently used methods of movement throughout the world. They required less effort, provided some protection from highway men, and provided necessary water for cleaning and drinking. Internal migration within the US was made possible by a nearly unbroken highway of water. Explorers continually searched from the tidewater basins along the eastern seaboard to the western rivers for passes, gaps, portages and favorable land and water routes westward.

Looking at a close up picture of the state you are interested in, with all its historical waterways and early roads, can provide a good over-all picture of movement. These are usually available in encyclopedias. It can be especially illuminating near county and state borders to determine where else to look for records and to pinpoint the location of a person found in land and property records.

Indian paths were the first migration trails. They were called traces and many a road was built upon them. They traversed in and out, over and around the mountains and rivers. Eventually trappers on horses followed the Indian Traces, followed by the covered wagons, and pull carts. Sometimes planks were placed across the road and these 'corduroy' roads of the early 1800's helped keep the wagons out of the mud. Usually, however, the trails were rough stretches of just plain dirt and mud. Finally, the mail and stagecoach roads made their debut. Native races were pushed further and further off of their lands, and their territory was quickly filled in by other races. Thus we see that one person's migration could be causes for someone else's migration.

When natural waterways did not exist, canals and canal boats were built to bridge the gap. These were replaced by railroads and other mechanical means. There were several deterrents to movement, including elevation, forests, water bodies, and human enemies (just to name a few.) Topography is therefore a major consideration in movement.

Knowing the history of an area is another way to discover deterrents to migration, and thus we are forced back in our cycle of evolving factors which guide us ever deeper into our ancestor's lives and their places of origin. Indian wars, disease, and natural disasters either prevented movement in one area or drove people out of another area. A time-line of cause-effect relationships is particularly helpful in those periods of time when few records are left.

To summarize, here is what a colleague shared with me about the principles of migration which were given in 1885. This information is taken from the book: Laws of Migration

Laws of Migration*
Ernest George Ravenstein (1885)
Patterns
  1. Majority of migrants go only a short distance
  2. Migration proceeds step by step
  3. Each migration current produces a counter current
  4. Migrants going long distances generally prefer to go to a large center of commerce or industry
  5. Major direction is from agricultural to industrial or commercial centers
Characteristics of Migrants
  1. Females are more migratory within their county of birth; males more frequently venture beyond county boundaries
  2. Most are [young] adults; families rarely migrate out of birth county
  3. Natives of towns migrate less than those of rural areas
  4. Major causes of migration are economic
Volume
  1. Large towns grow more by migration than birth rate
  2. Migration increases as industry and commerce develop, and transportation improves
* Today we would call them tendencies or some such more flexible term, but, remarkably, most of Ravenstein's generalizations seem valid today to contemporary scholars.... Ravenstein's 'laws,' ... do square [with the actual American experience], at least in their basic thrust. Roger Daniels, Coming to America, 1990 p. 16, 18.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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