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Value of Migration Research
Mountains, forests, rivers, and the gaps between them channelled migration into predictable settlement patterns. Events like gold or land rushes, and Indian treaties also affected settlement.
Understanding the transportation systems available to ancestors can help genealogists better guess their place of origin. Connect the place where an ancestor settled to the nearby canals,waterways, trails, roads, and railroads to look for connections to places they may have lived previously.
Migration research may help you discover:
Types of U.S. Migration Records
Actual lists of travelers are unusual. A few passenger lists are available at the New York State Archives for the Erie Canal from 1827-1829. But lists of pioneers who settled an area are sometimes available on the Internet, or in the form of county or local histories. The diaries and journals of people on the move may help you learn who they had as companions on the journey, and what their trip was like.
Censuses, directories, land and property records, plat maps, tax records, and voting registers can sometimes be used to learn where new arrivals settled.
Migration Records for Selected States
Key Reference Sources
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