The Erie Canal in [[New York, United States Genealogy|New York]] allowed boats from New York City on the Hudson River to reach rural upstate New York and Lake Erie. Eventually the Great Lakes were also connected to the Ohio River and Mississippi River systems by other canals. As canals developed in America settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the canals provided access to markets. They could sell their products at distant markets, and buy products made far away. If an ancestor settled near a canal, you may be able to trace back to a place of origin on a connecting waterway.