Migration Routes

Brothers and sisters in genealogy I am here today to speak to you about migration routes of our dearly departed ancestors. I don’t mean those big migrations like from England to the New World but smaller more concise ones.

Mid-Western Migration

  • Ohio River Valley Settlers
  • Great Lakes Early Settlers
  • New England and Eastern Great Lakes
  • Northwestern Germany and the Midwest

I selected some of the migrations featured through Ancestry.  Selecting this option can narrow the field of searching to a group and area to search within.  Narrowing the group and area allows for a direction in research.  Now I know that I may need to look for my family traveling from Michigan back East to New York.  If I look at the time line I can also make a guess at transportation means.  Was it possible that these people used the Erie Canal? Looking at records that surround those locations may provide answers.

  • Narrow time of migration
  • Look at transportation to new area for migration route
  • Did free or cheap land help in migration?
  • Did your ancestor receive land for military service?

Opportunity had to be seized, new territories had to be populated.  The easiest way was to lure settlers with free or cheap land, easy promises came with the land, forgeting to mention the backbraking work.  Look for land deeds of ancestors from the East. These are often the first documents found in a newly established territory. Soldiers were often awarded land for service, checking service records can confirm that an ancestor qualified for land and chose that land in newly opened territories.  The bonsus of service records can be that they contain more than just service information, they will contain much more-dependants, medical conditions, place of residence, and land grants are just some of the examples of other information available.

Reverse those migration routes.  Find those ancestors, they are waiting for you.


Back in the Saddle Again


Flying high above the other researchers searching records

I am a complete geek for museums. I lose myself in the displays and galleries imagining the lives that were lived by people and animals of the past.  It’s not such a great leap to understand why genealogy hooked me.  Trees and documents are just the pipelines to these well-organized displays. I am the curator charged with organizing the information.

In the midst of research like most it is easy to become overwhelmed with the trails that I have been following.  I have been so long under water that emerging feels as if I am bursting into daylight disoriented. I don’t know which end is up or some times what exactly I already have in my notes.

Brick walls are the nemesis of all genealogical researchers.  If research goes on long enough every genealogist will have at least one if not multiple.

What are some strategies to break brick walls?

  • Use whole census records
  • Use alternate spellings
  • Look at know migration routes
  • Use all forms of DNA-atDNA, YDNA, and MtDNA- Look for groupings in each for the family member you are researching
  • Join a One Name Project
  • Organization from known facts to speculation-research until you can turn the speculation to fact or disprove it

These are just a few of the techniques that can be used to break brick walls.  Over the next few weeks I will go into depth on each of these points and how I have used them.


Sloth Selfie in North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum