The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The History Behind Migration

American progress. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97507547/resource/

American progress. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97507547/resource/

By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student

The first module of US: Migration Patterns was packed full of useful information.  Facts and tid-bits that I had not heard before, or at least not stopped to consider when looking at the bigger picture of US migration patterns.  I actually read this module several times through.  Each time I did I made a note in the margins about statements that related to my personal research, and I am sure you will too.

Of particular interest was the long list of records presented that might be left behind as our ancestors moved westward.  Some I am sure you can guess.  Of course there could be bible records, censuses, personal manuscripts, or vital records.  Some of the more unusual ones (that I will be checking on) were emigrant aid companies, fort records, occupation records, voting registers, plus many others.  Once again reminding me that our ancestors did not live in a vacuum.  They were people who lived full lives and left a paper trail if you know where, or how, to look.

If you have read any of my blog posts in the past you may remember me harping on how important it is to know all types of history and geography.  Which is why I was literally yelling “YES” as I read Module 1 and came to the section on history and geography.  Our instructor, Beverly Whitaker, does an excellent job driving home the point that you need to understand the history of the US, from colonial to current times, to understand the motivations our ancestors had to migrate.  Plus, the routes they took were dependent on geography.  Being able to look at a map and understand why settlements began where they did or why certain routes were taken will aid you in your searches.  In fact, the two influenced each other in ways that casual observers may not realize.

For example, in my family one of my lines migrated from Maryland to Kentucky and then onto Indiana.  Why?  Well, they were Catholic first off and after the Revolution there were Catholic settlements springing up in Washington County, Kentucky.  Single men moved first then later the larger family groups moved to join them.  In my family the main moves happened after the War of 1812. They moved to Kentucky, stayed for a few years, and then when bounty lands opened in Indiana they moved up there in large groups. Most of the family stayed there, but there were a few branches that had itchy feet. There is even a ‘49er in my family!

I have to say this first module was a great set-up for the rest of the course.  Each of the following five modules focus in on a specific time period for American migration.  Should be fun, and I will see you online!

Category: Courses

Leave a Reply