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US: Migration Patterns
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The purpose of this course is to discuss and illustrate the history of migration across the United States. This includes particular routes that individual ancestors would have followed in the migration westward; the time period of settlement of areas of the United States; and specifics about the common patterns of movement of people between areas and states through the decades.

One student’s experience:
To hear a student discussion regarding their experience with this course, please click here. (This is a large file and may take a minute or two to download.)


Why Study Migration Patterns?

  • Definitions
  • Why Study Migration Patterns?
  • Why Migrate?
  • The Frontier Process
  • Successful Migration
  • Waves of American Migration
  • Roots & Routes, an Overview
  • Was There a "Typical" Migrant?
  • What Records Were Left During Migrations?
  • Frontier Jurisdictions & Records
  • History & Geography, Keys to Understanding Migration Patterns
  • America''s Waterway System
  • Methodology for Exploring Migration Patterns
  • Analyze Your Pedigree Charts & Family Group Sheets
  • Migratory Tracings
  • Locality Resources
  • Map Resources
  • Recommended Web Sites

    WEEK 2

    Colonial America, 1607-1783
  • Coastal Settlement
  • Early Contact with the Indians
  • Migration to the Connecticut River Valley
  • Migration Out of Boston
  • Early Migrations Out of Pennsylvania
  • German Migrations
  • Scots-Irish Migrations
  • Settlements in the Early Western Frontier
  • The Appalachian Barrier
  • Breaking through the Mountain Barrier
  • The French & Indian War; the Proclamation Line
  • The American Revolutionary War
  • Colonial Roads & Trails
  • Other Roads/Trails
  • Transportation Demands in the New Nation

    WEEK 3

    Case Study

    Beyond The Eastern Shores, 1784-1839
  • Post-Revolution Migrations
  • Federal & State Military Bounty Lands
  • Securing the West for the New Nation
  • Areas of Largest Growth by 1840
  • Growth in Kentucky
  • Growth in Tennessee
  • Growth in Ohio
  • Growth in Other Parts of the Northwest Territory
  • The Early Southwest
  • The Cherokee Removal—The Trail of Tears
  • Americans to Texas, 1820-1845
  • Quaker Migrations
  • Overland Travel, 1784-1839
  • A Few More Roads of Significance
  • River Traffic, Canals & Railroads
  • Steamboats
  • Canals
  • Railroads
  • Recommended Web Sites

    WEEK 4

    Opening Of The West, 1840-1865
  • A Rapidly Growing Nation
  • The Santa Fe Trail
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Emigrant Aid Companies
  • The Far West
  • Bound for Oregon, Utah, California & Texas
  • The Oregon Territory
  • The Mormon Trek to Utah
  • California Gold Rush
  • Mexican Losses
  • Later Gold Rushes & Mineral Attractions
  • The Orphan Trains
  • Land Sales; the Homestead Act of 1862
  • Transportation from the East
  • Popular Overland Routes, 1840-1865
  • Alternate Transportation, 1840-1865
  • Ocean Routes to California
  • Railroads
  • The Civil War, an Interruption & a Stimulus for Postwar Migration
  • Populated Areas in 1865
  • Recommended Web Sites

    WEEK 5

    Coming of Age, 1866-1919
  • Conquest of the Indians in the Great Plains
  • Homestead Acts Brought Settlers
  • Immigrant Migrations
  • Mining Destinations & Roads
  • Communications Coast to Coast
  • Ocean Mail Contracts
  • Overland Mail Routes
  • Cattle Trails
  • The Railroads
  • World War I
  • Recommended Web Sites

    WEEK 6

    Ther Modern Era, 1920–Present
  • The Post-World War I Era
  • The Depression Years
  • World War II & Its Effect on the Postwar Era
  • Significant Federal Highway Migration Routes
  • From Trails to Federal Highways
  • The Interstate Highways
  • Interstates & the Old Trails and Roads

    Chronology Of Amercia
  • Chronology: Beyond the Eastern Shores, 1784-1839
  • Chronology: Opening of the West, 1840-1865
  • Chronology: Coming of Age, 1866-1919
  • Chronology: The Modern Era, 1920-present
  • U.S. Centers of Population, 1790-2000
  • States by Order of Creation

    Case Study


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