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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.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some revisions have been made to this course and completed in late May 2018.

If you have previously purchased print materials for this course dated July 2002 or prior, you can find an “Important Amendments & Revisions to Printed Course Material” file in the Reading section in Module 1 of the online course material. This file will provide you with updated details.

Course Content

Module 1

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
• Migratory Tracings
• Locality Resources
• Map Resources

Recommended Reading & Resources

Chronology Of Amercia
• Colonial America, 1607-1783
• Beyond the Eastern Shores, 1784-1839
• Opening of the West, 1840-1865
• Coming of Age, 1866-1919
• The Modern Era, 1920-present
• U.S. Centers of Population, 1790-2000
• States by Order of Creation

Module 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

American Revolutionary War

Colonial Roads & Trails

• Other Roads/Trails

Transportation Demands in the New Nation
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 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 Reading & Resources


Module 4

Opening Of The West, 1840-1865
A Rapidly Growing Nation
Santa Fe Trail
Manifest Destiny
Emigrant Aid Companies
The Far West

Bound for Oregon, Utah, California & Texas

• Oregon Territory
• 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 Reading & Resources


Module 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
• Railroads

World War I
Recommended Reading & Resources


Module 6

Modern Era, 1920–Present
Post-World War I Era
Depression Years
World War II & Its Effect on the Postwar Era
Significant Federal Highway Migration Routes

From Trails to Federal Highways

• Interstate Highways
• Interstates & the Old Trails and Roads

Recommended Reading & Resources


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