United States Migration Internal
Value of Migration Research
Mountains, forests, waterways, and the gaps between them channeled migration into predictable settlement patterns. Events like gold or land rushes, and Indian treaties also affected settlement.
Understanding the transportation systems available to ancestors can help genealogists better guess their place of origin. Connect the place where an ancestor settled to the nearby canals,waterways, trails, roads, and railroads to look for connections to places they may have lived previously.
Migration research may help you discover:
Types of U.S. Migration Records
Actual lists of travelers are unusual. A few passenger lists are available at the New York State Archives for the Erie Canal from 1827-1829. But lists of pioneers who settled an area are sometimes available on the Internet, or in the form of county or local histories. The diaries and journals of people on the move may help you learn who they had as companions on the journey, and what their trip was like.
Censuses, directories, land and property records, plat maps, tax records, and voting registers can sometimes be used to learn where new arrivals settled. Starting in 1850 federal censuses show where a person was born, and starting in 1880 where the parents were born.
Church records of some denominations may indicate a former residence of a family or a place to which they were moving. The minutes of the Society of Friends (Quakers) are especially helpful, since the Monthly Meeting from which the family was moving issued a certificate of recommendation to the Monthly Meeting to which they were going. And the receiving Monthly Meeting recorded in their minutes, the location of the Monthly Meeting from which the family had come. Not all denominations were as diligent in recording this type of information, but some others had somewhat similar records.
Maritime museums often hold records of ships, ports, maps, photographs, personal and business records, and manuscripts. Collections vary by facility.
Photogrammar is a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI). It chronicles the migrations and living conditions during the Great Depression and WWII.
Using the list below, go to the state where the family settled, then revert to the first place in column three, then second place, etc to the end. That is the probable route to the state you have chosen. Semicolons indicated a different route for a different population. 
AL Alabama TN,GA,NC,SC,MD
AR Arkansas MS,AL,TN,GA,KY,NC,VA,MD,SC
Al Alabama TN,GA,NC,SC,MD
AR Arkansas MS,AL,TN,GA,KY,NC,VA,MD,SC
CT Connecticut MA,RI
DE Delaware Dutch-NY,NJ; English-PA, NY,NJ,VA,MD; German-PA
FL Florida West-TN;Mid-VA,NC,SC; East-GA,AL,NC,SC
GA Georgia TN,NC,VA,SC;1752-MA; Moravian's-NC
IL Illinois South-NC,VA,KY,MD,PA; North-New England
IN Indiana VA,KY,SC,NC; North-New England; Quakers-TN,NC,SC
IA Iowa IL,IN,OH,NY,WI,MN,MI
KS Kansas MO,IA,IL,IN,OH,Ky; state census asks previous place of Residence
Ky Kentucky VA,NC,MD,PA,TN
LA Louisiana TN,KY,AL,MS,Ga,SC,NC;French-Canada or direct
ME Maine MA,CT,RI
MD Maryland DE,PA,VA;Dutch-DE,NY,French-Nova Scotia;German-PA;Scotch-Irish PA,VA
MI Michigan New England, NY
MN Minnesota ME,then rest of New England
MS Mississippi AL, TN, GA,NC,SC,VA,KY,MD
MO Missouri KY,VA,NC,SC,MD,PA,TN
NB Nebraska KS,MO,IA
NH New Hampshire MA,ME,VT,CT,NY
NJ New Jersey English-CT,NY (particularly Long Island),Dutch-NY;Quakers-DE,PA
NY New York MA,CT,NJ,RI,VT;French-Canada, West Indies
NC North Carolina VA,SC,MD,Shenandoah Valley-Pa;Quakers-VA,PA,MA (later many moved to OH, IN)
OH Ohio SE corner-AM,Ct,VA,KY,TN,NJ; Quakers-PA,NC; German-PA; Franklin, Perry and Licking Co. - Canada
OK Oklahoma North-IL,IA,KS; South-AR,MO,TX,TN
PA Pennsylvania CT,NY,NJ
RI Rhode Island MA,Ct,
SC South Carolina West Indies (Charleston); Dutch-NY
TN Tennessee NC,VA,SC
TX Texas NC,VA,SC
VT Vermont MA,Ct, ME, Canada
VA Virginia NC,DE,MC,PA;Quakers-PA,NJ
Migration Records for Selected States
Adams, James Truslow, editor-in-chief. Atlas of American History. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1943.
Atwood, Wallace W. The Physiographic Provinces of North America, Boston: Ginn, 1940.
Billington, Ray Allen. The American Frontier Thesis: Attack and Defense. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966.
Billington, Ray Allen. Westward Expansion: a History of the American Frontier. 5th Ed. New York: Macmillan, 1982. WorldCat 0023098600
Flanders, Stephen A. Atlas of American Migration. New York, New York: Facts on File, c1998. WorldCat 0816031584
Putnam, Jackson K. "The Turner Thesis and the Westward Movement: a Reappraisal." Western Historical Quarterly 7 (October 1976).
Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Frontier in American History. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986. WorldCat 0816509468
White, C. Langdon & Edwin J. Foscue. Regional Geography of North America. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1943.
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