There were several migration trails across the United States beginning with the earliest days of settlement. Those trails are important and researchers need to be aware of them. However some people don’t exactly follow the trails. And some people are part of group of migrants connected by ethnicity, religion, or other shared social bonds who move together over decades. These longer, smaller, and more personal migrations are often referred to as migration chains.
There are a variety of records that can provide clues as to such migration chains, including:
- county histories
- academic studies of migration
- pension affidavits
- church histories
- and others
Such records have given me evidence of migration chains, including:
- Dunkards who moved from Maryland to Kentucky to Indiana to Illinois and Iowa starting in the late 1790s and ending in the 1860s
- Several families from Hunterdon County, New Jersey; to Pennsylvania; to Delaware County, Ohio.