Your family might have emigrated to the United States over a series of generations. My ancestor’s brother Tonjes Jurgens Ehmen immgirated to the US in the 1860s, leaving behind one brother who stayed in Germany, married and raised a family.

That brother had 11 children of his own, all born in Germany. All but two of those children immigrated to the United States between roughly 1870 and 1890. One of the children who stayed in Germany and had several children of his own–including one who came to the United States in 1910.

For three generations, some members of the Ehmen family immigrated to America while others stayed behind in Germany. The immigrants originally settled where they had relatives, later moving on to other areas of the United States.

Were your ancestors part of a multi-generational chain of migration?



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  1. I call it STEPPING STONE GENEALOGY. I am convinced that someone goes first and blazes a trail for close relatives & descendants over the next couple of generations. Kinship was very, very closeknit. One always looked out for kin w/hospitality.
    It may have been very necessary to stay in a Fort or Blockhouse along the main overland travel routes. I have recently been study'g this last aspect looking for certain families, & learned some good background migration info. broadening my understand'g.
    Some initial family migrants no doubt had to stop, build temporary homes, plant some crops, re-supply or repair equipm't etc. Maybe had to work a paying job to do this. Perhaps old or very ill family could not go on the entire journey, & settled down far from the rest of their clan.
    Sometimes entire communities or church groups migrated together, but intermarried locals along the way, & settled down without going further than the main group. Try'g to estab. migration routes & means of transit e.g. canal steamships, railroads, wagon train passenger lists, etc. can be useful. Good maps for the era are essential, especially as geographic boundaries changed & new states or countries developed.
    Probably the most difficult scenario is when a group of brothers decide to all go in different directions in the new land, some even deliberately changing their family surname to some variant. I have actually read this has happened, but not too often I'd think.
    I have been try'g for years to validate this theory w/the Hartman/Hardman/Herdman families of PA., WV, & OH. I believe the Hacker's Ck. Lewis Co., WV branch which started w/Peter & Charlotte Lazear Hartman/Hardman/Herdman had started at least a whole generation earlier w/Anthony Hartman ancestors. This line is best documented in early PA.& KY. but I think they show up in OH at same time Peter's son Daniel & Nancy (Fowler) Hardman large family was there.
    I wish researchers would always put birth data after a person's given name to make it easier to keep straight all those names which are continuously handed down over many generations. Also wish surnames would all be capitalized at least the 1st time it is used in a published work. – Joan E. Burke

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