My Grandma always told me they went four counties away (staying within the same state) to get married because “your Grandpa just decided to.” They weren’t hiding the marriage from their relatives and were well over the legal age to marry. From what I heard about my Grandpa, he never did anything on a whim.

Chances are your ancestor did not pack up and move for no reason either. It might have been because local soils were getting depleted, former neighbors wrote home with news of “prosperous times further west,” a new political allegiance increased the chance of sons being drafted into military service, Pa got a military bounty warrant, or one of several other reasons.

Have you tried to find out what might have motivated your ancestors to move by doing more than a thirty second Google search and only reading the “first hit that came up?” While internet postings can be accurate, peer-reviewed articles and journals may give more insight into the era, potentially be more reliable, and provide additional reading references. Don’t just read the first anonymous blog post that you find.

Keep in mind reasons for immigration that you find may or not have been what actually motivated your ancestor. You won’t know that unless he or she left behind something that provides evidence of their reasons.

I still don’t know why my grandparents made a long trip in December of 1935 to get married.

But learning about the era will always enhance your research.



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