Revolutionary War history

Common Migration Patterns

You’ve gotten your ancestor back to the 1820s – and gotten stuck. You’re pretty sure the family had ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. How do you find them?

Pay attention to migration patterns. While it’s little discussed in our study of American history, your ancestors weren’t settling randomly. Instead, they were following others into new regions and new communities. By look at where your ancestors lived, you may be able to determine where your family originated.

How do you determine migration patterns? There are a few options. First, look for local histories. They may mention that many of the early settlers arrived from one town or region. Second, at the history of the period your ancestors arrived. In the years immediately following the American Revolution, bounty land served as a major driver of new European settlement. Finally, look at your ancestors’ own land records: you may be able to use them to build a timeline.

Happy hunting!