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Migration Patterns and Trails

Major Migrations Trails

Boston Post Road
Boston, MA, to New York City
early 1700s

Wilderness Road
Fort Chiswell, VA, to central KY
late 1700s

Oregon Trail
Independence, MO, to Fort Vancouver, WA
1841 - turn of the century

California Trail
Missouri to California

Spanish Trail
Sante Fe, NM, to Los Angeles, CA

Overland Trail
Julesburg, CO, to Fort Bridges, WY
est. 1862

Mormon Pioneer Trail
Nauvoo, IL, to Salt Lake City, UT

National Road
Cumberland, MD, to St. Louis, MO
early 1800s

Sante Fe Trail
Old Franklin, MO, to Sante Fe, NM
est. early 1800s

Mohawk Trail
Boston, MA, to New York state
est. colonial period

Mohawk Trail of New York
Albany, NY, to Buffalo, NY
est. colonial period

Natchez Trail
Nashville, TN, to Natchez, MS
est. colonial period

The Pennsylvania Road
Philadelphia, PA, to Pittsburg, PA
est. 1800s

Zane's Trace
Wheeling, WV, to Maysville, KY
early 1800s





Migration Links

American Migration Fact Sheets
Beverly Whitaker provides migration fact sheets for eighteen major trails in a downloadable pdf format.

Westward Migration Maps
This site features digitized images of historical maps from the holdings of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

Trails West
This site provides a succinct overview of westward migration including a map and descriptions for over a dozen trails.

Online Diaries and Journals about the Old West
Read about western journies written by the people who traveled the routes and settled the western frontier.

The Boston Post Road
A hand-drawn map and description of the route from Boston, Massachusetts, to New York City.

Ohio Migration Trails
A map and description of the major migrations trails through Ohio.

Trails West - Markers of the California Trail
An essay describing the historical development of the California Trail, a route used by several hundred thousand pioneers traveling to Utah, Oregon, and California.

The National Road
An online article from History Magazine.

National Road Map
A description of the National Road is provided, with a map, by the National Park Service.The National Road originated in Baltimore, Maryland, and crossed five states ending at St. Louis, Missouri.

All About the Oregon Trail
A complete primer on the Oregon Trail.

The Sante Fe - National Historic Trail
An informative site presented by the National Park Service.The Sante Fe trail connected western Missouri with Sante Fe, New Mexico.

History of the Mohawk Trail
History, points of interest, and a map provide details about this northeastern trail.

The Native and Immigrant view of the Gold Rush
Learn how the Gold Rush affected natives and immigrants.



Research Collections
Diaries and Letters
Migration Patterns and Trails
Timelines and Chronologies
Wars and the Military


Research Questions

What route did your ancestors follow to their community?

Were they the first of your family in that area?

Did he move often from one place to another? Why?

Why did they settle where they did?

Did he migrate alone, with his family, or with a large group of people?

What mode of transportation did they use?

Was travel difficult? Were there roads to travel on or mere paths?

Did the weather affect the family's migration?

Did he received a land patent from the government?


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