Migration Patterns

Ever wonder HOW your ancestors moved from place to place or why? I have found no records that my people had any wealth so how did they move? Moving costs money — even back then.

Studying migration patterns and trails can provide enormous insight into how your ancestors moved from place to place.

Early American Chronology

This section for The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Revised Edition, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs & Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, p. 449.

1607: Jamestown, Virginia, was founded by English colonists.

1620: The Mayflower, carrying Pilgrims, arrived in Massachusetts.

1623: New Netherland (Hudson River Valley) was settled as a trading post by the Dutch West India Company.

1629-40: The Puritans migrated to New England.

1642: The outbreak of civil war in England brought a decrease in Puritan migration.

1648: The treaty ending the Thirty Years’ War stipulated that only the Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed religions would be tolerated in Germany henceforth. Religious intolerance motivated large numbers of Germans belonging to small sects, such as Baptist Brethren (Dunkers), to leave for America.

1681: Quakers founded Pennsylvania based on William Penn’s “holy experiment” in universal philanthropy and brotherhood.

1683: The first German settlers (Mennonites) arrived in Pennsylvania.

1709: In the wake of devastation caused by wars of Louis XIV, German Palatines settled in the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania.

1730: Germans and Scotch Irish from Pennsylvania colonized Virginia valley and the Carolina back country.

Virginia to Kentucky

Kentucky was Virginia early on in our countries history. A few setters moved into the region of present-day Kentucky by 1748. Kentucky was under the jurisdiction of Augusta County, Virginia.1 In 1774, all land lying between the Ohio, Kentucky, and Cumberland rivers was purchased by Richard Henderson for his Transylvania Company. Daniel Boone blazed the trail from the Cumberland Gap (at the junction of present-day Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee) to the interior. This path between the Cumberland Gap and central Kentucky became known, through the Transylvania Company’s publicity, as the Wilderness Road.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky became the 15th state on 1 June 1792. Early settlers included Revolutionary War veterans staking claim to bounty-land grants. They were joined by Scots-Irish, German, and English individuals and families from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. My Coffman lineage came into Kentucky in either the late 1790s and/or early 1800s.

1John Nicholas Coffman’s estate appraisal was in Augusta County. See notes on Coffman Brick Walls page.

Kentucky to Missouri

A few years after the migration from Virginia to Kentucky, people again moved from there to Missouri.

My Coffman lineage came to Missouri from Kentucky during its third major migration wave which “was between 1820 and 1860 when the Ohio-Mississippi-Missouri river system and the extension of the Cumberland Road to the Mississippi River [which] brought thousands of immigrants from the upper South and lower Midwest into Missouri, pushing the frontier to the Kansas border. During this period, the largest number of settlers came from Kentucky, followed by Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. … A large proportion of settlers in the middle prairie regions came from Kentucky, while the people from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois concentrated along the northern border and the Mississippi River.”

[From ‘Ancestry’s Red Book’ (1992) edited by Alice Eichholz]