Discover Genealogy Migration Routes Across the United States to Trace your Ancestry
Have you ever wondered how your ancestors traveled across the United States after
arriving from distant origins of the world? Travel was not easy. Roads were rough
and getting from one place to another was a bit challenging. With the conditions
and means of transportation, it is a wonder how our relatives endured their trips.
Most early roads were built along waterways to making movement a bit easier than
having to walk. Some of these roads began as Indian hunting trails as early as the
late 1500’s and grew into well traveled traces and later developed into roads
over the next 300 years. These roads may have left genealogy clues to your ancestry.
Early North Eastern Roads May lead you to a New Ancestry Discovery
Study migration trails to learn more about your family roots by the journey they
took. Knowing where the roads go will help in tracing your heritage back to where
it began. Hopefully you can find records your ancestors left by checking genealogy research repositories
along the migration path; determine the course of a road by comparing historical
maps and determine migration routes and towns your relatives traveled through. Creating
a time line of events can be helpful in recreating your ancestry. Remember boundaries
changed over time so use maps that will follow the years you are researching.
The Road your Ancestors Followed
Counties changed names and boundaries, so did roads. For instance portions of
King’s Highway was called the Great Coastal Road and the Potomac Trail. Some
of the major colonial roads are: Boston Post Road, Kings Highway, Fall Line Road,
Upper Road, The Great Wagon Road, the Great Valley Road, Wilderness Road and Cumberland
Gap, and Braddock’s Road. You just might find your genealogy ancestry along
Boston Post Road
The trail was created to carry mail and became known as the Boston Post Road.
The first trip took four weeks. The first stagecoach made the trip in 1772 and took
one week. Later the road was extended to Kings Highway.
The route began as a Native American trade route, that was carved as a natural
path from the Hudson Valley along the Mohawk River to the Great Lakes. By 1770 it
reached from Albany to Buffalo. Today it is part of the New York Thruway (1-90).
Originally this road was created to carry mail between Boston and New York. By
1750, it was used for stagecoaches and wagons which ran from Boston to Charleston,
South Carolina, linking all thirteen colonies. The road was approximately 1300 miles.
This route has many tales to tell, if only it could talk, we might be surprised
at some of the stories.
During the French and Indian War, troops widened the road to provide passage for
wagon trains. In 1792 the Pennsylvania Legislature established the Philadelphia
and Lancaster Turnpike Road Company. It became the first long-distance paved road.
By 1794 the Lancaster Turnpike went from Philadelphia to Lancaster and was opened
to traffic at a rate of a penny a mile. If you have German, Irish, or Scottish heritage,
there is a good chance they traveled this road and may have left some genealogy
ancestry clues along the way. After it was completed, the charter was extended to
build westward to Pittsburgh. Today, it links Lancaster to Philadelphia at 34th
Street, stretching sixty-two miles. The route is designated as PA 462 to US 30.
Great Valley Road also known as the Great Wagon Road
Travelers in the early 1700’s were mainly German, and Scot-Irish. By 1750,
wagons and stagecoaches were operating on the road. Settlers traveled the Road from
Philadelphia to Virginia following the Yadkin River and became a feeder into the
Wilderness Road; the general route today is Interstate 81 or U.S. Highway 11.
This military road was famous for Washington’s first battlefield in 1754
and where Braddock’s army had an encampment, leaving behind some important
history. Today, highway 40 follows nearly the same route from Cumberland, MD to
Pittsburgh, PA and follows the Potomac River to the Monongahela River.
Fall Line Road
Many pioneers who traveled between Fredericksburg, VA and Augusta, GA followed
the Fall Line up to the Federal Road. There were 4 main paths comprising the route.
Today, the route passes through Highway 1 and I-95.
Carolina Road also known as the Upper Road
Running along the Potomac River connecting North and South Carolina was this 65
mile route no more than 10 feet wide. Originally it was an Indian hunting path and
later became more traveled as it developed into a trading route during the 1700’s.
It was an alternative to the Fall Line Road and King’s Highway.
Follow genealogy ancestry clues through the Indian trails from Nashville, Tennessee
to Natchez, Mississippi along the Mississippi River. The Indians used this trail
for hunting. They allowed post riders through, but it was a path notorious for robbers,
murderers, and slave stealers. The 500 mile route became a road in 1806 commissioned
under the government.
North Eastern Roads Plotted on Maps with Counties may help you with your Genealogy
We have taken the above roads and plotted them on the various states with their
existing counties for the year of 1750 and 1800 to help with your early ancestry
research. If you have ancestors that were in this part of the country during that
time, you can see where your relatives possibly traveled giving a better insight
to how they migrated from one area to another, which can help you discover new ancestry
clues. To view a map for a specific trail, click on the road name under our links
(on the right). Good luck with tracing your genealogy and ancestry with old migration