Sunday, December 9, 2012

Geography- What does it tell you about your family?

Understanding the history of a area while our ancestors live there is important in shedding light on the history of our families. Not doing our history research will prevent us from properly understanding our families lives. When researching ones families a thorough study should be done on the effect history both local and national plays on the decisions our families made in there lives. Despite what we think the events that were occurring around our ancestors effected the decisions that they were making just like they do our lives. Changes in geography played a important part in the migration patterns of our families. In the early stages of US history civilization clung to the coast line of the Atlantic. It was unusual for families to move into the wilderness areas around them due to the Indians and the limitations of the land. It would not be until the 1700's that people would start venturing away from the coast. Pressures from poor land and the common practice of passing the wealth to the first born played a major part in migration. The influx of immigrants started to put pressure on the lands limited resources and forced people to venture into the interior. After the Revolutionary War time period people started to look westward for new land. Early roads of travel were only wide spots in the wilderness. Travel was made difficult due to the unimproved nature of the trails. Migrating to the Ohio country from the East coast would take weeks. Travel was dangerous from the harsh conditions, wild animals and the fear of the native tribes. Water travel became the most common way for people to travel and helped ease the way. People would travel in groups to allow for a sense of security against the unknown that surrounded them on every side. With the opening of the Erie Canal in the 1820's now families could travel from the New England region to points west in day's as compared to weeks. Travel was eased so that more people would start their move. Identifying all the way stops for your family as they moved west will become more clear when you look at the primary routes that people traveled into the region your family would finally settle. Study your history. It will pay dividends on understanding why your family was making the decisions that they made. Identify the influences that may have effected your family. You will be glad you did.
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