Migration, immigration or emigration, what do you want to know about your family? Though family wanderings may appear haphazard, a purpose or decision is hidden within every move. Together, the move and the purpose create a great story. First the family historian needs to learn a few basic terms. Migration means moving from place to place. Immigration reveals the new home or the move from the homeland to the new country. Emigration reveals the origin or the homeland. John Schuler (1815-1875) provides an appealing case study. My example, John Schuler emigrated from Endingen, Germany in June 1833. John immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland between July and September 1833. In 1838, John married Anna VonGunten in Wood County, Ohio. He migrated to Lockport, Illinois about 1840. About 1854, John left Lockport, continued west and ended in Sacramento, California in 1872. What caused him to leave his wife and six children? Was it financial? He provided a home for his family. His descendants live on the same land purchased from the Illinois and Michigan Canal Association. He and his wife attended Christmas church services in 1852. Did he send money home?
In order to follow the trails, the family historian must study history, migration routes, geography and the push and pull factors. The push and pull factors provide the motivation or incentives. The push circumstances encourage the people to leave an area; the pull attracts the people to a new location. David J. Sautter researched extensively the families that left Endingen for America. According to David’s research, the population of the small agricultural village reached 699 inhabitants by December 1834. Had living conditions become so crowded that Johann George and Agnes Schuler felt their future and that of their children would be brighter in America? They were one of the first to leave…” Johann Georg Schuler and his wife, Agnes Zimmermann, left sometime in June of 1833 with their five children. Johannes Schuler, the eldest child, was 19. David J. Sautter’s research is available on Family Search.org.
Sources for general knowledge include:
- Smith, Juliana Szucs. “Coming to America: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors.” September 1, 2010. Ancestry online classes (video). [http://www.ancestry.com/cs/us/videos]
- Family Search.org – research the Wiki by place or topic. [https://familysearch.org].
- Place Name Maps – ideal for cities that have changed names or are no longer in existence [http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/index.html]
- The National Map: Historical Topographic Map Collection – study the land for rivers and contours [http://www.usgs.gov/]
- Surname distribution maps show graphical locations where surnames occurred at different periods in time [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Surname_Distribution_Maps]
- The Ships List offers fleet lists, passenger lists, ship arrivals, marriages at sea, famine emigrants, ship wrecks, events of 1862, diaries and journals and immigration reports [http://www.theshipslist.com/index.html]
Hints for a specific family or person’s migration pattern may be found in the census, draft or military records, pension records, family lore, vital records, newspaper clippings, intent for naturalization and naturalization. For John Schuler, David J. Sautter’s research offers the place of birth and emigration date. The Baltimore, Maryland ship manifest provides the immigration date and port. A digital image of the Wood County, Ohio marriages provides John and Anna’s marriage place and date in 1838. The U.S. census for 1850 places the family in Lockport, Will County, Illinois. A newspaper announcement places John in Sacramento, California in 1872. Cemetery records for the Lockport City Cemetery return John to Lockport, Illinois. He was buried on August 25, 1875. His personal records are on my SchulerKampe Family Tree on Ancestry.com. John Schuler provides an interesting case study; more family stories will follow.
Questions or comments? Please contact Selma Blackmon, thank you