Early American Roads and Trails
by Beverly Whitaker, MA

I am a professional genealogist and author, located in Kansas City, Missouri.
I am keenly interested in the influence geography has had on both history and genealogy.

Genealogy + History + Geography = Enriched Heritage


This web site was awarded the seal in the History category.

Link to the other 100 sites, listed in 13 categories:



Take note! Description:

American Migration Trail Facts Sheets

[Based on the preview paragraphs on this web page, but greatly expanded and improved.]

2 pages for each of 18 Early American Migration Roads and Trails

Each set, produced in PDF Format, has 5 sections:

Traffic, Features, Timeline, Route, Map sketch

At the end of each Trail Summary below, a link has been added to the related PDF document.

All 18 links also appear at:

where they are grouped in chronological order.



Because we live in the area where major trails to the Far West began, I became fascinated with the subject of early American trails and roads. Moreover, my genealogical studies and research have shown me how important it is to try to determine the migration trails of our ancestors. That's what led to this RoadTrails site! Recognizing that there is great interest in lesser known trails, I urge you to participate in an exchange of information with your local historical societies and reference facilities at your local libraries.

This chart provides links to my descriptive "preview" paragraphs on this page
for many of the major early American trails and roads.

Boston Post Road

Federal Road

Mormon Trail

Pennsylvania Road

Wilderness Road

Braddock's Road

Great Valley Road

National Road

Santa Fe Trail

Zane's Trace

California Trail

King's Highway

Natchez Trace

Trail of Tears

Chicago & State Roads

Fall Line Road

Mohawk Trail

Oregon Trail

Upper Road


How these ROUTES can help determine where ancestors came from

Look at several contributing factors:
1. By what date did your ancestors appear in the location where records of the family have been found; compare to each road's timeline.
2. What towns did each road pass through, and do you find your ancestral surname in any of those locations at the right time period? Check against census and other records.
3. Remember that migrations sometimes occurred over many years, with people stopping and then moving along again. Pay attention to any recorded birth places of family members and again compare to the towns along the roads.
4. Look at the history of the areas to see what events might have led to migration.
5. Consider the traffic on each road. Was it military, commercial, postal, exploratory, or was its heaviest use by families on the move?
6. Read historic accounts of the early settlement of an area. Often they tell the origins of early arrivals.
7. Know that people often traveled with their neighbors or relatives, and that you will find the same surnames along a migration path.


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Therefore, if you include any portions of the information from this site in your own compiled genealogy or history sketches, cite this reference:

Early American Roads and Trails
, Beverly Whitaker, Kansas City, Missouri, Copyright 2002.
online <>

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Map Sketch and Route
A crude riding trail was created in 1673 to carry mail from New York to Boston. It became known as the Boston Post Road. The first postrider's round trip, a journey of over 250 miles, took four weeks, following the Upper Northern Route. The Middle Route was a bit shorter, the Southern Route a bit longer. All went from Boston to New York City. The first stagecoach in service (1772) made the trip in just one week. During the Revolutionary War, the King's Highway (which included the Boston Post Road) became the mustering point for several of the Revolutionary War battles, including the final battle at Yorktown. The Post Roads were used for maneuvering soldiers and equipment. Stagecoach service and the mail took second place. Following the War, the Post Roads became important links between the states of the new nation and sections were improved.
Download free PDF Document--The Boston Post Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route
The predecessor of this military road was called Nemaolin's Path, named for the Delaware Indian who assisted Colonel Thomas Cresap in blazing a path from Cumberland, Maryland to a trading post of the Ohio Company of Virginia at present-day Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Soon after Virginia's governor sent Major George Washington in that direction to expel the French from British territory. To accommodate his supply wagons, it was necessary to widen the trail, and that portion became known as Washington's Road. Washington went with Britain's Major General Edward Braddock during the French and Indian War. A company of 600 soldiers set out from Ft. Cumberland to widen Washington's old road through Maryland, past the ruins of Fort Necessity on into western Pennsylvania, moving toward the French stronghold at the Forks of the Ohio, site of present-day Pittsburgh. Braddock's road was the first road to cross overland through the Appalachian Mountains. He insisted that the road be 12 feet wide so that horse-drawn wagons could travel on it to haul the necessary supplies for his advancing army. As the years advanced, Braddock's Road became impassable. Pioneers who trekked into western Pennsylvania usually preferred to depend on packhorse trails, traveling in caravans. When construction began on the new Cumberland Road, it roughly followed this old road. The Cumberland Road and its extension West became known as the National Road and now U.S. Highway 40.
Download free PDF Document--Braddock's Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Following the discovery of gold in California, President James Polk's Message to Congress on December 5, 1848, set off a raging epidemic of gold fever. 40,000 gold seekers came to California by sea. An almost equal number came overland on the California-Oregon Trail, making the 2000-mile journey by covered wagon, horseback, or on foot. Around 10,000 came by the Santa Fe Trail into southern California. The most frequently traveled overland route to the gold fields was the one that followed the Oregon Trail from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, and from there down the California Trail to Sutter's Fort. St. Joseph, Independence, Council Bluffs, and other frontier towns were jumping-off points to start this main trail overland to California. The trail coincided with the Oregon Trail until it crossed the Rockies. Then, some went north of the Great Salt Lake, others south, before coming together at the Humboldt River. Gold-seekers heading for California included city people who were inexperienced with outdoor life. Many were without experience at handling mules or oxen; they couldn't fix wagons; they didn't know how to hunt. They didn't anticipate the dangers of the trail and relied too heavily on guidebooks which were frequently misleading. Those who failed to join companies with experienced outsdoorsmen ran great risk of being stranded or lost in the wilderness. Nevertheless, many preferred to travel on their own. Some rode horses or mules, used ox-drawn wagons, or walked.
Download free PDF Document--The California Trail.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route
In the early 1800s, the military saw the Great Sauk Trail might be the best route between Detroit and Fort Dearborn (Chicago). The 1821 Chicago Treaty with the Indians stipulated that the United States had the privilege of making and using a road through Indian country from Detroit to Chicago. 3000 Indians were present at this conference when the Potawatomies ceded away all of the land in southwestern Michigan east of the St. Joseph River. The Chicago Road became one of the great routes for pioneers coming west. By the 1830s, pioneer families by the thousands were moving over this road in their wagons each year. The State Road took travelers on from Chicago to present-day Rockford and Galena. Chicago’s strategic position at the nearly southernmost end of Lake Michigan made it the natural hub at which rail lines moving outward from the East should meet those already serving the West. As early as 1848, the first westward-moving locomotive chugged out of Chicago on rails which would eventually reach Galena and thereby end the glorious wagoning days on the State Road.

Download free PDF Document--The Chicago Road and the State Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Fall Line Road ran parallel to and between the King's Highway and the Upper Road. The road broke off from the King's Highway at the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. By 1735, it carried traffic into the interior of Virginia and the Carolina and across into Georgia. The road followed the fall line, a geographical feature caused by erosion, a separation line stretching from Maryland all the way to Georgia, running between the river tidelands and inland elevations on the Atlantic coast--it defines an east and west division between the upper and lower elevations. Persons traveling from Pennsylvania to Maryland to the inland areas of Carolina before 1750 probably followed this road because it was an easier road to travel than the Piedmont road (called the Upper Road). The road was of particular importance to the Carolinas because it connected them to their neighbors. North Carolina's local laws called for building roads only "to the nearest landing," which created a haphazard system of major roadways which led only to water routes. The result had been that although the major towns in North Carolina soon had roads, they didn't lead to each other! The road saw heavy use during the Civil War and afterwards, and was gradually improved.
Download free PDF Document--The Fall Line Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route
The Federal Road began in 1806 as a postal road. The Creeks by that time had given permission for the development of a horse path through their nation, its purpose being a more efficient mail delivery between Washington City and New Orleans. Although the Mississippi Territory was created in 1798, only a handful of pioneers settled there before 1810. Migration into the territory was slow in part due to the presence of the powerful Creek and Cherokee tribes in western Georgia and the Choctaw and Chickasaw in Alabama and Mississippi.
In 1811, when conflicts with the French had reached a point where it seemed necessary to be able to move troops and supplies quickly across the Mississippi Territory, the Federal Road was widened and improved for that purpose. This led to the Creek Indian War of 1813-14 and then to the removal of the Indians to the West. By 1820, two hundred and thirty thousand immigrants, both black and white, were living in Alabama and Mississippi, raising cotton or erecting stores, warehouses, and homes. Some of these settlers had come by boat, but most had made the tedious trip over the Federal Road. The major arteries of the East and North had connections that led to the newly acquired lands. Traders and light travelers from the North came down the Upper Road through the Piedmont into Georgia, then traveled over the postal horse path which had opened in 1806, through Athens, Watkinsville, and High Shoals, to meet the Federal Road at Columbus, Georgia. Many others used the somewhat easier Fall Line Road and then met the Federal Road, traveling through Augusta, Warrenton, Sparta, Milledgeville, and Macon before reaching Columbus. Crossing on through Alabama, the Federal Road ended at a crossroads known as St. Stephens.
Download free PDF Document--The Federal Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Hordes of early German and Scotch-Irish settlers used what became known as the Great Wagon Road to move from Pennsylvania southward through the Shenandoah Valley through Virginia and the Carolinas to Georgia, a distance of about 800 miles. Beginning first as a buffalo trail, a great Indian Road (the Great Warrior Path) ran north and south through the Shenandoah Valley, extending from New York to the Carolinas. The mountain ranges to the West of the Valley are the Alleghenies, and the ones to the east constitute the Blue Ridge chain. The Second Treaty of Albany (1722) guaranteed use of the valley trail to the Indians. At Salisbury, North Carolina, the Great Warrior Path was joined by the Indian's "Great Trading Path." By the early 1740s, a road beginning in Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as the Lancaster Pike) connected the Pennsylvania communities of Lancaster, York, and Gettysburg. The road then continued on to Chambersburg and Greencastle and southward to Winchester. In 1744, the Indians agreed to relinquish the Valley route. Both German and Scotch-Irish immigrants had already been following the route into Virginia and on to South Carolina, and Georgia. After 1750 the Piedmont areas of North Carolina and Georgia attracted new settlers. From Winchester to Roanoke the Great Wagon Road and the Great Valley Road were the same road, but at Roanoke, the Wagon Road went through the Staunton Gap and on south to North Carolina and beyond whereas the Valley Pike continued southwest to the Long Island of the Holston, now Kingsport. The Boone Trail from the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin joined the road at the Long Island of the Holston.
Download free PDF Document--The Great Valley Road

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route
Boston to Charleston on the King's Highway was about 1300 miles. It was possible to travel this road by wagon, averaging about 20-25 miles per day. A traveler making the entire journey would have taken at least two months. Conestoga freight wagons, drawn by four to six strudy horses, were especially designed for mud with iron-rimmed wheels nearly a foot wide. The road's origins are traced to the old Delaware Indian trail (across Jersey) which Peter Stuyvesant used to force out the Swedes in 1651. Then in 1673, in response to King Charles' wish that communication be established between his colonies, the first crude riding trail was created for mail service between Boston and New York. Named the "Boston Post Road," it eventually expanded into "the King's Highway." By 1750, a continuous road existed for stagecoach or wagon traffic from Boston to Charleston, linking all thirteen colonies, but the road was a difficult one to travel. During the Revolutionary War, the King's Highway as a link between the colonies helped them to coordinate their war efforts. However, the name was looked upon with such disfavor by American patriots that many began once again to use the name "Boston Post Road."
Download free PDF Document--The King's Highway.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

The Mohawk Trail of New York, also known as the Iroquois Trail, extended from Albany west to the eastern end of Lake Erie, where Buffalo is now located. This was the most northerly route through the Appalachian Mountains, leading from New York's Hudson Valley along the Mohawk River on to the Great Lakes. It was used heavily by New York's early emigrants and was much involved with the state's early history. Today's maps show the travel route as the New York Thruway (I-90) from Albany west. From about 1680 the French-Iroquois Country was a major stronghold. A wagon trail reached from Albany to Lake Erie after the French and Indian War and became a part of the route followed by Loyalists into Upper Canada, later to become Ontario. The Mohawk Turnpike opened as far as Utica by 1793. In the 1820s this route became that of the Erie Canal, and in 1845 it became the route of the New York Central Railroad.
Download free PDF Document--The Mohawk (Iroquois) Trail.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Mormon Trail stretched nearly 1,400 miles across prairies, sagebrush flats, and steep mountains. Each had its challenges for the early wagon trains and the later handcarts. The Mormon Trail originated in Nauvoo, Illinois, and extended westward to Utah where they established Salt Lake City. In 1845, to allay violence and night-riding, Brigham Young and the Twelve agreed to leave Illinois "as soon as grass grows and water runs." From Nauvoo, the Saints crossed Iowa. Their first real way-station was at Garden Grove, where 170 men cleared 715 acres in three weeks, for the purpose of providing shelter for those coming behind. In 1846, they crossed the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, setting up Winter Quarters on Indian lands, at what is now an Omaha suburb. While 3,483 Saints waited there for spring, more than 600 perished. As spring 1847 approached, approximately 10,000 Mormons were encamped along the trail in Iowa and at Winter Quarters. Brigham Young and the Council of the Twelve organized the Pioneer Company to go ahead to mark the trail and lay the cornerstone of the new Zion. The first group of Mormons passed through Echo Canyon, over Big Mountain and Little Mountain and down Emigration Canyon, coming into full view of the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. During the period from 1846 to 1869, about 60,000 Mormon pioneers crossed the prairies. They came from existing American states and also from many European countries.
Download free PDF Document--The Mormon Trail.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Natchez Trace has a colorful history. By 1785, there were traders from the Ohio River Valley (called "Kaintucks") arriving in Natchez with flatboats and rafts filled with products and crops. But of course it wasn't possible to return upriver against the currents. Instead, they would walk or ride horses northward on the Trace to their homes. Often they were attacked and robbed of the riches so recently gained. The Trace gained the nickname "Devil's Backbone." You might be able to locate the book which relates to that name. It is by Jonathan Daniels, "The Devil's Backbone, the Story of the Natchez Trace." The U.S. never owned the public lands of Tennessee through which about 100 miles of the Trace ran. In Alabama, it went only 40 miles, touching only two counties. 300 miles of it lay in Mississippi. The coming of steamboat traffic spelled the end of the dominance of the Natchez Trace. Andrew Jackson made a lot of trips up and down the Trace. In 1813 when he walked it with his army, he acquired the name "Old Hickory" because his volunteers considered him as tough as the hickory trees around them. Another significant name connected to the Trace is that of Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The question still lingers--was his death on the Trace suicide or murder?
Download free PDF Document--The Natchez Trace.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

National Road was originally called the Cumberland Road because it started in Cumberland, Maryland. By 1825, it was referred to as the National Road because of its federal funding. The enabling act for admission of Ohio to the Union in 1803 contained provisions for construction of a road linking the East and West. Congress then passed "An Act to Regulate the Laying Out and Making a Road from Cumberland, in the State of Maryland, to the State of Ohio." In 1811, contracts were signed for construction of the first ten miles west of Cumberland. The road reached Wheeling in 1818. It entered Columbus in 1833, and Congress made its last appropriation for the road in 1838. During the 1830s, Congress had begun to turn the road over to the states for administration and maintenance. Construction was suspended in the early 1840s because of lack of congressional appropriations. Indiana completed its intrastate segment in 1850. The road then continued on to Vandalia, Illinois, but it did not continue on to Jefferson City, Missouri, as had been planned, the idea being that the road was to go through state capitals as it moved westward. The old National Road became part of U.S. 40 in 1926.
Download free PDF Document--The National Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Oregon Trail extended from the Missouri River to the Willamette River. It was used by nearly 400,000 people. The trail's starting points were Independence, Westport, St. Joseph, and Ft. Leavenworth. Alternate routes included Sublette's Cutoff and the Lander Cutoff. After 1846, there was also a choice at The Dalles between rafting down the Columbia River or taking the new Barlow Road across the Cascades. Each part of the journey had its set of unique difficulties. During the first third of the journey, emigrants got used to the routine and work of travel. Approaching the steep ascent to the Continental Divide, water, fuel, grass for the livestock, fresh meat, and food staples became scarce. The final third was the most difficult part of the trail. The major fears of the pioneers following the trail were Indians, disease, and the weather.
Download free PDF Document--The Oregon Trail.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

Great Conestoga Road, completed in 1741, and the later Lancaster Pike (opened in 1794) went from Philadelphia to Lancaster. After the Lancaster Pike was completed, the Pennsylvania Legislature granted charters to extend it westward to Pittsburgh, following closely the route of the Forbes Road. Faced with the need to build a road to move troops during the French and Indian War, General Forbes' troops constructed a road from Harrisburg to Ft. Duquesne which he renamed Fort Pitt, after his commanding general. Today, we know it as Pittsburgh. Years later, the Pennsylvania Legislature granted charters that extended the Lancaster Pike on westward to Pittsburgh, subsidizing this "Pennsylvania Road" by subscribing to stock in some of the companies. Migration moved westward through Fort Pitt as settlers trekked from eastern Pennsylvania and New England west to new lands and opportunities. The river-canal system which opened in 1834 between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh reduced traffic on Pennsylvania's turnpike. Heavy freight traffic diverted to the canals although stagecoach lines continued to prosper.
Download free PDF Document--The Pennsylvania Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

This trail from Missouri to Santa Fe was the oldest and the first over which wagons were used in the westward expansion beyond the Mississippi River. It was primarily a commerical route, carrying a stream of merchants' wagons until it was replaced ty the coming of the railroad in 1880. In 1821 a mule pack train had left from Franklin, Missouri, to travel to Santa Fe on what is later known at the Mountain Route. The next year's expedition avoided the mountains, leaving the Arkansas River and heading across the arid plains for the Cimarron River; this route became known as the Cimarron cutoff. During the early years of commerce, much of the route was within Mexican territory. Not until 1848 when the Mexican War ended was the entire trail officially within American territory.
Download free PDF Document--The Santa Fe Trail.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Four trails were used to move the Cherokee Indians to Indian Territory in 1838-39---- nuna hi duna hili hi----"The place where the people cried" or The Trail of Tears:
1. The Northern Land Route (used by 12 detachments) ran from Southeastern Tennessee across parts of Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas.
2. The Water Route (three detachments) went downstream on the Tennessee River to the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and upstream on the Arkansas River to Indian Territory.
3. The Bell Route (one detachment) ran from near Chattanooga due west, crossing the Mississippi River near Memphis, to Little Rock and up the North bank of the Arkansas River to Ft Gibson, Indian Territory.
4. The Benge Route (one detachment) began in Ft Payne, Alabama, crossed the Tennessee River twice before passing through the extreme southeastern part of Kentucky. It crossed the Mississippi River well below the mouth of the Ohio River and continued west until it intersected the "Old Spanish Road' or the "Old Southwest Trail" (either name is the old road which ran from St Louis to Texas). It continued in a southwesterly direction into Arkansas (with some exceptions) until it intersected the "Old Military Road" or the "Old Jacksonport Road." This road was then followed to Fayetteville where they continued in a westerly direction to Indian Territory.

[Link to a set of supplementary pages for a more detailed analysis of the various routes of the Trail of Tears, prepared by Bill Woodiel, past Vice President of the Arkansas Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Trail of Tears Association.]

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route
The Upper Road branched off from the King's Highway at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and went southwest through Hillsboro, Salisbury, and Charlotte in North Carolina, then on to Spartanburg and Greenville in South Carolina. The road generally followed the old Occaneechee Path which went from Bermuda Hundred on the James River, and Old Fort Henry (now Petersburg) southwest to the Indian trading town of the Occaneechi which existed by 1675 on an island in the Roanoke River at about the location of today's Clarksville, Virginia, close to the present Virginia and North Carolina state line. From that location the trading trail went both north and south. The Trading Path divided at the Trading Ford of the Yadkin River, one branch turning toward Charlotte, the other through Salisbury to Island Ford on the Catawba, to the north of present Lake Norman. DeSoto and his cavaliers were perhaps the first white men to use portions of the great Occaneechi Path (1540). Some of the people associated with Fort Henry were Col. Abraham Wood, Thomas Batts, Robert Fallam, James Needham, Gabriel Arthur, and John Lederer. From 1700-1750, active trading was carried on by white emigrants with Indian villages. After 1740, the proprietary governor of the Granville District began to issue grants to Quakers and others from the tidewater counties of North Carolina and Virginia, attracting them into the northern half of North Carolina. By 1750, the Upper Road became an important wagon route for southbound migrations into that portion of North Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, the road was used extensively for troop movements in the South--relating to the battles at Guilford Courthouse, King's Mountain, and Cowpens.
Download free PDF Document--The Upper Road

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

The road through the Cumberland Gap was not officially named "the Wilderness Road" until 1796 when it was widened enough to allow Conestoga Wagons to travel on it. However, by the time Kentucky had become a state (1792), estimates are that 70,000 settlers had poured into the area through the Cumberland Gap, following this route. The Cumberland Gap was first called Cave Gap by the man who discovered it in 1750--Dr. Thomas Walker. Daniel Boone, whose name is always associated with the Gap, reached it in 1769, passing through it into the Blue Grass region, a hunting ground of Indian tribes. He returned in 1775 with about 30 woodsmen with rifles and axes to mark out a road through the Cumberland Gap, hired for the job by the Transylvania Company. Boone's men completed the blazing of this first trail through the Cumberland Mountains that same year, and established Boonesborough on the Kentucky River. The Wilderness Road connected to the Great Valley Road which came through the Shenandoah Valley from Pennsylvania. Some suggest the origin of the Wilderness Road was at Fort Chiswell (Ft. Chissel) on the Great Valley Road where roads converged from Philadelphia and Richmond. Others claimed the beginning of the road to be at Sapling Grove (today's Bristol, VA) which lay at the extreme southern end of the Great Valley Road since it was at that point that the road narrowed, forcing travelers to abandon their wagons.
Download free PDF Document--The Wilderness Road.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Map Sketch and Route

In 1796 Colonel Ebenezer Zane petitioned Congress to authorize him to build a road from Wheeling to Limestone (Maysville). Congress awarded him a contract to complete a path between Wheeling and Limestone by January 1, 1797. The contract required him to operate ferries across three rivers as soon as the path opened. His only compensation was to be three 640-acre tracts, one at each river crossing, to be surveyed at his own expense. Zane rounded up equipment and a crew of workmen; with axes, they cut trees and blazed a trail. At first, Zane's Trace was merely a narrow dark path through the forest, between a wall of ancient trees. Only horsemen could travel over it. For many years, it was not wide enough for wagons. In 1804 the Legislature appropriated about fifteen dollars a mile to make a new twenty-foot road over Zane's route. But by modern standards, it was still a poor road because they left tree stumps whenever they were under one foot high. The Trace was used by hundreds of flatboatmen returning on foot or horseback to Pittsburgh and upriver towns from downriver ports as far away as New Orleans. The road also became the mail route from Wheeling to Maysville, and eventually it went on to Lexington and Nashville.
Download free PDF Document--Zane's Trace.

Description: to List of Roads and Trails


Another one of my sites relating to migration patterns in America:

RIVERS and WATERWAYS . . . pathways to migration, commerce, and entertainment


~ If you need additional information ~
The subject American Migration Patterns and Routes goes way beyond the information I have chosen to share with you in my web sites and fact sheets. I am not prepared to tell you the routes your ancestors may have used as they relocated through the generations. My expertise does not extend to specific stops along these or nearby roads and trails. I do encourage you to investigate the possibilities by noting the dates of special events in your family history and by comparing the locations of those events to the routes of the old roads and trails. I'll be happy to read your comments by e-mail, but I do not have the time to answer questions or do any research for you. Instead, I make these suggestions to you:

1.     Using a family group sheet and an outline map of the United States, place circles on the locations of births, marriages, deaths, deeds, wills, etc. Connect the circles with a line.

2.     Contact your regional historical societies, library reference and/or local history department, or area genealogical societies. Resources (including maps and county histories etc.) are most likely to be located at such locations.

3.     Download and study a 2-page PDF file about any of the 18 roads or trails introduced at this web site.
Links for these free fact sheets are shown with the brief summaries at this site but they are grouped chronolocially at:

4.     Visit my Bibliography List for recommended reading.
In the section labeled "Migration Trails," I have highlighted favorite books in my own library.

5.     Follow the web links listed at another of my sites: American Migration Patterns.

6.     Use Internet Search Engines such as Google, typing in two or three keywords related to your search. Example: "The National Road" + migration


~ Let me also recommend an excellent web site ~ Historic American Roads and Migration Routes
I learned of this site in February 2008 through correspondence with its compiler. With much excitement, we have been exchanging material and opinions about the routes of ancestral migration in America. He and a relative are constantly adding to this website. So be sure to bookmark it and return often.


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