Migration As A Genealogical Tool

Had a question come up today about a US Southern Family living in Mississippi, “When and from where did my family come from when first arriving in America?” WikiTree G2G

The pattern of Immigration to the North American Continent in the early days of colonization was to the absolute East Coast. From Nova Scotia to Saint Augustine to New Orleans. When our ancestors arrived they settled pretty close to the coast. It was the safest place because there were few other colonists and staying together was the obvious thing to do for safety.

As populations grew, the oldest son(s) would inherit the land and the younger children would migrate to other areas. From the north to the south and west. In what is now Canada settlers followed the St. Lawrence River inland. As each of the major canals were constructed easier travel afforded more opportunity to the west. In the US the old Indian trails heading south and west were followed and land opened up. Covered Wagons and then the Rail systems, criss-crossing the continent opened even wider expanses of land for migrants to settle.

In my own Gaulden (Gaulding, Goulding, Gauldin) family we started in VA (one theory is that my Gaulden’s started in England traveled to Bermuda, went through Eleuthra, Bahama, to Massachusetts then to Virginia). From Virginia we traveled through NC for a bit, then on to Sumter, South Carolina. The John Gaulden Family of Sumter, SC, had it’s younger Children migrate to York County, SC, to Georgia, and even to Western MS/Eastern LA.

My Templeton family arrived from Ireland, landed in Charleston and settled in Laurens County, SC. From South Carolina, portions of the family migrated to Indiana. When more land opened up to the west they moved on westward. The Templeton DNA Study and One Name Study has worked to identify far flung family groups by migration patterns. We can infer which of the 8 Templeton gateway Ancestors someone is from and identify new people to add to the Templeton Gene Pool with DNA testing.TempletonDNAchart

The Hunt line started out in Bedford County, Virginia. Thomas Hunt had 14 children who migrated to all parts of the continent. My particular Hunt, Esli, Sr., moved with a couple of brothers to Western North Carolina (the State Of Franklin now Tennessee).  Then, after traveling around SC during the revolution took his land grant on what was to be the line between Greenville and Pickens Counties, SC. From there Esli Sr.’s family spread out over Cherokee lands and westward.

The Dillard’s migrated with other family groups from Virgina to Western NC, then on to Rabun County, Georgia. The Lords started in Connecticut and ended up in Jackson County, Georgia. The McElmoyle’s are a bit harder to trace to one individual, but different groups of McElmoyle’s landed in Charleston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York (straight to Ontario for some) and Boston and spread from those locations to points south and west.

Knowing that Upstate South Carolina was a resort destination for those to escape the coastal heat and malaria for cool summers in the mountains, helps to understand why some Charleston families have deep ties to Greenville, SC. There is even a Charletson McElmoyle family who are split between a cemetery in Clemson, SC and a cemetery in Charleston (with tombstones in both) because of the civil war.

So ask your local historical society where the people came from and why they settled your area of the world. You may find a veritable road-map to your ancestors origins.


Esli Hunt – The Impetus To My Search

I sometimes think I was born into Genealogy. Was my grandmother standing at the end of the birthing table waiting to catch me and swaddle me in some heirloom quilt? No, but she might as well have been.

Growing up I spent and incredible amount of time at my grandparents home. It was the place we went on the weekends and sometimes during the week or maybe just for a visit. Once I got a drivers license I burned-up the road between my city and their town. All of my grandparents lived in the same small town so one trip always included them all.

As a Child, my grandmothers would often tell me about my family. Who we were, where we came from and how our family came to be. MaMa (my maternal grandmother) would sit with a scrapbook she had made showing all sorts of pictures from her family, the Dillard’s and the Lords, and tell stories about Uncle Bede (pronounced beedy) or Uncle Albert who was the “sheriff”. Uncle Albert’s sweat stained hat hung on the wall rack in their Den. Other items were carefully placed through-out the house. MaMa would often say this person or that person was related through this person or that person and I could never keep up with it all.

As a teen I was given some unpublished papers by a Hunt cousin. I scanned them, as teens do – I kept them – but I never really did anything more than look at them occasionally thinking osmosis would occur and my ability to recall and recite our family lines would miraculously be like my grandmothers ability.

The information in the papers was typed, sourced, had transcribed records and a beautiful, meticulously drawn Family Tree leading back to my…

Relationship Trail:

1. Mags is the daughter of [private mother] proven with DNADNA confirmed 2. [Private] is the daughter of Thomas Cleland Hunt
3. Cleland is the son of Bert Eugene Hunt
4. Bert is the son of Harvey Clay H. Hunt
5. Clay is the son of John Wesley Hunt
6. John Wesley is the son of John Hunt
7. John is the son of Esli Hunt
fifth great grandfather Esli Hunt, Sr., b. February 10, 1759 in Bedford County Virginia. He was one of 14 children born to Englishman Thomas and (no origination known for her) Anne Hunt. Big Families were a big deal then. Every family needed a large brood to help on the farm, or the shop or whatever business kept the family afloat.

Elsi himself had 18 children, 16 of whom survived birth. All those kids made that beautifully and meticulously drawn tree even more stunning to me. I spent years looking at it, enjoying it, before I asked the cousin who had given it to me, who had done it.

Long after my mother had died, long after the years of looking at that tree the answer was…”You don’t know who did the tree? It was your mother.” My search began with Esli’s family tree. I have Genealogy in my DNA alright.