Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
Migration as applied to the human population, is the act of moving from one country or region to another and implies movement on a large scale. Migrations can be forced or voluntary and can be driven by a number of reasons, including economic factors, war, discrimination, religious freedom, and greater opportunity. Migration is common and has occurred throughout history. In modern times, we see migrations forced by war and natural disaster, as well as the seasonal migration of people seeking warmer climates in winter. People leaving a country or region are known as emigrants; whereas people entering a country or region are known as immigrants.
Migrations are significant in genealogy. Tracking the movement of a family from one location to another, suggests places to look for records. Births, marriage, and deaths occur along the migratory path, and some members of a family may stay in a given location, while others move on. The reasons behind a migration are also significant. Studying the history of a region is one way to understand forces that may have affected your ancestors such as the potato famine in Ireland or the boll weevil in Texas. Studying the historical context and patterns of movement within an area may help you locate an elusive ancestor.