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The word outmigrant is of fairly recent origin (1940-45) referring to one who is "going out" or leaving from one region or part of a country to live or work in another, as compared to emigrant, which refers to one who is leaving one country to make his or her home in another, or an inmigrant who is "going out," rather than coming in. While the terms sound similar and it may be a bit confusing, there are useful distinctions to be made. A lot depends on your point of view.

Take for example when a steel mill closes (or another industry) that is predominant in a town, the mass exodus of people "going out" in search of work can leave be devastating for a town, and it has happened, many times. Likewise, during the Depression Era in the U.S., men rode the rails in search of work. often leaving families to get by the best they could. And we've all been to or heard romantic stories of Boom towns that have gone bust when the boom was over, leaving nothing but a ghost town. It is these stories researchers can capture in interviewing relatives and researching local area histories, old newspapers and the like. All people, in all ages exist within an historical context that, understood, can tell us much about our ancestors. In addition, movement can indicate records scattered along the trail, and often such migration trails have been well defined, coming in and going out.

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