I like to collect maps to help in my research and often create maps to suit my needs. Today I am posting a few maps that help in my understanding of migration into the western states. Every western states researcher should have a sound understanding of migration routes, railroads, and rivers that affected the movement of emigrants and influenced settling patterns. You can create your own maps using templates found at www.nationalatlas.gov by looking under “printable maps”.
Here is a map I marked with the major overland migration routes west, with key cities or forts that were either stopping points or final destinations. Continue reading “Tracks West: Railroad and migration maps for you”
So your ancestors ended up Out West? How did they get there?
Chances are good they came via the Great Platte River Road—the name for the pioneer trail that followed the Platte River. It was actually known by many different names, depending on where an emigrant “jumped on” or “jumped off.”
The Great Platte River Road, by Merrill J. Mattes (Lincoln, Nebr. : University of Nebraska Press, 1987) covers the section of the trail from Fort Kearny (near present-day Kearney, Nebraska) to Fort Laramie (near present-day Laramie, Wyoming).
According to the preface, “It is distilled from the firsthand impressions of several hundred covered wagon emigrants, representing both sexes and all degrees of human latitude, who somehow contrived to leave something for the historical record. It is the story of their unique collective Platte River experience as it emerges from their own unvarnished journals.”
The book is worth it for the detailed maps alone, but the narrative is very informative, as well. The Great Platte River Road—it was just about everybody’s Granny’s Trail!