Posted in Maps, Migration trails, Research tips

Migration maps for Western States: How did your ancestor end up Out West?

How did your ancestors end up Out West?  Click on these links to  access maps for Western States migration trails, early railroads, and rivers from On Granny’s Trail.

Maps of Western States Migration Routes


Posted in Maps, Migration trails, National atlases, Pioneer Overland Travel, Railroad maps, Websites

Tracks West: Railroad and migration maps for you

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 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”

Posted in Genealogy Toolkit, Railroad maps

Genealogy Toolkit: Were they workin’ on the railroad?

One of the great 19th century developments in the United States was the railroad industry.  When the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads joined at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869 and thus made the transcontinental railway a reality, it was a monumental day in the nation’s history.

Alfred A. Hart stereoview #359 detail, “The Monarch from the East.”
showing the U.S. 21st Infantry Band in front of UPRR Locomotive #119.
Promontory Summit, UT, May 10, 1869. Courtesy National Park Service.

You may have had an ancestor who was employed by a railroad.  If so, you will want to locate employee records, which can be a good source of genealogical information.  Here is a good link to locating railroad employee records on the Genealogy Today website.

It has articles and links to employee records for various railroads, links to related organizations, and additional resources.

I also came across a helpful link on the that is “A Study of Railway Transportation—For Primary and Intermediate Grades” by the Association of American Railroads, 1942. It has photos and articles about various aspects of the railroad industry.  Where else could you find a swell picture like this one of a conductor and engineer comparing watches?


Even if you don’t have an ancestor who was employed by a railroad, you will want to learn about the railways that would have impacted their lives.  The Library of Congress Railroad Maps Collection, 1828-1900 is searchable by keyword, geographic location, and railroad line, among other things.

Enjoy some train sounds while you look for your railroading ancestors, courtesy of the Catskill Archive.  Click on the numbers below:

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