Discovering when Ancestors First Came to America
Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
|Jeannette Austin||Jun 4, 2019|
There are a number of published books concerning the names of immigrants. The resources begin ca 1606. However, a knowledge of the history of immigrants helps. Essentially, America starting receiving a large influx of people from Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland and the German Palatines. As early as 1710, about 3,000 German Palatines were transported in ten ships to New York and assigned to work camps along the Hudson River to work off their passage. Experts have surmised that more Germans came to America than other groups. Probably the earliest Scottish settlement was about the same time in North Carolina along the Great Dismal Swamp. These people were the poor from Europe. The idea is to zero in on the port where they landed. There were trends to be considered. For example, many Germans and Scots came to Philadelphia and from there traveled the Wilderness Road across North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky, then further West. Other groups of Scots and Scotch-Irish landed in other Eastern ports, and traveled westward to Virginia and North Carolina as well as southward through the Carolina's and Georgia. It is not a bad idea to acquire a list of possible- immigrant-ancestors from the passenger lists and other early records. Then, trace where they went. For example, the Adventures of Purse and Person lists people who were transported to America by someone else, a patron who paid their passage. These people were usually persons who indentured themselves into service for some number of years for the cost of passage. The indentured servant served, say 7 years, and was located on the estate of the patron. Later, when service ended, he got 50 acres of land and began his own fortune. For this reason, it is important to search the county records where the patron settled. If you use this same method of every person (your surname) who is found in the early records, you will eventually frame an early history of each family and understand which person is your immigrant ancestor, or how you are related.
Latest additions to Georgia Pioneers:
Westmoreland County, Virginia Wills 1692 to 1804