Friday, April 23, 2010

Migration to the Northwest: The Early Years

While much is said of Westward migration and travel along the Oregon Trail, there's also an interesting story at the "end of the line," settlement of the Pacific Northwest. In his article, "Migration to the Northwest: The Early Years," Alan Smith examines the slow settlement and diverse forces behind the eventual, mass migration. The story of the Pacific Northwest, its dash and daring is played out vividly in my own family, with a Swedish immigrant making his way across the land to settle, first in Seattle, then after heartbreak and hardship, following the gold rush and starting a new life along the upper Yukon River. Its the stuff of Jack London and Robert Service, in real life. As with all pioneer history, the stories are colorful nigh unto unbelievable, but true. And that is one of the driving forces behind our passion for genealogy.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pacific Northwest Genealogy

In his article, "Pacific Northwest Genealogy," Alan Smith provides a brief introduction to the research of ancestors in the Pacific Northwest, with a primary focus on Washington and Oregon. The Pacific Northwest region, bounded on the West by the Pacific Ocean, actually covers a much larger area, including the Canadian province of British Columbia, southwestern Alaska, Idaho, western Montana, and northern California. The main point made in the article is the recent history of American settlement, "The family researcher does not have to begin tramping through Northwest records until after 1841, when Americans, who were now part of a sixty-five year-old nation first began trickling into the area." Of course, indigenous peoples occupied the land almost since time immemorial, with European explorations dating back to the late 1700s, and early missionary movements of the early 1800s, all influencing the great Westward Migrations to come.

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