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train

Not too long ago, I read a Facebook status (and I’m sorry but I don’t remember who it was) that mentioned their ancestors had traveled less than 50 miles over several generations. The revelation prompted me to think about how many miles my ancestors traveled before landing at the place they called home until they died.

Instead of going back many, many generations, I will begin with my maternal 2nd great-grandparents.

emanuelstern_nancy

Emanuel Bushong Stern b. 7 Oct 1834 in Montgomery county, Ohio. Nancy Caylor b. 10 May 1840 in Wayne county, Indiana.  Emanuel had traveled approximately 105 miles from his birthplace in Ohio. Nancy had traveled about 68 miles from her birthplace. The family remained in Hamilton county. After my 2nd great-grandparents divorced, Emanuel traveled to Yale, Nebraska to visit one of their children and was found living there in the 1910 census. He traveled (probably by train) about 787 miles.  Nancy died (21 Dec 1900) in the same county that she had lived with her husband. Emanuel was buried (after 10 Sep 1911)  in Hamilton county so he (or his remains) had to travel back from 787 miles to Hamilton county, Indiana.

isrealwilt

Israel Isaac Wilt b. 20 Jan 1823 in Rockingham county, Virginia was in Prairie township, Henry county, Indiana by the time of his marriage to Christena Nash on 2 Feb 1857. He had traveled about 503 miles traveling through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Christena was b. 1837 in (probably) Beaver county, Pennsylvania. She had traveled with her family 316 miles.  They lived in Henry county the rest of their lives. Israel died 11 Sep 1919 and Chrstena died 18 Aug 1876.

joewiltfamily

The Stern’s daughter, Martha Jane Stern, b. 9 Feb 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton county, Indiana married Joseph Napolean Wilt (b. 21 Jan 1868) on 10 Sep 1890 in the same county both were born. By the 1910 census, Martha and Joseph were divorced and she was remarried and living in Anderson, Madison county, Indiana – 29 miles away. By 1923, Martha and her second husband, William Frank Clawson, moved 2,257 miles away to Lane county, Oregon. Both of them died in Oregon and were buried in Leaburg. Joseph Wilt. By 9 Jan 1944, when Joseph died, he was living near Nabb, Indiana – about 102 miles from his birthplace.

My other sets of great-great-grandparents (ancestors of my grandfather) were James Wilson Johnson b. 16 Aug 1829 and Amanda Evaline Mullis b. 1833 and Franklin Blazer b. 2 Jun 1836 and Malissa Goul b. 17 Oct 1832.

James Wilson Johnson, I think

 

James W. Johnson was born in Brown county, Ohio and by the 1850 census, he had moved to 137 miles away to Rush county, Indiana. Amanda was born in Wilkes county, North Carolina and had traveled with her parents and family to Rush county, Indiana – 519 miles. Amanda d. 21 Mar 1868 in Rush county. After her death, James moved around, reportedly through Howard county, Indiana and finally settling in Anderson, Indiana – a little over 40 miles away. 

malissa_blazer

Franklin Blazer was probably born in Madison county, Indiana and stayed in that county until he passed away on 27 Aug 1873. Malissa was born in Union, Champaign county, Ohio and by the time she married Franklin before 1859, she was living in Pendleton, Madison county, Indiana – a little over 125 miles away.

johnson_john_katie

The Johnson’s son, John Lafayette Johnson, and the Blazer’s daughter, Katie J. Blazer married on 4 Jul 1883. John was b. 2 Mar 1861 in Rush county, Indiana. Katie was b. 27 Sep 1864 in Stony Creek, Madison county, Indiana. By the time of their marriage, John was living close to her. They remained in Anderson, Indiana – 40 miles from John’s birth and 9 miles from Katie’s birth until 1930 when they moved to Greene county, Ohio to live with their son (my grandfather). That move took them 109 miles from their home. Following each of their deaths, they were buried back in Anderson, Indiana.

glen_vesta_friends

My grandparents, Glen Roy Johnson b. 21 Nov 1898 and Vesta Christena Wilt b. 7 May 1898, were both born in Indiana. He was born in Anderson, and she was born in Noblesville. When her mother and stepfather moved 29 miles away to Anderson, she was still young.  After they were married on 24 Dec 1916, the couple moved 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio (the town merged with Osborn and became Fairborn many years later). As my grandfather was in the military, he was at Ft. Omaha in Nebraska; Kelly Field in San Antonio, France during WWI; Wiesbaden, Germany during the early 1950s; and by the time they returned to the states and my grandfather retired from the US Air Force, they lived on Devonshire in Dayton, Ohio. So even though they had traveled over 4200 miles and then some, they moved 18 miles away from Fairborn. When I was a baby and small child, they had moved to a home on Rahn Road in Kettering – 14 miles away. Before my grandmother died 19 Jan 1984 they had spent many years living 9 miles away at the Park Layne Apartments at 531 Belmonte Park in Dayton. After my grandmother’s death, my grandfather moved almost 13 miles away to the Trinity Home on Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was there at the time of his death on 18 Jan 1985.

mom

My mom, Mary Helen Johnson, was born in Anderson, Indiana and moved with her parents 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio when she was very young. She remained there until she married my dad in 1943. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (close to 400 miles away) before moving to Great Falls, Montana – about 1300 miles away. My dad was in the military, and they moved to Japan and back twice – over 6500 miles from Columbus, Ohio. In fact my mom drove my brother and sister from Dayton to Washington to catch the ship for Japan the first time they moved to Japan – a trip of over 2300 miles – very lengthy for a young woman with two little kids in 1953. By the time they returned to the states for the final time, they moved to Panama City, Florida – about 780 miles from Dayton. In 1960, they moved back to Ohio and bought a house in Beavercreek. This was the same house my mom lived in until 1977 when she moved a little over 5 miles away to the town home she lived in for the remainder of her life. (My father is still living so I will not disclose all the places he has lived.)

Below is a list of how far my ancestors traveled in order from who lived (and/or) died at a location farthest from their birthplace to the shortest distance:

  • Martha Jane Stern – 2246 miles
  • Amanda Evaline Mullis - 519 miles
  • Israel Isaac Wilt – 503 miles
  • Christena Nash – 316 miles
  • James Wilson Johnson – 190 miles
  • Malissa Goul - 125 miles
  • Glen Roy Johnson - 115 miles
  • Mary Helen Johnson - 115 miles
  • Vesta Christena Wilt - 113 miles
  • Katie J Blazer - 113 miles
  • Emanuel Bushong Stern – about 105 miles
  • Joseph Napolean Wilt – 102 miles
  • John Lafayette Johnson - 95 miles
  • Nancy Caylor – 68 miles
  • Franklin Blazer - less than 5 miles

According to Wikipedia, History of Indiana, the “state’s population grew to exceed one million” by the 1850s, and several of my ancestors had either made their way to Indiana or were born there. My Wilt/Nash great-great-grandparents likely traveled over the National Road in their westward migration from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Indiana. The Mullis family would have likely traveled by wagon through the wilderness to either the Cumberland Gap/Wilderness Road or to the National Road to get to Indiana.

There were probably several reasons for my ancestors to move north and west – better economy, more fertile farming land, more opportunities, and different political and social climates.

Though my maternal roots run deep in Indiana, I am partial to the state of my birth – Ohio. Even then, I didn’t stay there to live, work, marry and raise a family. I moved over 1000 miles away! Just as my ancestors left the places of their birth in search of something better, that is what I did. I moved (and stayed) due to job opportunities and warmer climate.

Have you tracked your ancestors?

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So many times when we locate an ancestor they have migrated from where they were born or married or built a home, to another area possibly a great distance away.  What prompts these moves?  What was it they were searching for or hoping to gain by moving?

There are many web sites dealing in reasons including: California Gold Rush, Oregon Trail, the Dustbowl of the 1930s, the Homestead Act of 1862, immigrating from another country in search of a better life, religious persecution, and more.  Today many people move from one locale to another due to a change in occupaton or a relocation, stationed at different spots due to military service, to get out of small towns or big cities, to go to school, and more. 

I thought I would detail some of my ancestors’ migration patterns.  I don’t have enough proof to document the reasons why they moved – just that they did.

Frederick Goul (5th great-grandfather)
Frederick took his wife, son, and daughter by ship (possibly the “Rawley”) from Frankfort, Germany to America in the mid-1700s.  By the time they reached Philadelphia, his wife and daughter had died. 

Adam Goul (4th great-grandfather)
Adam married Elizabeth Lutz in Pennsylvania and several of their children were born there.  They moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia by 1804 and by 1817 had migrated west to Goshen Twp, Champaign County, Ohio.  Adam and Elizabeth are buried at Treacles Creek Cemetery in Champaign County.

John Goul (3rd great-grandfather)
One of Adam’s and Elizabeth’s sons, born about 1802, in Philadelphia, he was with his parents when they moved to Ohio.  About 1823 he married Martha McManaway.  John and his wife didn’t move from Champaign County.

Malissa Goul (great-great grandmother)
Malissa met Franklin Blazer in Champaign County and they married.  The couple moved west to Madison County, Indiana before 1860 and most of their children were born there.  One son, John, and one daughter, Martha (Mat), remained in the area.  Daughter, Katie, grew up in the County and only moved in 1930 with her husband to live with their son in Greene County, Indiana.  Daughter, Rachel, moved west to Missouri and Kansas.  Son, Wesley, moved to Champaign County, Ohio where he married, brought up children and died.

Glen R. Johnson (maternal grandfather)
My grandfather (son of Katie Blazer and John L. Johnson) was born in Anderson, Indiana and never moved away until he was in training for WWI at Ft. Omaha, Nebraska and then on to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas.  He went to France toward the end of WWI and then returned to his wife, son and home in Anderson.  During his career in the Army Air Corps (later the Air Force), he and his family moved East to Greene County, Ohio.  This is the place they considered home for the remainder of their lives.  Yet they also moved according to the military to Wiesbaden, Germany.  My grandfather also spent some time in Washington D.C., Tullahoma, Tennessee; Finschafen, New Guinea; Orlando, Florida.  Returning to the Dayton area before 1960, he and his wife lived out the remainder of their lives in that area.

Jacob Johnson (3rd great-grandfather)
Jacob was born in New Jersey in 1787.  He moved (probably with his parents and family) by 1816 to the Southeastern section of Ohio in Brown County, Ohio.  His wife’s family (Ann Shields) has also been located in that area.  By 1840 Jacob and family were living in Center Township, Rush County, Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his life.

James Wilson Johnson (great-great grandfather)
He was born in Ohio when his parents, Jacob and Ann, lived in Brown County.  As a child he moved with them to Rush County, Indiana.  In the 1880 Census James and his second wife, Margaret Gordon, are living in Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana.  James spent some time in Michigan in his later years living with each of his daughter’s and their families.  He moved one last time – when he was buried in Little Blue River Cemetery in Rush County, Indiana.

John Mullis and Dolly Stanley (3rd great grandfather and mother)
In-laws of James Wilson Johnson, they moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina before 1838 to Rush County, Indiana.

Perhaps as I continue with my research, I will discover the reason why these people moved from one area (or country) to another.  It has just been quite interesting to see their migration patterns.

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In my earlier post, Where Have You Gone, I listed several cities and states that I’d either visited as a tourist, as passing through or to visit family. Thanks to Where I’ve Been website, you can register (Free) and pinpoint exactly where you’ve been on the map. This would also be good to do for an ancestor you are researching to see the migration.

This is what my map looks like! (obviously it is not showing the map – you’ll need to click on the folder for Ciities and it shows the list). 

http://macdaddy.whereivebeen.com/map.php?uID=6694843&iID=0l81k44fgvj2m9fl1yvsvgbbdmlky5hy

You can generate your own map to embed in your myspace or facebook site.  Good Luck!

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