2013 – Bridging the 1780-1840 Gap: From New England to the Midwest

Coordinator: D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS


  • Debra Mieszala, CG
  • Richard “Rick” G. Sayre, CG, CGL
  • Craig R. Scott, CG
  • Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

2013 July 25 - Bridging the Gap - Josh Taylor and Debbie Mieszala2013 July 25 - Bridging the Gap - Nate Machula and bear

Description: The expansion in America’s territory between 1780 and 1840 resulted in a massive migration from New England and New York into the Midwest. As families moved across New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio they often left a scarcity of records, leaving modern-day genealogists with more than one “brickwall” to solve. This course will explore migration patterns, sources, methodologies, repositories, and other tools to “Bridge the Gap,” when researching during this period. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in group projects to improve their skillset and knowledge.


8:30–9:45 a.m. Historical Overview: 1780-1810 (Taylor)

A detailed overview of the United States between 1780 and 1810, including key political, legal, and other historical events. We will cover events which impacted those living from New England to the Midwest and discuss potential ways in which these events impacted our ancestors.

10:15–11:30 a.m.  Historical Overview: 1810-1840 (Taylor)

A detailed overview of the United States between 1810 and 1840, including key political, legal, and other historical events. We will cover events which impacted those living from New England to the Midwest and discuss potential ways in which these events impacted our ancestors.

1:00–2:15 p.m.   Five Jumpstarts: Compiled Genealogies, Tax, Church Records, Imprints, and Newspapers (Taylor)

A quick review of the key basic resources available for research during this time. This survey will cover records that can be used to “jumpstart” research during this period, including many published and widely available sources.

2:45–4:00 p.m. Clues from the Mid-West (Mieszala)

Getting from New England to the Midwest was an accomplishment. How did they do it? Why did they go? What types of records hold clues on the decisions made to leave old homes and travel to new ones? Learn about helpful resources and methods to find them and the clues they contain.

4:00–4:30 p.m.  Group Project Introduction (optional) 


8:30–9:45 a.m.  New England Catch-Up (Taylor)

Brush-up your research skills for ancestors in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island as we cover basic and advanced record sets for each state key for tracing ancestors who migrated away from New England after the Revolutionary War.

10:15–11:30 a.m.  War of 1812 Records (Scott)
Understanding the war, the organizations and the records created during and after the war are important to research in this period. We will look at the campaigns, the militia, the U.S. Army, compiled military service records, pension records and the dead of the war.

1:00–2:15 p.m. Revolutionary War Resources (Taylor)

Numerous records – both complied and original – exist for tracing those involved with the Revolutionary War. This hour will cover military records, census records, pension records, and other compiled resources for tracing Patriot ancestors.

2:45–4:00 p.m.  Ohio and Pennsylvania Land (Sayre)

Ohio arguably has the most unique and convoluted land history in the United States. The state was the pilot for the development of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). The land was divided into more than twelve surveys or tracts. Having said that, Pennsylvania land history and records may be equally complex. Before the proprietorship of William Penn and his heirs, Sweden, The Netherlands, and England established settlements along the Delaware River. In 1776 the Commonwealth took ownership of all of the unsold land and responsibility for its sale and record keeping. This class will discuss strategies to locate appropriate land records and use them in a genealogical context.

4:00–4:30 p.m.   Group Project Work (Taylor)


8:30–9:45 a.m.  Military Resources: State and Local Archives (Stuart-Warren)

Pension application papers, land grants, dairies, correspondence, claims, ledgers, regimental records, muster rolls and other items often lie untouched in state, county, university, and private archives. These provide insight into the time period, substitutes for lost federal records, and many come from the voices of those who served and their families.

10:15–11:30 a.m.  New York’s Land Companies (Taylor)

New York’s land companies offer a plethora of records for genealogists tracing ancestors in New York. Records of major land companies, including the Holland Land Company, and various patents will be covered.

1:00–2:15 p.m.  Migration from Pennsylvania and Ohio to the West (Mieszala)

Migration from Ohio and Pennsylvania to the West was accomplished one of three main ways: river routes, lake routes, and overland routes. Geography and topography influenced the routes our ancestors took. Learn some of the routes taken and how they apply to your family’s unique story.

2:45–4:00 p.m.  Case Study: Focus on New York (Taylor)

Follow a family from New England to New York as we trace their migration and appearance (or disappearance) in records.

4:00–4:30 p.m.  Group Project Work (Taylor)


8:30–9:45 a.m.  Bounty Land: State and Federal (Scott)

Bounty land would be provided as an incentive for enlistment or reenlistment. It could be provided after the conflict as compensation for serving. Will cover bounty land from the colonial period through 1855 when the last bounty land act was passed.

10:15–11:30 a.m. Manuscript Sources, 1780-1840 (Stuart-Warren)

Repositories across these states and beyond hold manuscripts that tell the story of our families in this era. Among these are records of individuals, churches, schools, and businesses. The records include tax records, records of birth, death, marriage, maps, account books, dairies, personal letters, and the papers of justices of the peace, lawyers, midwives, doctors, and others. Learn what exists and the various methods to locate and access these valuable resources.

1:00–2:15 p.m.  Resources of the DAR: Beyond Revolutionary War Soldiers (Taylor)

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) provide numerous genealogical resources for tracing ancestors across the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Collections at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. will be discussed, as well as resources created by the Genealogical Records Committee and other DAR-led projects.

2:45–4:00 p.m.  Case Study: Focus on Pennsylvania (Taylor)

Following a family through Pennsylvania’s records as we look for clues in land, census, tax, vital, and other records.

4:00–4:30 p.m.  Group Project Work (Taylor)


8:30–9:45 a.m.  Families after Transit: Case Studies in Ohio (Mieszala)

Families during this period were often making homes for themselves in new places. Initially those places often had few systems in place for record-keeping. Case studies of select Ohio families will reveal their origins in other states, and the things that brought them to and sometimes kept them in Ohio.

10:15–11:30 a.m.  Wrap-Up and Group Project Overview (Taylor)

11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.       Institute Wrap-Up and Certificates,  followed by Luncheon