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Seeking Freedom In The Wilderness

For some, it wasn’t enough to migrate to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia during the 1740 decade. Although the region beckoned with frontier wilderness, the ever-presence of higher authority meant stipulations and setbacks to a magnitude of people. Many family historians reveal the revolving pattern proving temporary residence in Virginia before moving deeper into North Carolina. In fact, studies prove that an overwhelming amount of individuals can trace their lineage through North Carolina during the 18th-century. You may be one of them. The entitlement of landowners was not the only reason these groups decided to migrate elsewhere. Separate social, economic, and prosperity components connect, forming one common element, the resounding word of freedom. It’s up to the individual researching the material to determine which prevalent factors played a role in their ancestor’s lives.

Identifying the elements is not easily achieved from one household to another. That’s not to say the task is impossible. Although the difficulty is dominantly present, the mission is worthy and achievable. Look for aspects pertaining to religion, social status, and wealth. Each of these helps to identify the characteristics of your ancestor. Essential points are origins, dialects, customs, and heritage. Eliminating a small detail could result in failing to diagnose the complete analysis explaining why this or that happened in a certain way.

Religion plays a vital role in social status during the 18th-century. The 1740 decade was exceptionally dominant with traveling preachers, reverends, and missionaries. Many churches of this period portray a strict list of morals and behaviors specifically constructed for prestige and integrity with honored principles. The emphasis placed on these morals resulted in consistent failure, leading to frustration and resentment for many families. Often these individuals were questioned, ridiculed, and eventually become outcast members of the church and, at times, their community. You will find many of these former church members separating themselves from the denomination completely. Filter through the immediate local religious history of your ancestor’s home, and you may discover that religion played a significant role in your family migration patterns.

Dialect reveals much more than typical day-to-day conversations. For many, the verbal accent quickly becomes a character flaw among the social elites who deem themselves worthy of high social status. The colonial period holds the quick assumption of judgment upon others, just as all past and present time periods prove. Personal opinions are just as prevalent in the colonial period as they are today. Language exposes other unique qualities such as education, intelligence, mental stability, and respect. Vocabulary and facial expressions can make or break the deal concerning colonial personal goals. One can quickly think of their immigrant ancestors from distant lands striving to survive and prosper in the British colonies. From ongoing communications, other traits soon appear. Personal attire, clothing, meal preparations, farming techniques, building constructions all play a role in character identification and colonial status. Without naming the different origins of immigrants arriving at the colonies, anyone researching family history can obtain a remarkable sense of understanding and how these unique differences carried over and affected our ancestor’s colonial life.

A family historian discovers through research how traditions change from one generation to the next. This practice is commonplace as each future generation determines the importance of a specific traditional quality and acts upon that decision. Surname spellings and variations are perfect examples of these decisive choices. Migrating to new lands may have resulted due to changes within these family traditions. Your family research may prove this.

Economic status plays a crucial role in colonial migrating decisions. Moving a family hundreds of miles is not an easy task during the 18th-century and required much thought and planning. The word vacation does not come to mind at all for these trips. It was a life-changing experience, and our ancestors remembered the details of these miles for the remainder of their lives. People of all ages embarked on a journey filled with poor roads and many other hardships. What thoughts and actions led these families away from their current home and venture to new lands? All of these people link to two common threads. The deciding factor tends to develop around land and freedom.

During the 1740 decade in North Carolina, one would experience fewer higher authority regulations versus other northern and middle colonies. Lower taxes means higher profits for the families. Separated settlements mean fewer religious authorities allowing freedom of religion for each family. The explanation proves why so many immigrant families left the colonies like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and others to settle on North Carolina lands. An opportunity for land, freedom, and a chance to make North Carolina the best colony among them all. Of course, history would change that last goal. Due to the overwhelming amount of people who migrated to the British colony, North Carolina’s history forever changed. The American Revolutionary War was able to succeed with triumph due to the response and actions of these early patriot families. It seems that these families did indeed reach their goal and found freedom in the wilderness after all.

Keep an open mind when conducting your research. Think outside of the box when you are attempting to find unknown records. Study your ancestor as well as possible, taking all of the clues and hints and analyzing each one carefully. Have a great 4th of July weekend. Enjoy Your Journey To The Past.

1 reply »

  1. Enjoyed reading this blog post. One branch of my ancestors migrated to North Carolina (Rowan County) in the 1750s from New Jersey before eventually moving on to Kentucky in the early 1800s. They were members of what was called the Jersey Settlement, a group of people mainly from the Hopewell Township area who were forced by the royal governor of New Jersey to pay twice for land they’d purchased; they contested the decree in a case that went to the New Jersey Supreme Court but they lost and ultimately decided to leave. Agree that it’s important to keep an open mind and cast a wide net in researching our ancestors — I never imagined part of my family had New Jersey ties before finding this story!

    Liked by 1 person

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