Transportation is an essential part of genealogy. Understanding how people traveled explains patterns in familial migration and enables researchers to differentiate between individuals with the same names (a challenge for many new genealogists). Present maps are misleading when it comes to envisioning our ancestors’ movement because most of our present means of transportation did not exist in colonial times.
Transportation can be divided into two categories—land and water. In early American history, the geography of an area determined how people traveled. The people who are the subject of this site lived in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina—regions defined by their rivers and creeks. People in these areas, both natives and newcomers, were forced by nature to travel on water as frequently as land.
Due to numerous inland waterways to the east (e.g., Albemarle Sound and Pamlico Sound), many of the major roads that were constructed from Virginia to North Carolina (e.g., the King’s Highway) were to the west of where these people lived. Road construction was largely dependent upon ferries to transport laborers so the two forms of travel developed in unison.
The purpose of this page is to explore transportation within the unique perspective of near coastal southern Virginians and northern North Carolinians and to enrich the geographical context surrounding records. I have started a summary table (which will expand over time) and a collection of outstanding migration and transportation sites.