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Migration Within a Country

Trying to trace an ancestor who migrates within a country can often be challenge. Unlike ancestors who emigrate across an ocean, there are multiple routes that an ancestor can take when migrating within a single country or region.

To understand the complexities of migration within a country, watch the amazing video produced by Bengler, a Norwegian company that specializes in building social websites. It visually traces the migration patterns of every Norwegian who moved within the country during 2006 and 2007.

Several lessons can be drawn from this video that are useful for people tracing their ancestors:

• People tend to migrate from the country to the city.

• People living in cities tend to migrate to other cities.

• Older people (over 60 years old) tend to migrate shorter distances than younger people.

• Richer people tend to live in larger cities.

Here are a few other clues that can be used to trace an ancestor who migrated within a country:

• People of working age often migrate for work. Find out what your ancestor did and it can provide clues as to where they migrated. For example, farmers tend to migrate to where farmland is cheaper/better; watchmakers tend to migrate to cities where watches are made; people in construction trades tend to migrate towards areas of new construction.

• People of retirement age tend to migrate to be closer to family members (typically daughters) or to locations with more favourable weather.

• Wars can be a major source of migration. Before a war begins, people tend to migrate to regions to avoid the war. Once a war begins, people tend to migrate out of regions that have been devastated by the war.

• Famine or drought can also be a major source of migration. People tend migrate to regions away from the drought that already contain family or friends.

• People will migrate to regions more tolerant of their religious practices.

Further Reading

Why Immigrants Change their Name

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