Understanding Chain Migration

Understanding Chain Migration

Immigration is a hot topic these days, and a lot of people are using the phrase "chain migration". What exactly does that mean? We're here to explain.

Genealogists have long used the term “chain migration” to describe the pattern by which our immigrant ancestors followed their family and friends across the ocean, settling together in the United States. Passenger lists from the early 1900s make it easy to spot this common pattern. They name the traveler’s closest relative still in his place of origin, the person who paid his passage (in an effort to prevent contract labor), and the person he was going to meet in the United States. Immigration officials also would often note when a male relative claimed an unaccompanied female passenger at the port of arrival.

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To learn more about chain migration and genealogy in the news, check out our A Time for Resistance: Chatting with Jennifer Mendelsohn article.

From the May/June 2018 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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