American Migration Routes: Part 1: Indian Paths, Post Roads & Wagon Roads by William Dollarhide: Book Review

One of my favorite genealogy reference books is Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Dollarhide and William Thorndale.

Apparently, back in 1997, William Dollarhide also published Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1735-1815, which is still available online for $20+ and shipping costs. However, the 1997 book is only 50 pages long.

American Migration Routes: Part 1: Indian Paths, Post Roads & Wagon Roads, published in April 2022, is more than twice the length of the previous book (139 pages) and I’ve read that this edition is meant to replace the earlier book, NOT supplement it.


William Dollarhide’s Preface explains the difference between the 1997 and 2022 versions:

1. All the maps from the first book were redrawn and updated.
2. Dozens of new maps were added.
3. The new book has links to 160 map-related websites.
4. The 1997 book covered only from 1735-1815, while the 2022 book covers 1630-1869.

This new 2022 book is divided into seven chapters:

1. Indian Paths to Post Roads ((1630-1669)
2. The King’s Highway (1680-1765)
3. Scots-Irish Wagon Roads ((1720-1750)
4. Trans-Appalachian Trails & Roads (1755-1796)
5. Roads to the Ohio Country (1787-1818)
6. Roads of the Old Southwest (1806-1832)
7. Western Migration Routes (1821-1869)

The Table of Contents is so incredibly detailed that I’ve scanned the two pages, rather than having tried to retype it all:

As you can see this is a map lovers paradise for anyone interested in learning more about the migratory routes taken by our ancestors as they moved westward from the East Coast.

Dollarhide has also provided not only a Historical Timeline, but also a Bibliography and Study Guide, covering the first 15 pages of the book, complete with many website links and other resources.

A Table of Migration Routes, with additional Itinerary/Notes/Online References and website links (including references to Google maps) is twelve pages in length.

The bulk portion of the book consists of maps, with a few photo illustrations and modern trip directions for those who would like to walk, or in modern times, drive in the footsteps of their ancestors.

The book closes with two appendices – 1860s Travel Times on the Routes to San Francisco CA and The Trail of Tears: The Routes of the Five Civilized Tribes.

This is a fabulous reference book for anyone wanting to learn more about where and how our ancestors traveled as they migrated across the United States.

Because it is a book of maps, and some maps will be much more pertinent to each reader than others, it’s not the kind of book that one would sit and read from cover to cover, although it certainly could be read that way.

I’ll be using it to investigate how my New England ancestors moved around and how my husband’s ancestors (who were much more mobile than mine) moved from place to place.

My only criticism of this book, and it’s not really a criticism since an e-book might be in the works, is that, right now, only hard copies can be purchased. Personally, I prefer to hold a book in my hands. However, given all the website links cited in the book – some of which are lengthy urls – it would definitely be handy to have the ebook and just click on the links.

American Migration Routes: Part 1: Indian Paths, Post Roads & Wagon Roads by William Dollarhide was published in April 2022 by Leland Meitzler’s Family Roots Publishing. It can be ordered on Amazon for $39.96 plus $4.49 shipping. I didn’t find any discount codes, even through Prime. However, the book was shipped promptly and arrived at my house in 6 days.

This isn’t an inexpensive book, by any means, but it’s informative, well done, presented in an orderly fashion and packed with information.




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