Emigration to North America

What compels someone to leave their home, travel to a port, endure harsh conditions travelling across the Atlantic and make a new life in a strange land? 

Emigration to North America was fuelled by different factors across the centuries. One was either wealthy enough to undertake the journey, the promise of fortune and adventure beckoning, or maybe as a servant of the British crown serving in the Army. Or maybe freedom from political or religious persecution beckoned. Some sold themselves as indentured labour, working in conditions not much better than slavery on plantations (not to be confused with southern plantations) in Virginia for a fixed period of time. Others ended up working in the same conditions as a result of forced transportation, having been found guilty of a crime such as stealing a bolt of cloth, bound to work for seven or fourteen years as punishment.

We have been able to help several clients with their searches for English and Welsh ancestors. It is a time-consuming process, with no guarantee of success. However, it can be rewarding. We have successfully found the Tobias family of Carmarthenshire, for example who emigrated from Swansea in 1821 to New York.