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Migrations characterize the animal species since the dawn of time. People have migrated for political and religious reasons, but primarily in the search for good fortune and a better life. Very often, these reasons combine. Some migrations were natural and conflict-less, others were done by design and through struggle. The latter is usually called 'colonization'.

This project offers a framework for mapping global migrations - specifically in colonial times. By and large, this covers the colonization period between 1600-1800. The philosophy behind this project is driven by a genealogical concern.

  • Before 1600, sources are hard to come by. The Ecumenical Council of Trent (concluded in 1563) established that, amongst others, the christian churches had to keep records of birth, marriage and death. About fifty years later, this principle was generalized throughout the christian world. As a result, a genealogist can find and analyze christian church records to try and reconstruct family lines. Given that, at that time, most migratory flows emanated from Europe - this is the right timeframe to start with.
  • After 1800, under the influence of France which was - for a brief time - the major powerbroker in Europe, the principle of civil records kept by government institutions was established. From a genealogical perspective, the post-1800 period is relatively 'simple' to track.

Hence, this project aims to deliver a framework for tracking ancestral lines that are complicated by the intense migrations between 1600-1800, across the world. In essence, it seeks to identify...

  • sources about emigration from colonial powers
  • sources about immigration into colonized territories
  • sources about ships and passenger lists

This project, and its related subprojects, are about 'connecting the dots' between families that stayed home and families that developed in all parts of the world. The fact that this endeavour is very Europe-centric is unavoidable, given that European powers were the dominant colonizers in the 1600-1800 timeframe.

The end result of this project is the development of related projects that focus on specific parts of the world, where settlers developed communities, where communities became towns and cities, and where new independent states developed and became part of our modern history.