European Colonization of America is Still Evident Today

North American detail map of Flickr and Twitter locationsWhat can you do after you have run out of ideas about where to look for the important documents of an ancestor? One potential solution is to figure out where in the United States the person lived. Or, if you happen to know that ancestor’s heritage, there may be another option.

The Washington Post has created a very detailed map of the United States. It shows which ancestries make up the largest population in each of the country’s 3,144 counties. It’s is worth taking a look at to get the full picture. (Note, the image you see in this blog is not the map from the Washington Post).

It turns out that the European colonization of America is still evident today. You can still see evidence of where the people who came from different countries settled in the United States today. People arrived and settled into areas where there already were people who came from their country.

In general, people have a tendency to want to stay close to where their relatives live. This was especially true in the past when moving far away from your family could realistically mean that you would never see those relatives ever again. Today, in the “internet age”, that is starting to change. We can “see” our families virtually, through a computer screen, no matter where on earth they are.

Does your family have Irish heritage? According to the Washington Post, people of Irish ancestry make up the largest contingent of countries in Massachusetts, in parts of Rhode Island, southern New Hampshire, and eastern New York. Genealogists might be able to find vital records of Irish ancestors by doing research in places like Boston, for example.

Does your family have African American heritage? Today, many rural Southern counties are places where African Americans make up dominate slices of the population. The reason for this goes back to America’s tragic history with slavery.

Does your family have Finnish heritage? You might want to look for vital documents in some parts of North Carolina. That’s where the people who came from the United States from Finland settled. Does your family have French heritage? You might find documents in courthouses located in southern Louisiana or on America’s northern border with Quebec.

The state of Hawaii has counties that are unique from each other in terms of heritage. Kauai and Maui are plurality Filipino. Kalawao County has a majority of people who are native Hawaiian. Honolulu has a majority of people who have Japanese ancestry.

Image by Eric Fischer on Flickr.

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