The tag wiki for says

Migration to Michigan has principally been internal after people entered the USA through one of the ocean ports.

Is that true? I think the wiki should provide proof for such a claim.

  • Is there a need for facts such as these in the tag wiki (especially for topics such as Michigan) where better information can be found elsewhere? I read the tag wiki excerpts to gain context about what a tag might mean, and would imagine a tag excerpt for Michigan wouldn't have much more in it other than clarifying points that the tag is referring to the state of Michigan in the USA. The overarching question about migration to Michigan may be a good fit for an actual GFH question (or History.SE). /2c. – fbrereto Dec 19 '12 at 4:00

If you doubt a statement in the wiki (and can refute it) then edit what is there now. That is the nature of a wiki.

In this case, it appears that a statement such as "X was the main port of entry to Michigan for migrants from outside the USA in the years M-N" would resolve the issue (or at least challenge the source of the original assertion).


It doesn't seem an unreasonable claim, given that Michigan is on the Great Lakes and I don't believe there was an immigration processing station there.

  • A good rule of thumb might not be whether the claim is claim, but whether it is "common knowledge." At least in terms of my own family research, I find the claim fails to recognize migration from Canada, for example. – GeneJ Dec 18 '12 at 20:39
  • P.S. (a) "U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services" (USCIS) has a field office in Detroit, which would be lower Michigan. egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/… also – GeneJ Dec 18 '12 at 20:45
  • P.S. Continued (b) (b) The St. Lawrence Seaway extends 2500 miles; it "permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior." (Wikipedia, Saint Lawrence Seaway). See also, "World Port Service," for a listing of the different ports on the various waterways. worldportsource.com/waterways/systems/… – GeneJ Dec 18 '12 at 20:45
  • @GeneJ, I know about the St. Lawrence seaway and did enough research to understand that the opening of the Erie canal was one of the catalysts for an increase in immigration to Michigan. I don't think that in the 19th century, most immigrant ships from Europe to the US would have taken that route. – user104 Dec 18 '12 at 20:47

I was born and raised in the Midwestern United States; have several sets of immigrating ancestors who came in the second half of the 19th century.

I don't think the line about Michigan migration adds anything to the tag description; it may detract.

As for my Irish and Norwegians who came to the Midwest in the 19th century, I don't presume they arrived at a US coastal port. Several of those families or their related families either went through the port at Quebec or first immigrated to Canada, only to immigrate to the US still later (Michigan--mostly Detroit or Saginaw). Ha! One of them immigrated to the US, but still later immigrated to Canada.

You guys decide, but consider that Michigan is a border state. Ask yourself if the other information adds anything meaningful to the Wiki tag description.

  • 2
    I'll bow to your local knowledge, especially as I can't find anything online (that I trust) that provides definitive information about migration to Michigan. However, I do think the tag wiki should provide information specifically useful to genealogists and family history researchers (maybe not in the excerpt), and migration patterns if known for a particular location might fit under that heading. Ditto historical boundary changes. – user104 Dec 19 '12 at 8:49

Since this is a discussion, some additional information. This from Dr. Marlou Schrover, Universiteit Leiden.

The Migration to North America

http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/history/migration/chapter52.html Quotes that follow are in the order discovered and not intented to be in a meaningful order:

In one century (1820-1924), 7 Million people went to Canada. 6 million of them moved on to United States later.

Most of the population of Canada before 1945 originally came either from England or France (Quebec: 25% French).

35 - 40 Million Europeans went to the United States between 1820 and 1924. The bulk of the movement occurred after 1875.

Many of the immigrants - some 12 million - landed at Ellis Island in New York Harbour for immigration inspection.

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