As I write this post, one of my best friends is packing up her house so that she can move this week to be closer to her family. This made me start to think about the sometimes (surprisingly) transitory nature of our ancestors. My friend and her husband moved away from family to come here because of his job. Now they are returning. How often did my ancestors move for a job or to find work, only to return “home” months or years later?
I didn’t have to look too hard in my tree to find some of those ancestors. My own father moved around often as a member of the military. My grandfather was guilty of doing that too, but what about those back a little further, when we don’t think of transportation and moving as being that “easy” or “simple”?
For example, I have a great-great aunt, Eliza Richardson Sellers Draney, who was born in 1843 in Harrison County, Indiana, and moved with her parents and siblings to Warren County, Illinois before 1855. In 1862 she married Thomas Sellers in Knox County, Illinois. After his death (or their divorce-records are conflicting) sometime before 1870, she was back in Warren County. Then in 1882, she married John B. Draney in Warren County, and lived there after his death in 1893. By 1910, she was living in Clearfield, Taylor County, Iowa. As of 1919, she had moved further west from Iowa about halfway across Nebraska, to North Platte. At the time of her death in 1922, she was living in Kansas City, Missouri. Her final journey was to come home to be buried in Alexis, Illinois.
I can’t begin to imagine what the trip for the family was like from Indiana to Illinois in that time period. I have not done enough research on their possible route to know if they travelled by train, wagon, possibly via water. I would guess that her move to Clearfield was probably done by train, as was the rest of her moving around, but I don’t know.