Question of the Week: Which of your ancestors migrated the farthest?

+6 votes

Which of your ancestors migrated the farthest? And how far did they go?

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
reshown by Chris Whitten
Longest distance was from Ireland to Georgia in the late 1700's, so it was certainly no cruise ship journey!

G-G-Grandfather was a merchant seaman in the British Navy, so he accumulated the most miles.
My parents moved 100 km from their parents. That's the longest distance in the directt line of my ancestors I have found.
My great grandfather Michael Mealia joined the 99th Foot in Athlone Ireland in 1840 and by the age of 17 was in Australia.  Whilst serving in the military he went from New South Wales to Victoria to Tasmania  to Norfolk Ireland and also served on the coalfields possibly Newcastle.  He was then pensioned off returned to Ireland and then became a pensioner guard and returned to Western Australia where he married and eventually died in 1902.  My other great grandfather Francis Anderson joined the 18th Foot in Mayo, Ireland around the same time and served in China during the Opium wars, Burma and India before returning to Ireland where he married and also came to Western Australia in 1863 with his wife and two children where he died in 1867 from diseases sustained in the jungles. All this on sailing ships and on foot.  I am not sure of the distance covered but it was certainly huge in each case.  My grandmother Lillian Hughes came from Millom in Cumberland to Queensland in the 1889 as a 17 year old alone married and then on to Western Australia travelling hundreds of kilometres in W.A. before she passed in 1958.  Her husband  James Richardsonborn in Wales in 1857 travelled with family all over England and then immmigrated to Queensland  in 1885 and then on to W. A. in 1900 before dying in 1921.  All done by sailing ship and on foot in the main.
Josiah Oakley from England to Australia in 1836
I have a Ancestor who was on the Mayflower ship in 1620.  Came from England to Plymouth Rock,  Mass.  I traced backwards to his Father then I found his Grandfather, which  goes back to the 1500's in England.

26 Answers

+14 votes
Well all of my Paternal ancestors travelled from Scotland and England to New Zealand so they all travelled around the same distance!!  LOL
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (791k points)
With me, it was maternal ancestors, though my dad, who was a Scot, lived the furtherest north so may be the “winner”.
+7 votes

Probably Württemberg Germany to New Orleans, United States (point of entry but they didn't rest long there). That's 8190 km on a jet, Google tells me, but much of that way for the ancestor was on a three masted square-rigged ship being tossed around by winds while trying to avoid a sea war or probably a few more kilometers than that. Then another 1500 km or so on a steamboat up the (pre-engineered) Mississippi river.

And this was before Dramamine.

by W Counsil G2G6 Mach 2 (22.6k points)
+8 votes
My French, maternal great-grandfather left Brittany, France as skipper on a merchant ship.  He sailed to South America as far as Tierra de Fuego, and then sailed up the Pacific to San Francisco, California.  Later he sailed down the Pacific Coast to Guaymas, Sonora where he stayed forever.
by Mary Woodul G2G3 (3.6k points)
+9 votes
Well, he didn't settle there, but during WW2 my grandfather was in the military in Papua New Guinea, which is a ways from Smith county, Mississippi where he was born.
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (159k points)
+10 votes
One of my ancestors came from Germany to Virginia in 1717. That is 4409 nautical miles. Not a fun trip in the 1700's I am sure.

Another ancestor sailed from Liverpool, England to New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1840's. 5473 nautical miles.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
+7 votes
Hmm... Either from Germany to North Carolina (Peter Koop) or Scotland to Virginia (a Reid ancestor whose name I’m to lazy to look up!).
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+8 votes
My Mum travelled from France to England - 344 km

England to Adelaide, South Australia- 16,259 km

So total 16,603 km
by Marion Poole G2G6 Pilot (865k points)
+6 votes
That would probably be my 3rd great-grandmother Honora O'Flaherty Dillon and great-great-grandfather David Dillon, who went from Ireland (possibly by way of Liverpool; I haven't been able to find them on a ship manifest) to New Orleans and thence to Louisville, Kentucky, for a total of about 5000 miles (around 4400 miles over water as the crow flies; 6000 miles, by the sailing route, and about 620 miles over land). I have numerous other ancestors who migrated a distance of around 4000 miles, from England to Maryland/Virginia/Pennsylvania.
by C Handy G2G6 Mach 8 (85.9k points)
+6 votes
My father. 445 miles! How boring is that?
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (235k points)
But a very important 445 miles, who knows what you might have missed if he hadn’t!
+8 votes

My great grandmother Annie Grace Blewett was born in Singapore in 1875. My great grandfather Henry Osmund Rowe travelled out to East Asia from London in the late 1880s and dabbled in coffee and rubber and all sorts of other industries (though failing to make a fortune and apparently losing more money than he made), and while he was doing that they met and married. My grandfather Stanley Ernest Rowe was born in Borneo in 1899 and at the age of about three made the 7200 mile (11,600 km)  journey back to England in what he described as a 'tramp steamer' where he apparently entertained the other passengers by being lifted up onto the table to sing sentimental songs for their pleasure. He went on to be a chorister at Westminster Cathedral in London, so perhaps singing for 7200 odd miles was good training!

Stanley Ernest Rowe

by Sally Douglas G2G6 Mach 3 (32.8k points)
+8 votes
My Irish ancestors who sailed from County Kerry to the USA in the late 1850's, then sailed from the USA to Australia in1863.
by Steve Archuleta G2G5 (5.4k points)
+9 votes
One of my great grandmother's used up my allowance of sea travel - her first trip was from Gloucestershire to Canterbury New Zealand. Six years later and married she took her first born back to Gloucestershire, obviously to show the parents, stayed for three months (which was the turn around time for the ship) and travelled back to New Zealand and her husband. All of this under sail - and she travelled steerage on all three trips. All this sea travel was very healthy - she lived into her 90's.
by Jean Price G2G6 Mach 2 (29.5k points)
+8 votes

my Grandfathers grandfather born in 

Belleville, what is now know as Ontario Canada, died Growlers Creek, Victoria, Australia 16,323 km as the crow flies or 10142 miles

Growlers Creek, Alpine Shire, Victoria, Australia

by Anonymous Anonymous G2G6 Mach 3 (31.9k points)
+8 votes
My mother had sailed around the world before she reached her seventh birthday. My grandparents, from Worcester, Massachusetts, lived for many years at Ilo Ilo on the Island of Panay in the Philippine Islands, where they were Baptist missionaries.
by Stu Bloom G2G6 Mach 4 (42k points)
+7 votes
It was actually my mother, who moved from Maikuduk (Karaganda) in Kazakhstan to Dannenberg in Germany - 5.062km by car (although she took the plane lol).

But what's probably even more fascinating to me is that a lot of my ancestors on my dad's side moved from Sarreguemines (now France) to Sowetskoje near Saratov in Russia in the 1760s.They first went to northern Germany and then sailed to St. Petersburg and went on from there. My ancestors on both sides have always migrated a lot.
by Evelina Staub G2G6 Mach 1 (13.1k points)
+7 votes
I have my Great Grandfather who traveled from St Petersburg, Russia to Timaru, New Zealand via England to Wellington, NZ then to Lyttelton, NZ and finally to Timaru, South Canterbury, New Zealand.
by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (137k points)
+6 votes
It was probably the great-grand who reinvented himself along the way.  Sweden to Queensland, Australia.

I'm pretty sure the mileage for him was greater than that for even the most far north of my Scots .. and it beats my 9500 or so miles.

(Edited to remove a great .. his dad didn't emigrate, only he did!)
by Melanie Paul G2G6 Pilot (244k points)
Ancestors migrated from Britain and Ireland to Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Father’s side were shipwrights, naval architects, lighthouse keepers, merchant navy and Royal Navy (of Britain and Sweden). Charles Chapman was a Captain in the Swedish East India Company in the 1700s; he sailed regularly to the Far East where he purchased fine wares  for his younger brother, the naval architect and mathematician Fredrik Henrik af Chapman. Their father Thomas Chapman was a lieutenant in the fleet that captured Gibraltar, and their mother Susanna was the daughter of London shipwright William Colson. The Chapmans originated in a village near Whitby.

George Tobin, RN, a kinsman of Lady Nelson, sailed with Bligh, Flinders and Alexander Cochrane (uncle of ‘Master and Commander’ inspiration Thomas Cochrane) before captaining his own ships and rising to Rear-Admiral of the White. He carried soldiers to the Peninsular War for the Duke of Wellington. George was also a diarist, artist and naturalist. His brother John was a playwright, author of ‘The Honeymoon’. The Tobins used to be slave-owners in St Kitts but thought better of it and campaigned for abolition.
Since I have ancestors from (or rather, via) Sweden, I'm curious: what was your great-grandfather's name?

@ Geoffrey .. We always believed it was Williamson, because that's what he claimed on all the documentation in Australia.

However, I recently discovered he reinvented himself at some point as he was born Waldemarsson.

He also claimed (or it was claimed for him because people write down what they think they hear) that his father was Larsse Williamson, when he was actually Waldemar (or Valdemar) Larsson.  The Queensland documents also say his mother was Anne Swanson (or Swenson), when, as it turns out, she was Anna Svensdr (which makes sense now I know she was not English, but Swedish .. she would never have been anything "son", but Sven's daughter).

+7 votes
Actually one of my ex-wife's lineage but definitely well travelled & unusual to say the least. Charles Henry Tate was born in 1849 in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England & like his father entered the milling business. He clearly decided that life could be more interesting and in his late teens emigrated to Australia in search of new opportunities. Instead he was shipwrecked on the coast of Queensland & survived by crawling onto rocks from where he & several companions were rescued. He returned to England to recuperate & in 1871 he headed for Canada instead. He seems to have had an aversion to arriving in a normal manner & was once again shipwrecked this time on the coast of Newfoundland. Charles settled initially in Ontario & later moved to Summerland, British Columbia where he died in 1936 & was survived by his two sons Charles & James.
by Paul Ballard G2G1 (1.3k points)
So, despite his travails, he lived to age 86 or 87.
I think that's the winner for both longest and riskiest travels!

England->Australia->England->western Canada
+6 votes
I come from a very adventurous family from my fathers side. Both paternal and maternal.

Travelled from The Netherlands over the Cape (South Africa)   to the Dutch East Indies.

My ancestor born in Basel, Switzerland in 1646 travelled the first. From Schiedam to the Dutch East Indies and back.

I emigrated from The Netherlands to South Africa. From there to Italy and a year later back to South Africa. Six years I emigrated to Spain.

I feel special to realise that many ancestors sailed over the Cape where I lived for 10 beautiful years.
by Carolina Dagevos G2G2 (2.7k points)
+5 votes
My great, great grandparents emigrated from Jura in the inner hebrides of Scotland to Melboure, Australia in 1842. approx. 12,553 miles.

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