Quebec Studies

Kinship and Migration to the Upper St. John Valley (Maine - New Brunswick)

Quebec Studies (1983), 1, (1), 151–163.

Abstract

Kinship and Migration to the Upper St. John Valley (Maine - New Brunswick) Beatrice Craig Why d o people migrate? Historians, economists and social scientists have proposed many answers to that question, for both the past and the present. Studies of migration usually fall in one of two categories. The most traditional approach is a macrostudy analyzing large population displacement at a national or quasi-national level. Such an approach usually tries to explain the migrations in socio-economic or ideological terms. The migrants were forced to leave their homeland by poverty or lack of “freedom,” and chose their place of destination because it did not suffer from these shortcomings.’ A more recent approach concentrates on population movement within national or regional limits, drawing its evidence from comparisons of periodic listings.2 The conclusions usually resulting from such studies show past populations to be extremely mobile, if not “volatile,” although some voices are beginning to be heard asking that those findings be qualified. For instance, some authors are describing the pre-industrial English population as neither static nor “living in a restless t ~ r m o i l . ” ~Moves were often only across parish boundaries ( 5 to 10 miles), and made most frequently by young people and servants. And even the results of scholars advancing arguments in favor of mobility can be interpreted in a less sweeping way. Two thirds of the early Bostonians studied by Knights and Thernstrom could still be found in Massachusetts at the end of each ten years of observation, although a much smaller percentage remained in Boston itself. Thus, a large number were residentially stable within the state. This second group of authors share with the traditionalists their interest in possible socio-economic causes of migration

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Craig, Béatrice