|Emigrant guides were published in the early nineteenth century but they became more popular starting about 1840. They contain information about numerous aspects of the emigrant experience, from major decisions about transportation and destination to directions on what type of crop to plant. Each guide is different but they have many features in common… see below for a list of topics that may be included.
Some early publications that were called traveler’s guides or trail guides and had much of the same information as an emigrant guide. All of these guides played a key role in influencing immigration and migration by encouraging people to move to a new location. And actually, these types of “guides” are still published today albeit they may be in digital format and more readily found online! Think of city websites that share all types of information that can be used by someone interested in moving to that location (i.e. www.cityofbastrop.org/page/homepage). And one can ‘Google’ any particular topic and location to find more detail!
THINGS FOUND IN VARIOUS EMIGRANT GUIDES
Lodging • Finding employment • Geography of the land with maps and other diagrams • Distances and cost of travel • Roads • Food supply • Climate • Economic benefits • Modes and cost of importing and exporting • Business opportunities and decisions • Government structure • Land laws and how to obtain land • Agricultural advice about climate, soil, minerals–what grows, growing season, available game, and types of livestock that thrives • Educational opportunities • Mail rates and schedule • Health concerns specific to the area of settlement–diseases, fevers • Indians residing in the area or along the route traveled • Wild beasts found in the area • Advice on how to succeed • How to assimilate into a new society • Naturalization laws and citizenship process • Advertisements of businesses from the area where the emigrant was going and more!
The Texas State Historical Association:
Andrews. Guide to Texas Emigrants. 1935
Texas Decordova, J. The Texas Immigrant and Traveller’s Guide Book. First edition. Austin: De Cordova and Frazier, 1856. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009038308 or…. a reproduction on Amazon: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009038308
Lawrence. A History of Texas or the Emigrant’s Guide to the New Republic by a Resident Emigrant, late from the United States. New York: Nafis and Cornish, 1844.
Tetzlaff, Otto W. The Emigrant to Texas: A Handbook and Guide. Bremen: Schuenemann, 1846. Reprint, Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979.
Texas Almanac and Emigrant’s Guide to Texas. Galveston: W. D. Richardson & Co. Published for years 1869, 1871, 1873. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eft01