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The Great
Genesse Road

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Introduction

Road Trip

Internet Resources

Image Gallery

 

 

Introduction

Introduction

 

     Soon after the end of the American Revolution in 1783, a surge of westward migration into Central and Western New York began. At the time, most travel west of the Albany area was by water. While rudimentary roads were laid out following the Mohawk River, there were no major land routes west of Fort Schuyler (present day Utica), except for an old Iroquois trail that was a simple foot path. By the late 1780s many companies began to set up their operations in the new settlements in the Central and Western New York. As a result, there was a clamor for the building of a main road running west from Utica. On March 22, 1794, the New York state legislature passed a law calling for the laying out and improvement of a public road from old Fort Schuyler on the Mohawk River to the settlement of Canawaugus on the Genesee River, in as straight a line as the topography of the land will allow. This road was officially known as the "Great Genesee Road" and and  was intended to give access to the New Military Tract.  It generally followed an old Iroquois trail, extending through Oneida, Manlius, Onondaga Valley (south of modern Syracuse), Skaneateles, Auburn, Seneca Falls, Geneva, Canandaigua and on to Buffalo, New York.  It is one of the earliest state roads in New York. Four years later, another legislative act authorized the extension of the Genesee Road to Buffalo.

     By the end of the 18th century, while the Genesee Road has been greatly improved, many portions were still substandard and some sections had still not been completed. Although serving heavy traffic, the project remained incomplete until the state authorized a company of private investors to finish uncompleted sections. . On April 1, 1800, the Seneca Road Company was chartered for this purpose and the portion of the Genesee Road from Utica to Canandaigua was improved and operated as a toll road known as the Seneca Turnpike. Three days later, the old road following the Mohawk River between Utica and Schenectady also became a days later, the

Map of The Great Genesse Road

Click on the thumbnail map to view a full-sized image

old road following the Mohawk River between Utica and Schenectady also became a turnpike, known as the Mohawk Turnpike. The road leading from Albany northwest to Schenectady having been already established as a turnpike (the Albany and Schenectady Turnpike) in 1797, an all-turnpike route over good quality roads was now available from Albany to Canandaigua. The western extension of the Genesee Road to Buffalo soon followed suit and also became an improved toll road, the Ontario and Genesee Turnpike, in 1805. The Seneca Road Company was later authorized to create a more northerly alternate route of the Seneca Turnpike in 1806, through what is now Syracuse. As Syracuse developed, traffic patterns changed and the northern branch route became more heavily used than the original road.

     The construction and opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 along the same alignment as the Albany to Buffalo route began to eat away at the revenues of these turnpike companies. In time, the turnpike business had become unprofitable and the companies were dissolved by 1852, causing the roads to revert to public control.

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Winding Road 1

Road Trip

Road Trip

Winding Road 2

If you have traced your 18th or 19th century ancestors to any of the counties listed below it is quite possible that they traveled to that location along this migration route.  Therefore you may find additional relevant information about your ancestral lineages by taking the following road trip through these localities.

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

Cayuga County, NY (2)

Erie County, NY (3)

Genesee County, NY (3)

Livingston County, NY  (3)

Madison County, NY (1)

Monroe County, NY (2,3)

Niagara County, NY (3)

Oneida County, NY (1)

Onondoga County, NY (1)

Ontario County, NY (2)

Orleans County, NY (3)

 

Oswego County, NY (1)

Seneca County, NY (2)

Wayne County, NY (2)

Wyoming County, NY (3)

Yates County, NY (2)

 

 

Genealogy Road Trip

This “Genealogy Road Trip” is divided into segments that require between 1 and 2 hours of driving time.

The entire 200 mile journey should take approximately 4.00 hours to drive at 50 miles per hour.  Within each segment you will find links to resources* that will assist you in planning a successful and enjoyable experience.  The following maps are designed to show a close-up view of the counties and communities along this migration route.  Relevant county seats are designated with aStar yellow-green 32x30, beginning and end points of each segment are noted with a Bullet (red ball) dk green2 and historical sites with a purple circle.

 

SEGMENT 1

 Utica, NY to

Skaneatales, NY

SEGMENT 2

Skaneatales, NY

 to Lima, NY

SEGMENT 3

Lima, NY to

Buffalo, NY

228149- 4

Segment 1

SEGMENT 1

Utica, NY to

Skaneatales, NY

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 70 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 2.00 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 2

SEGMENT 2

Skaneatales, NY

 to Lima, NY

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 66 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.75 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

Arrow (red up)

228149- 4

Segment 3

SEGMENT 3

Lima, NY to

Buffalo, NY

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 83 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 2.00 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

Arrow (red up)

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WWW (tan left)

Internet Resources

Internet 
Resources

WWW (tan right)

The Google search engine

 button  and following web

sites    may     provide    you

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with additional information

to assist with your research

about   this   topic. 

General Resources

·         American Migration Patterns

·         Migration Routes, Roads & Trails

·         Brethren Life: Migrations

·         Trails West

·         Historical U.S. roads and trails - Wikipedia

·         U.S. Historical Maps - Perry-Castañeda Collection

·         Early American Roads and Trails

·         Frontier Trails: A Brief History

·         MIGRATIONS.org

·         ROOTS / MIGRATIONS

·         American Migration Fact Sheets

·         Map guide to American migration routes,1735-1815

·         Migration Book Store

·         Early Migration Routes

·         The Overland Trail Links--Ancient Indian Trails

·         American Westward Expansion

·         Migration Message Boards – Ancestry.com

·         The African-American Migration Experience 

·         Migration Trailsmap of many U.S. trails

·         Migration Information & Maps By Ethnic Group

Topic Specific Resources

·         Madison County, NY

·         New York State Route 5 - Wikipedia

·         The Genesee Road

·         Reminiscences of Onondaga Co., NY

·         Great Genesee Road - FamilySearch.org

Download a free 2-page Fact Sheet

Link 1 (script)

about American migration routes

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Family Historian's
Reference Library

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The following Link will take you to our library of genealogy reference books.   Here you will find books about historic American roads, trails, and paths.  In addition, there are texts that pertain to ethnic and religion groups, history, geography as well as other books that will assist you with your research.

This Link will take you to our

Research Library - button 1

collection of reference books.  

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Image Gallery

Image Gallery

During our research we have collected images and photographs that are of general interest to a variety of historic American roads, trails and migration.  Some of them are presented on this website because we believe they tend to provide the reader with additional information which may aid in the understanding of this topic as well as our ancestors past lives.

Genesee Road (Seneca Falls, NY)

The Great Genesee Road at Seneca Falls, NY

Use this LINK to see the “Image