Learn more about the people who helped shape the history of the Trail!

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People of the California Trail

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    Photo image of an 1850 Emigrant's Guide.
    The Emigrant's Guide to The Golden Land of California - 1850.

    Library of Congress

    Oxen: Engines of the Overland Emigration

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    Emigrant Names Search

    Recently the Oregon-California Trails Association, a primary partner with the National Park Service long distance historic trails office, developed a website to provide researchers, interested family descendants, and other emigrant trail enthusiasts with a tool for searching pioneer emigrant names.

    The website, called "Paper Trail," is a database with information from thousands of trail-related documents of the mid-19th century western migration. Whether people traveled west for gold, land, religious freedom or new opportunity, they wrote diaries, letters, articles and recollections about the journey. From over 3500 original documents, Paper Trail organizes information into an easy-to-search database, featuring names, dates, routes, travel parties, locations and interesting features. The information from each document is searchable by emigrant name or by author. The name search is free; further searches require a modest subscription payment.

    The Oregon-California Trails Association, with support from the National Park Service, will continue to update the Paper Trail website as more historical documents are found.

    Last updated: February 17, 2021

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    National Trails Office Regions 6|7|8
    California National Historic Trail
    1100 Old Santa Fe Trail

    Santa Fe , NM 87505



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