Learn more about the people who helped shape the history of the Trail!
To discover the person's story, click on the person's name or picture for more information.
People of the California Trail
Oxen: Engines of the Overland Emigration
Learn about what oxen are, how they were traditionally trained to draw wagons, and how they are properly driven and cared for from. More>>
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Association, with support from the National Park Service, will continue to update the Paper Trail website as more historical documents are found.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