Family History Research

A Guide to Overland Pioneer Documents


Paper Trail is a searchable database of remarkable journeys, with names, places and a survey of the text. This database includes a list of libraries where the original historic documents may be found.

The 19th Century migration on the overland trails to the far West is illuminated by the writings of thousands of pioneers who took this long and dangerous journey. Pioneers went to Oregon, California, Utah and Montana for land or for gold and they wrote of their experiences in diaries, letters, remembrances and newspaper articles. As the covered wagons rolled west on the Oregon Trail, the pioneers recorded their travels in documents that have survived in libraries and private collections. The Oregon-California Trails Association, known as OCTA, is the guardian and promoter of the exciting story of the 19th Century westward American migration.