Thanks to a stimulating and thought provoking class from Bernard E. Gracy, Jr. at the Family History Expo in Duluth, Georgia. I started thinking about affinity research, that is following groups of people associated by ethnic, cultural or religious background. Obviously, this is a topic that interests me for the simple reason that every single one of my great-grandparents were immigrants to Utah during the pioneer times. Some of them and their descendants also ended up in Arizona and elsewhere. This is not a coincidence. Every one of them went West for similar reasons. In some cases they converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after they reached Utah, but for the most part their exodus was religiously based.
This same phenomena exists at all levels of immigration. People tended to travel with and travel to others from the same region of the country they came from or were somehow related to each other or had some other affinity. This effect is far from limited just to immigration. I have often referred to this as looking at the community. But I think that my ideas were too narrow. He opened up a whole new area of interest. More on this later.