One of the major events of movement west was the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. The waterway ran from Albany, NY and traveled to Buffalo, NY along the eastern edge of Lake Erie. Travel suddenly became easier and cheaper.
The canal began in Albany, NY along the upper portion of the Hudson River area. This was a ideal location for those people living in the New England states to start their trip West. Prior to the canals opening the main form of travel was overland following trails that were no better than wide openings in the woods. The safety and ability to move from Albany to Buffalo in days instead of weeks was a major improvement in western travel.
The close location of the beginning of the canal being in Albany allowed migrants from Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts to travel very easily using the canal. People in the New England states were becoming crowded and the need for farm land was important. The practice of leaving property to the first born and the creation of large families forced the people to find their fortunes in the west. New England was one of the largest groups to make their way to Michigan and settle.