During the last half of the nineteenth century, nearly two million Norwegians and Swedes migrated to the United States. This migration was not a new phenomenon, as people had been traveling immense distances since before recorded time, amply demonstrated by the far reaching voyages of the earlier Vikings of the Scandinavian peninsula. However, emigration of these proportions had never before occurred, appearing on the scene as a harbinger of the burgeoning capitalist transformation and nascent demographic transitions of the nineteenth century. The scale of these emigration movements makes them unique events and, at the same time, they provide unusual opportunities for the study of societal evolution.