This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates how in the early nineteenth century letters to and from emigrants reflected notable levels of return from seacoast ports in North America, particularly among the young, single people who dominated movement to such places. It addresses the motives of those who returned from a wide variety of locations over a period ranging from the seventeenth century. The book considers the crucial question of the impact on the homeland of those who returned. It presents long-term overviews of the process of return migration. Complexities in return migration are not confined to issues of chronological and spatial continuity and change. Perceptions of identity among temporary and permanent emigrants alike pose some challenging conundrums, particularly in relation to the tendency of successful emigrants and their descendants to nurture a culture of victimhood.