The migration and early development of trigeminal (V) motoneurons were studied in chick embryos in which two different populations of primary trigeminal sensory neurons had been removed prior to the birthdate of the V motoneurons. Ablation of mesencephalic neural crest cells, which eliminates monosynaptic sensory input, did not affect the migration, early development, or later differentiation of the V motoneurons. However, when the anlagen of the V ganglion were removed, the V motor root did not exit from the brainstem and the V motor nucleus did not develop. Although the neurons of the V ganglion do not innervate adult V motoneurons, these populations are related developmentally. In those embryos in which the V ganglion did not develop, medial column cells, which are midline, postmitotic, premigratory V motoneurons, and a few medial, elongated cells (possibly migratory) were present until days 5–6, but these cells did not complete their lateral migration to form the lateral nucleus of V. In cases where the ganglion anlagen were not completely removed, the number of postmigratory V motoneurons was positively correlated to the size of the ganglion remnant. There also was a correlation between the axial position of the postmigratory V motoneurons and the ganglion remnants. If a caudal remnant developed, only caudal V motoneurons, whose axons reached the ganglion, migrated; if a rostral remnant developed, only rostral V motoneurons, with axons reaching this remnant, migrated. Additionally, if the central axons of the ganglion remnant entered the metencephalon in either dorsal or ventral ectopic positions, the V motor nucleus was located in a corresponding aberrant position. Thus, some characteristic of the V ganglion cells appears to guide the motor axons and somas to their final brainstem position.