Thanks for the post here:

Searched long and hard for this solution.

Ubuntu server fresh install permalinks not working.

1. The additional step I had to take was to edit /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.
In that file you’ll find an AllowOverride setting for /var/www, saying “None”.
Change the setting to say: AllowOverride All

2. a.sudo chown -v :www-data "/enterYourFilePathHere/.htaccess"
b.sudo chmod -v 664 "/enterYourFilePathHere/.htaccess"
c.sudo a2enmod rewrite
d.sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

It was that step 2.c I was unaware of.  Thanks to the poster I can move ahead now with a migration.

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