Researching Loyalist Ancestors
Not all our early American ancestors were patriots fighting for independence. Approximately one third of the population in the American colonies at the time were loyal to the Crown, with tens of thousands leaving their homes and taking up residence in Canada’s eastern provinces or England. You can piece together your ancestor’s movements and motivations using several resources. This three-week course will provide you with the historical context, records, and research strategies for identifying and learning more about your loyalist ancestors.
Class 1: History and Context
presented by Sheilagh Doerfler
Leading up to and during the American Revolution nearly 50,000 loyal-to-the-Crown colonists fled their homes. This first class will discuss how to identify likely loyalists in your family tree, provide a historical timeline of events that drove many colonists from their homes, and describe their resulting actions.
Class 2: Finding Loyalists in US Records
presented by David Allen Lambert
Muster rolls, town records, land records, histories, and other records, can provide a great deal of information about your loyalist ancestors. This second course will review many U.S. records and published resources that can get you started on your research.
Class 3: Finding Loyalists in Canadian and Other British Empire Records
presented by Melanie McComb
Many loyalists fled to areas firmly under British control including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. Still others crossed the Atlantic to the Mother Country, England. Some would stay for the duration of the war and eventually return to the U.S.; others would put down roots and stay for generations. This third class will discuss the many resources available for learning about your ancestor’s lives in Canada, England, and other areas of the British Empire.