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The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies

Loyalist Genealogy

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Hot News!

Those of you with an interest in settlement in New Brunswick will want to check out the latest addition to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick's website - online records relating to the 1839 legislation entitled 'An Act for the Relief of Old Soldiers of the Revolutionary War and their Widows', which allowed for distressed soldiers or their widows to apply for a government pension.

For details, see Records of Old Revolutionary Soldiers and Their Widows - Introduction at the PANB.

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Welcome to the Genealogy section of our site! While this area is still largely under development as we go live with the site, our hope is to turn it into a valuable resource for you as we go forward by providing a combination of source materials, references, articles and how-to tips on researching your Loyalist ancestors.

As in any genealogical research, the ultimate proof that your ancestor was a Loyalist is finding his name in a primary source document associated with Loyalists, such as a muster roll, a claim for compensation of losses or a land petition. However, before delving into Loyalist sources, you will want to be far enough along in your research to be within about a generation of the possible Loyalist ancestor.

The classic advice for doing genealogical research is to start with yourself and work backwards. This advice is classic for a reason….it's the only thing that works reliably!

When you consider that each of us has 64 4th great-grandparents, 128 5th great-grandparents, and 256 6th great-grandparents, the typical family size even 100 years ago was considerably larger than it is today, and given names tended to be repeated from one generation to the next, it doesn't take too much math to figure out that that's a lot of people to get confused with one another if you don't approach the problem systematically! It will be very difficult to tie your line to a Loyalist family if the earliest known member of your line was born in 1860…

On the other hand, if you have been able to successfully trace back to a member of your line who was born in the 1770 to 1810 time frame and other clues seem to point to a possible Loyalist in the family, then it is certainly not premature to begin to investigate some of the Loyalist source materials available to you.

A good place to start is with some of the secondary sources that have been published over the years on the Loyalists. Many of these sources contain information on the children of the Loyalists as well as on the Loyalists themselves and may point you to primary materials that will help you make the final link between a child and a Loyalist parent. The Suggested Reading section of the site will list many of these sources as we begin to expand it.

One of the most common problems in Loyalist genealogy research is figuring out where a Loyalist ancestor originated prior to the war. While there is no foolproof way to determine this, it is helpful to understand where your ancestor settled after the war and to know the regiment in which he served.

Search land, probate and church records in his area of settlement, and read everything you can get your hands on regarding the early history of that area. Knowing post-war settlement may help you to narrow down possible Loyalist regiments in which your ancestor may have served, and knowing a regiment can help you figure out where to begin a pre-war search.

Check the muster rolls for that regiment to see if you can determine roughly when he might have joined, and cross check that with the history of the regiment to learn where the various battalions, companies or detachments might have been serving at the time and picked up recruits. The War Chronology section of our site is an excellent place to begin this exercise!

Check to see if your Loyalist ancestor filed a claim for compensation of losses after the war (unfortunately, most did not), and if so, do whatever it takes to get a copy! These are some of the most valuable records available for linking Loyalist ancestors to their former places of residence.

Sadly, there is no "master list" of Loyalists available to us. Loyalist genealogy research can be difficult and sometimes frustrating (so, what else is new, right?). However, we hope to begin to address some of the more common research issues in Loyalist genealogy here as we go forward with this area of the site, and provide some guidelines and rules of thumb that you can use in your own research.

Click on any of the buttons to the left to explore that section of our site. Here is a brief explanation of what you can expect to find in each section...

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Research Address Book

Currently, this area contains addresses for the major repositories for Loyalist military and genealogy research. It will be expanded in the future to include addresses for other libraries, organizations, societies and churches of interest to Loyalist researchers.

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Property Confiscations

We are starting this area with an index of records related to property confiscations in Monmouth County, New Jersey, donated by the Monmouth County Museum. It will be expanded in the future to include other records related to the loss of property in the Colonies.

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Post-War Settlement Patterns

Passenger lists, land records and petitions, settlement lists and other records related to the areas where the Loyalists settled after the American Revolution.

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Female Ancestors

This section of our site is still under development. Very soon it will contain documents and articles having to do with females during the time of the Revolution.

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Church Records

Original documents and records related to churches that the Loyalists attended or with which they had interactions. To be expanded...

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The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies
For information please contact Todd Braisted


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