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January 10, 2005

Finding a Loyalist (Tory) Ancestor

There is no one list of Loyalists, and it is a misconception to think that there is.

There were lists of approved Loyalists, but there was more than one, they are all different in varying ways, and no one list is considered the final word.

For example the Crown Lands Department created lists of Loyalists based on various sources. This is the Crown Lands (aka Old UEL List). It contains approximately 6,000 names but only about half are qualified UEL.

The Executive Council devised a different list from various district rolls. This lists is called the Executive Council UE List. This list, considered more accurate than the Old UEL List, contains about 3,000 names but is *not* complete.

*Both* these lists, which were first drawn up in the 1790s, have been altered since they were written. The important thing to remember is that when/if you consult
these lists, a negative result (your ancestor's name does not appear) does not necessarily mean he is not a qualified Loyalist!

The first place you should look for a possible Loyalist ancestor is in the land records, for Loyalists and their families were granted land in accordance with their
military rank and dependants.

You can read more about this and about how to search in the UCLP (Upper Canada Land Petitions) for your ancestors at

You can also consult the following Loyalist Resources:

  • Haldimand Papers - papers and correspondence of Haldimand, Sir Frederick from 1758-1784
  • Loyalist Claims and Conversion List, 1790-1837 - Audit Office 12 and 13
  • The Loyalists in Ontario: The Sons & Daughters of the American Loyalists
  • District Loyalist Rolls
  • United Empire Loyalist Lists

All of these sources (plus the UCLP) are fully explained at

You will also find the microfilm reel numbers (if applicable) and location of each source.

I always start with the UCLP because it is indexed (UCLP Index) *and* if your ancestor is found, you may be lucky enough to find a wealth of genealogical information in his/her petition(s) for land grants.

After thoroughly searching the UCLP (and being very creative with spellling!!), I move on to the other sources, leaving no stone unturned.

For more info on Loyalists and resources online, you can consult

There you will find dozens of links to online sources of information. Also check the right hand nav bar on my page for links to articles and online databases