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May 26, 2008

Using Lists of Loyalists to Find Loyalist Ancestors

No one list of Loyalists can be considered "the" List. There is no simple definitive and accurate list. You must consult them all, from the Old UEL list to Reid's book The Loyalists in Ontario: The Sons & Daughters of the American Loyalists to all the variant lists made.

Reid's book on Loyalists was never intended to be the Bible of Loyalist families. Reid simply organized index cards into what he thought were family groups. *Many*
if not most families are incomplete. Some individuals are incorrectly placed.

Reid's book is a wonderful resource, and a great starting point for your Loyalist research, but you should verify independently that a child he places in a family group does belong there (by looking up ALL petitions for that family), and never never assume that because an individual isn't in the family group he/she doesn't exist or isn't a Loyalist.

After 1796 the Executive Council kept a list of Loyalists based on District Rolls. This became the Executive Council UE List and contains about 3,500 names. It is not considered a complete list, but it is considered more accurate than the Crown Lands (Old UEL) list.

The Crown Lands Dept. created a second list, based on other records. This became the Old UEL List and contains approximately 6,000 names, but not all qualified.

When searching Loyalists you also need to consult pay lists, muster rolls, and the land records. For a good reference to what is available, see Brenda Dougall Merriman's book "Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records" Look under the chapter on Loyalists.

Check out this list of Loyalist Books & Resources which will help you find your Loyalist ancestor

May 25, 2008

FInding a Loyalist (Tory) Ancestor in Land Petitions

A Loyalist is any person who is loyal to their allegiance (especially in times of revolt). During the American Revolution in what was to become the United States of America, a Loyalist (also called UEL - United Empire Loyalist) was anyone who remained loyal to the King of England. They were called Tories in their own country but Loyalists elsewhere. Most fled to Canada and helped settle that country, particularly Ontario and Nova Scotia

For free Loyalist data online refer to the Loyalist Genealogy on Olive Tree Genealogy website

Loyalists could petition for, and were granted land as follows:

> 100 acres for head of family plus 50 acres per family member
> 50 acres for single men
> 300 - 1000 acres for army officers
> 200 acres for an NCO plus 200 for wives, if they applied
> 100 acres for a private soldier plus 50 acres for each family member

The Petitions of Loyalists for land, which are found in the Upper Canada Land Petitions on microfilm are not uniform. You may find one small petition, giving just enough facts to persuade the Crown to give that person a free grant as a Loyalist. You may find page after page of affidavits,testimonies, and so on, all documentation to prove the petitioner's claim. For example in my own Loyalist research,one of my Loyalist ancestors' files has an affidavit from a well known judge of the Niagara area, testifying to his Loyalty during the 'troubles' - this document providing his former place of residence in the United States.

Another Loyalist file included a document signed by his commanding officer in Butler's Rangers (providing his unit),describing the petitioner's hardships including being imprisoned 3 times in Albany NY. A second document gave great detail about the petitioner's wife (including the number of children) and her hardships in NY, including a description of the night the "rebels" (Patriots) came to her home in the northern part of NY and burned it to the ground. Thisdocument went on to describe her ordeal as she and her children attempted to make their way north to "Canada".

Don't overlook these petitions as a wonderful source of detail as well as genealogical material. Until you find them you have no way of knowing how much or
how little information may be contained in the file.

For more info on these petitions and how to obtain them on microfilm, see How to Find your Loyalist Ancestor

May 24, 2008

Getting Copies of the 1871 Ontario Census

Canada Census records for 1871 are available to the public. They give information on all household members - name, age,gender, country of birth, religion, ethnic origin,
occupation, marital status and education.

There are 9 returns for the 1871 census but there are 3 that are of the most help genealogically:

* Schedule 1: Return of the Living
* Schedule 2: Return of the Dead
* Schedule 4: Agricultural Return

Census records are available on microfilm from the Archives of Ontario, National Archives of Canada, on ILL (InterLibraryLoan) through a local library, or from your
local FHC (Family History Center).

You can search the 1871 census index to heads of household for Ontario

If you find a name of interest, you can order a copy of the census page from the National Archives. Requests for copies must include complete references

For help and a link to the 1871 Census order form

May 23, 2008

Free Public Access on

To commemorate the agreement on the eve of Memorial Day, is making its entire U.S. Military Collection -- the largest online collection of American military records -- available for free to the public.

From May 20 through May 31, people can log on to to view more than 100 million names and 700 titles and databases of military records, the majority of which come from NARA, from all 50 U.S. states.

.. more Military records

May 18, 2008

Newspaper Extracts from The Canadian Champion, Milton, Halton County Ontario added the following Ontario
Newspaper Extracts
from The Canadian Champion, Milton
Halton County Ontario. Links found at

Extracts of Births, Marriages, Deaths July 1869
Extracts of Births, Marriages, Deaths February 1872
Extracts of Births, Marriages, Deaths April 1887
Extracts of Births, Marriages, Deaths February 1892
Extracts of Births, Marriages, Deaths May 1899

May 17, 2008

Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston, Ontario Canada 1861-1882

Today updated the Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston, Ontario Canada 1861-1882 with the addition of the following years:

June 1863 | June 1863-Aug. 1863 | Aug 1863-Sept. 1863 | Oct 1863-Jan. 1864 | Jan 1864

To date we have Oct. 1861-Jan. 1864 online for this Project. Many immigrants are shown as coming in from American ports such as New York. Many came in via Quebec. You won't want to miss this if you are hunting for ancestors arriving in Canada before 1865!

The General Remarks are interesting, although small and difficult to read. Most are quite lengthy, some simply state that a ticket was given for a loaf of bread.

For example Peter McLaren from Scotland to Quebec has the following notation "being destitute and deserving of joining friends at Thorold I gave him a pass to [Lacroix?]"

John Mill from Ireland had this note "His wife was confined on [unreadable] coming out and is now very poorly.. They are out of money...."

Mr. Leibke [?] of Germany is noted as "going to join his son in Sombra".

One of the saddest notations is for James Reich and family on 23 Jan. 1863 "the daughter Jane died near Prescott of diptheria, the family passed up to Guelph, the St. Andrews Society took charge of the body of girl and promised to see her decently interrred"

The column headings for each individual which are transcribed and online are Date of Landing; Name of Emigrant or Head of Family; From what Country; Via what Seaport Town; Destination; Condition, general appearance, health; No. of male adults; No. of Female adults; No. under 6 years; No. over 6 years and under 12

The column headings in the original ledgers which are not transcribed are in what Township Employed as Servants; In what Township settled, or bought land; Amount of passage tickets issued; Amount of provisions; Amount of Medical aid; amount of Capital brought by them; General Remarks.

May 16, 2008

Records of Baptisms of the Reformed Church at Machackemeck (Deerpark), Orange County New York 1716-1827

Researchers have been led to believe that church records for the Minisink aka Machackemeck (Deerpark) Dutch Reformed Church were lost for the years 1720- 1736. Histories of the Dutch Reform Churches in America reveal the following: The Deerpark Dutch Reformed Church was not established until 1737. Until that time, Dominies from the established Kingston Dutch Reformed Church travelled to the remote areas to perform baptisms which were later entered into the Kingston Dutch Reformed Church records.

The first Dominie at the Deerpark Dutch Reformed Church found notes on baptisms performed in 1716-1719 in Minisink that had never been recorded in Kingston. He appended them to the Deerpark records which actually began in 1737. Thus the appearance of missing records for 1720-1736.

Search for your ancestors in the Machackemeck Church records in Introduction | August 1716-July 1742 | July 1742-July 1745 | August 1745-June 1747 | June 1747-March 1749 | April 1749-November 1750.

More years to follow as transcribers complete the work. We are busy transcribing February 1752-July 1827 for genealogists to consult for free. Be sure to bookmark this page and return often to see what baptism records have been completed.

May 13, 2008 Special Offer!, my favorite subscription based website, is offering a 20% discount for May, so if you have not yet tried Footnote, you may want to give it a go. You can click on the special offer link at the top of any page of and start hunting for your ancestors today.

For those who don’t know about Footnote, they offer NARA records not found anywhere else online. Naturalization records, Military records, a large Civil War collection are just a few. They also have the Vietnam Wall which is free and should not be missed. Footnote is known for its interactive website, allowing visitors to enrich the records by adding photos, linking related documents, and contributing insights to any name on the record

May 11, 2008

Peer Family History Book Completed!

Good news! After more than 20 years of research, the Peer book is near completion!

The Peer Family in North America: Vol. 1 Jacob & Anne Peer, Immigrants from Sussex Co. New Jersey to Upper Canada in 1796, a study of the first two generations (including documents, maps and photos) is scheduled for publication July 1, 2008.

Volume 1 contains narrative (footnoted) chapters on Jacob Peer Sr, and each of his children listed above. 32 documents (wills, land petitions, land records, etc) are included in this volume, as well as maps and family group charts.

Also included is the 21 page article Origins of the Pier Family in the Netherlands and an Update of their Connection to the Ostrander Family by Lorine McGinnis Schulze and Chris Brooks formerly published in the July 2000 issue of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record

Subsequent volumes are in process for each individual in Generation 2 (Jacob & Anne's children) and their descendants. Interested descendants may sign up for notification of publication and updates

Include your name, and the Volumes you are interested in (Vols 1-9). See the list of sons and daughters of Jacob & Anne Peer, plus Volume Numbers.

An order form will be added to the page when Vol. 1 is back from the printers. I am very excited about completing the books after all these years.