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May 3, 2011

Finding a Loyalist (Part 5): Loyalist Lists

Previously I talked about the history of Loyalists in Part 1 , Land Grants and Requirements for Loyalist Status in Part 2, Land Petitions in Part 3 and Land Records in Part 4

Today I'll talk about  the various Loyalist Lists. There is no one list of Loyalists, and it is a misconception to think that there is.  There  are lists of approved Loyalists, but there was more than one created by different agencies. They are all different in varying ways, and there is no  list that is considered the final word.

For example the Crown Lands Department created lists of Loyalists based on a variety of sources. This is the Crown Lands List (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 list 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 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!

There is also the Inspector General's Loyalist registers. There are three registers (or lists) with names of Loyalist claimants in Upper Canada. The lists were created to provide a comprehensive listing of United Empire Loyalists, their sons and daughters, who were entitled to free grants of land.  Two of the lists  were compiled from the rolls drawn up by the District Land Boards on the order of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe beginning in 1796.  From 1798 to 1839, additions and exclusions were made to the lists. The third list was compiled from muster rolls.

Some original muster rolls of Loyalist corps and provision lists are found in the Haldimand Papers  and British Headquarters Papers, formerly the Carleton Papers. 

It is important to note that there is overlap in these lists. Researchers will want to consult all of them in order to be certain nothing was overlooked in the search for a Loyalist ancestor. I will provide details on where these lists can be consulted in a future blog post.

There is also William D. Reid's book The Loyalists in Ontario: The Sons and Daughters of the American Loyalists of Upper Canada

While Reid's book is an excellent starting point in your Loyalist research you must use it with caution. There are errors and omissions. Reid did not always group families together correctly. There are many family members who have been left out. He did not find every single Loyalist and list them in the book.

So if you do not find an ancestor in the book, it doesn't prove he was not a Loyalist. Don't accept family groups without verification. However if you find an ancestor with an OIC date, that means Reid saw that there was a petition on file for that person and you should consult the Upper Canada Land Petitions which we talked about in Part 3.

The first place you should look for a possible Loyalist ancestor is in the land records, because Loyalists and their families were granted land in accordance with their military rank and dependents. Next week I'll provide a final list of Loyalist resources and where to find them.  Remember, this series is specifically about finding a Loyalist ancestor in Upper Canada (aka Canada West and now Ontario)

1 comment:

BDM said...

Lorine, where would you place the District Loyalist Rolls?
- Brenda