The term "Loyalists" refers to American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown. Many of them served under the British during the American Revolution (1775-1783). Loyalists settled in what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario. The Archives in each of these provinces will have records relating to Loyalists. Note that German troops under the command of the British Forces were not Loyalists -- to learn more about them please visit our page on German Immigration History.
Library and Archives Canada holds a variety of sources relating to the United Empire Loyalists who settled in Canada after the American Revolution (1775-1783).
Audit Office 12 and 13 (MG 14)
Some Loyalists, particularly those who settled in the Maritime Provinces, submitted claims for losses to the British government. The claims contain details about former place of residence, property and details of military service, etc. A nominal index is available on microfilm reel C-9821.
These claims have been digitized and indexed by name on www.ancestry.com (subscription required). If you do not have a subscription, Ancestry is available free at most public libraries. On the Ancestry main page, click on the top Search button, then scroll down to the country menu and select Canada, then choose from the list of indexes under Canada Military.
Books of Negroes
The Sir Guy Carleton branch has also indexed the Book of Negroes, contained within the British Headquarters Papers. It gives information such as names of the black Loyalists, gender, health, distinguishing marks, status (free or slave), origins, names of their white associates and names of ships used to carry them. The full text of the Book of Negroes is presented on the Black Loyalist: Our History , Our People Web site. Once on that site, click on Documents then on Official Documents and Proclamations.
British Headquarters Papers (MG23 B1)
These records are also known as the Carleton Papers or the American Manuscripts. They contain list of refugees in New York (1776-1783), lists of persons who were evacuated from New York in 1783, list of refugees from Massachusetts and Rhode Island who were evacuated through the port of New York and numerous references to Port Roseway and Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The United Empire Loyalist Association has compiled a comprehensive nominal index to these records, which can be searched for a fee or purchased.
British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, C Series)
This series covers the period from the American Revolution to the mid-1800s. It includes a wide range of documents relating to the British Army in Canada, Loyalist regiments, the War of 1812, the Canadian militia, etc. A nominal/subject card index and the actual records have been digitized and can be viewed online. References located in the index provide a brief description of the document, date, C Series vol. number and a page number. Read the Help page to find out about the records and to find the microfilm reel numbers.
Many Loyalists and their descendants submitted Petitions for Land.
Two lists exist for the province of Ontario.
Sir Frederick Haldimand (MG21)
Some provision lists and muster rolls, relating mostly to Loyalists, disbanded soldiers and their families in the province of Quebec. These Loyalist volumes and the nominal index to them, are available on microfilm reel C-1475.
The following book contains transcriptions of some of the lists: Loyalist lists: over 2000 Loyalist names and families from the Haldimand papers, by Keith E. Fitzgerald, ca. 1984.
- A Bibliography of Loyalist Source Material in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, by Gregory Palmer. (AMICUS 2222047)
- American loyalist claims/abstracted from the Public Record Office, Audit Office series 13, bundles 1-35 & 37, by Peter Wilson Coldham.
- American migrations, 1765-1799: the lives, times, and families of colonial Americans who remained loyal to the British Crown before, during, and after the Revolutionary War, as related in their own words and through their correspondence, by Peter Wilson Coldham.
- Loyalist Children of Upper Canada: A Collection of Names: Source, Ontario Archives, published by Pathfinder Genealogical Services. (AMICUS 24025601)
- Loyalist Lineages of Canada, 1783-1983, Toronto Branch, the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. (AMICUS 4336682)
- Loyalist Literature: An Annotated Bibliographic Guide to the Writings on the Loyalists of the American Revolution, by Robert S. Allen. (AMICUS 3637170)
- Loyalist Military Settlers of Upper Canada: Registered Warrants and Fiats, volume III, by Barbaranne Wright. (AMICUS 28290531)
- Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, by Murtie June Clark. (AMICUS 2877600)
- New Brunswick Loyalists: A Bicentennial Tribute, by Sharon Dubeau. (AMICUS 3911466)
- The Biographical sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, by Gregory Palmer.
- The Loyalists in Ontario: The Sons and Daughters of the American Loyalists of Upper Canada, by William D. Reid. (AMICUS 34046)
- The Loyalists of Quebec, 1774-1825: A Forgotten History, by the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, Heritage Branch Montreal. (AMICUS 8879122)
- UE Loyalists & Military Claimants of Upper Canada: Registered Warrants & Fiats, 1798-1865, by Barbaranne Wright. (AMICUS 25309540)
External Links to Other Institutions
Use AVITUS and Archives Search databases to find other sources on Loyalists.