Loyalists

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.

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).

Databases

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 of the Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada has 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.

Land Petitions

Many Loyalists and their descendants submitted Petitions for Land.

Loyalist Lists

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.

War Office 28: Headquarters Records (MG 13 WO28)

This series includes correspondence and nominal returns (volumes 2 to 10, microfilm reels B-2862 to B-2868). Volume 9 contains petitions submitted by officers and men in British, German and Loyalist regiments. Most relate to promotions, leave, appointments or requests for assistance. Consult Finding Aid 87 for the list of contents and Appendix B for the names in Volume 9.

Published Sources

External Links to Other Institutions

Use AVITUS and Archives Search databases to find other sources on Loyalists.