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).
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.
Book of Negroes
The Book of Negroes, contained within the British Headquarters Papers, 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. Names of Black Loyalists have been indexed in the following database:
Carleton Papers – Book of Negroes, 1783
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. Names of Loyalists and British soldiers have been indexed in the following database:
Carleton Papers – Loyalists and British Soldiers, 1772-1784
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 documents 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 Introduction and index page to find out about the records, the index and how to use the digitized microfilm.
British military and naval records (RG 8, C Series) - Introduction and index
British military and naval records (RG 8, C Series) – Digitized documents
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 can be found in the Haldimand Papers (MG21, Add. MSS 21765, volumes B105, B166, B167, B168). Those volumes and the nominal index to them, are available on microfilm reel C-1475.
Finding Aid 599 (FA599) includes a paper copy of those volumes and the index. FA599 is available in our 2nd floor Reference Services Room at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.
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.
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.
- 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. (AMICUS 2486464)
- 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. (AMICUS 25235423)
- An annotated nominal roll of Butler's Rangers 1777-1784: with documentary sources, by William A. Smy (AMICUS 30663936)
- The Biographical sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, by Gregory Palmer. (AMICUS 3859265)
- Biographical sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, with an historical essay, by Lorenzo Sabine (AMICUS 3859267)
- Early Ontario settlers: a source book, by Norman K. Crowder (AMICUS 12588147)
- The history and master roll of the King's Royal Regiment of New York, by Ernest A. Cruikshank and Gavin K. Watt (AMICUS 32667793)
- 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 and land settlement in Nova Scotia, by Marion Gilroy (AMICUS 32890987)
- The Loyalists in Ontario: The Sons and Daughters of the American Loyalists of Upper Canada, by William D. Reid. (AMICUS 34046)
- Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, by Murtie June Clark. (AMICUS 2877600)
- The loyalists of Massachusetts and the other side of the American Revolution, by James Henry Stark (AMICUS 1295024)
- The loyalists of New Brunswick, by Esther Clark Wright (AMICUS 1673209)
- The Loyalists of Quebec, 1774-1825: A Forgotten History, by the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, Heritage Branch Montreal. (AMICUS 8879122)
- The Loyalists of the Eastern Townships of Quebec, by the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, U.E.L. (AMICUS 5148432)
- The migration of Carolina and Georgia loyalists to Scotia and New Brunswick, by Carole Watterson Troxler (AMICUS 879662)
- New Brunswick Loyalists: A Bicentennial Tribute, by Sharon Dubeau. (AMICUS 3911466)
- The new Loyalist index, by Paul J. Bunnell (AMICUS 9587305)
- Ontario people, 1796-1803, by E. Keith Fitzgerald (AMICUS 12638274)
- UE Loyalists & Military Claimants of Upper Canada: Registered Warrants & Fiats, 1798-1865, by Barbaranne Wright. (AMICUS 25309540)
- United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada by Brenda Merriman (AMICUS 32667803)
External links to other institutions
Use Archives Search to find other sources on Loyalists.