Documenting Loyalists in the Family Tree: Part 3 – U.S. Resources

Four decades ago, when I began researching my potential Loyalist ancestors, the internet wasn’t an option. The situation today is totally different. There are so many online resources in terms of lists, military engagements, estate confiscations, family history, historical books and journal articles plus research done by others, which might already document your Loyalist family. Don’t forget to seek out non-digitized records, too, by checking library catalogs and contacting local historical and genealogical societies.

Online family trees are also a good resource, but keep in mind that most trees are unproven and data has been cut and pasted into the tree. Be sure to verify all the information!

It is impossible to list every single resource pertaining to the original thirteen American colonies, as records may be found at the national, state, county and even town level.

However, this resource list, which is just a sampling, should give you an idea of repositories and items to seek out.

  1. Publications – U.S.

A Bibliography of Loyalist Source Material in the United States, Part I, Part II, Part III, Herbert Leventhal and James E. Mooney [There is a Part IV covering the rest of the U.S., but I couldn’t find an accessible digital copy.]

The Exodus of the Loyalists from Penobscot to Passamaquoddy, Wilbur H. Siebert, The Ohio State University Bulletin, April 1914.

Loyalists, Encyclopedia of North Carolina, William S. Powell, editor, 2006.

The Loyalists in the American Revolution, Claude Halstead Van Tyne, 1902.

The Loyalists of Connecticut, 1934.

The Loyalists of Pennsylvania, Wilbur Henry Siebert, 1920

The Loyalists in the Revolution, Frank R. Diffenderffer, 1919.

New Haven Loyalists, Franklin B. Dexter, 1918.

Internet Archive has a number of books still under copyright, which users can “Log In and Borrow:”

The Loyalists in North Carolina During the Revolution, Robert O. DeMond, 1938

Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, Gregory Palmer, 1984.

The New York Loyalists, Philip Ranlet, 1986.

Maryland Loyalists in the American Revolution, M. Christopher New, 1996.

The FamilySearch catalog has a number of books. Although most are still under copyright, it is handy as a finding aid:

A general online search brought up quite a few digitized records:

The Connecticut Loyalists, G.A. Gilbert, 1899

Guide to [Delaware] Revolutionary War Records – Delaware Loyalists (10 folders)

List of Loyalists Banished from Georgia – 1783

Penobscot [Maine] Loyalists [list]

Maryland Loyalism Project

The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution, James H. Stark, 1907

Revolutionary New Hampshire and the Loyalist Experience: “Surely We Deserved a Better Fate,” Robert Munro Brown, Spring 1983

New Jersey Volunteers List of Officers, 1776-1783

Loyalism in New York During the American Revolution, Alexander Clarence Flick, 1901

An Introduction to North Carolina Loyalism Units

The Loyalists of Pennsylvania, Wilbur H. Siebert, 1905

Rhode Island Claims and Memorials

South Carolina – British Loyalists During the American Revolution [list]

Loyalists in Strafford [Vermont], Josephine Fisher, 1937

Loyalists in Virginia During and After the American Revolution

2. Websites – U.S.

Search engines are your friend! Use them.

National – A U.S. National Archives catalog search brought up more than 2,400 hits!

State – Most state libraries/archives for the original thirteen colonies, plus Maine (which was part of Massachusetts until 1820) have Loyalist collections.

Many colleges and universities in those states also have Loyalist-related journal articles, books and perhaps other records as well. UMass Amherst Library brought up 47,000 hits, many of which pertained to the American Revolution. Most books in college libraries won’t be digitized, but Master’s theses and PhD dissertations may be accessible by the public for no charge.

The New York State Library has Loyalist Records: Genealogy. Even the DAR Library has many Loyalist-related items.

CountyBergen County’s [New Jersey] Loyalist Population, Todd W. Braisted, Bergen County Historical Society

County – Westchester County, NY GenWeb’s page has an excellent list of Loyalist resources including a bibliography of books

Town/CityNew York City During the First Year of the Revolution, Jim Davis

Town/CityThe King’s Men

As you can see from this list, there are all types of records available that will help document the life of your Loyalist ancestor while he still lived in the colonies. Take some time to dig deep in the U.S. locality where he and his family lived.

The last post in this series will focus on Loyalist resources available in Canada. There are quite a few records identifying the colonial homes of Loyalist families before they settled in Nova Scotia.

By using both American and Canadian resources, it is often possible to recreate our ancestors’ lives, pre- and post-Revolutionary War.

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