They Backed the Wrong Horse

We like to talk about our patriot ancestors: i.e., persons who served in the Continental Army or Navy, or who supported the war effort financially. But we sometimes forget that some colonists did not want to break from King and Country. These people were known as Loyalists, and as it turned out they bet everything on the wrong horse…

You can search for records of Loyalists in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE):


This search returns 19 record collections, most of which provide information about Loyalists who settled in Canada after the war. A good starting point for persons just beginning their Loyalist research is this record collection:

UK, American Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835

British commissioners were appointed to examine claims of losses suffered by colonists who remained loyal to the Crown during the war. This record collection indexes documents submitted to the commissioners to support claims of losses suffered. Such documents can include:

    testimony given by witnesses
    written accounts of losses (with detail about places and possessions)
    powers of attorney
    other, miscellaneous documents

These documents may mention names of friends and foes, places of residence, accounts of battles and skirmishes, details about claims, and details about the claimant’s life prior to and during the Revolution.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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