Do you have Loyalist ancestors? Well, I do and my husband does too. I created this site to share my experiences in becoming a member of the UELAC and researching the Loyalist Haines, Doane and Bradt families.
Although the families came to the New World in different centuries, from different cultures, the two families have several similarities. They both lived in the Mohawk Valley in New York before the Revolutionary War, they both fought with the Butler's Rangers during the war and they both settled in the Niagara region after the war as United Empire Loyalists.
I spent most of the day on the Library and Archives Canada site looking up my ancestors' land petitions. I found quite a few, some I knew about and others were a complete surprise. The biggest surprise was when I started reading my 6th great-grandfather's petition. The surprise was that he wasn't considered a loyalist!
Titus Doan, Sr. came from New Jersey in 1785 with his wife and children. He said in his petition that he aided the British army with food and shelter when they came to Trenton and he had to flee from persecution as a "tory" by the "whigs". He lost his property and two horses. Because of his Quaker faith he was not considered a "loyalist", merely a "settler".
Elijah Doan came to Upper Canada before 1790 with his wife and children after reading the circular about the Simcoe Proclamation. He was granted land as a settler.
Another surprise was my 3rd great-grandmother, Lydia ? Haines. Nathaniel Haines, her husband, drew up a petition for land on her behalf as the daughter of a loyalist in 1796. She stated that some of her brothers fought with the Butler's Rangers. As far as I can tell form reading the petition, she was granted land. The information I found on Ancestry.ca was that she didn't qualify as she was not the daughter of a loyalist. If she was born in the thirteen colonies and her brothers joined the Butler's Rangers, she may qualify as a loyalist in her own right. She was married in Niagara in 1786. I just have to keep searching for her maiden name.
I found my 2nd great-grandfather, Benjamin Haines' petition for land as well in 1836. It was after his father's death and he had an affidavit stating that he was Nathaniel Haines' son. I found his sister, Catherine Haines Risenburg"s petition as well in 1808. She doesn't have an affidavit with hers so I am assuming he was still living in 1808.
I located Minor Bradt and his son, William's land petitions as well. I'm researching my husband's family as well as two of my grandchidren's and they both descend from William's grandson, Charles Bradt. They also have Van Alstine, Hooper and McKinnon ancestors, possibly more loyalist connections.
I noticed something about my loyalist ancestors, most of them signed their name with an X. I think my great-grandfather's generation is the first to have a formal education. Something that nowadays is taken for granted was not an option for the early loyalists.
The United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada was created to unite all of the different Loyalist organizations in the country almost a century ago. With the emigration of the descendants of United Empire Loyalists to all corners of the earth, and the growing interest in genealogy I am sure that as people discover their loyalist ancestry there will be a rise in the membership of the UELAC around the world. If you don't live in Canada, you can join the branch closest to where your loyalist ancestors settled and you will receive the branch newsletters and the Loyalist Gazette. You can submit articles to share about your ancestors to the branch newsletter, the UELAC weekly e-newsletter, Loyalist Trails, and the Loyalist Gazette magazine. You can subscribe to the Loyalist Trails and Loyalist Gazette worldwide without membership in the UELAC.
The UELAC came into being with a Federal Charter, passed by Parliament on May 27th, 1914.
The one hundred and thirty years since the Treaty of Separation had seen the growth of a nation, from sea to sea, and a great scattering of the Loyalists descendants. The length and breadth of the new country made it difficult to unite the Loyalist descendants in the common cause of keeping the Loyalist history alive and telling it to their countrymen and to the world. In 1913, the various provincial societies met in Toronto to discuss their future. Col. George A.S. Ryerson strongly advised the delegates that the best solution rested in uniting local and provincial societies into a Dominion of Canada association.
The Purpose of the Association as specified under the Charter was stated:
- to unite together irrespective of creed or political party the descendants of those families who during the American War 1775 to 1783 sacrificed their homes in retaining their loyalty to the British Crown, and to perpetuate their spirit of loyalty to the Empire.
- to preserve the history and traditions of that important epoch in Canadian history by rescuing from oblivion the history and traditions of the Loyalist families before it is too late.
- to collect together in a suitable place the portraits, relics and documents relating to the United Empire Loyalists which are now scattered throughout the Dominion.
- to publish a historical and genealogical journal, or annual transactions.
Any one in the world can become a member
of the UELAC, and any descendant of a United Empire Loyalist,
regardless of where they are living, can apply for U.E. certification.
For those who believe they have Loyalist ancestry, you have the option of proving that ancestry. Once a member, work with the Branch genealogist to verify that your ancestor was a Loyalist and collect the genealogical proofs between yourself and that Loyalist. The genealogist will provide direction and guidance. However, being a volunteer like the rest of us, the branch genealogist generally is not free to do the research. You can then submit a certificate application form, available from the branch genealogist, with proofs and a fee to our Dominion Genealogist for review. If all is in order, you will receive a certificate attesting to your Loyalist ancestry.
We have members in several countries, with most of those outside Canada residing in the USA. Some of these members have proved their Loyalist ancestry; others have joined because of an interest in all aspects of the Revolutionary War/Loyalist era. It is intriguing that quite a number of members both in Canada and in other countries have proven ancestors who were Loyalists and others who were Patriots. We can't do anything about the ancestors we have inherited, so why not celebrate them all.
Maybe next year I'll apply for certification with the DAR!
Our first meeting was on Sept. 19th where we had a fantastic lunch with the president of the UELAC as a guest speaker. There were six certificates handed out as well.
Tomorrow will be our second meeting and the guest speaker will be Jennifer Smith UE, Hamilton Branch UELAC.
Last week my husband and I officially became members of the Bicentennial Branch of the UELAC. We received our membership cards along with an invitation to their next luncheon in September.
The Bradt family originated in Norway and went to Holland before coming to the New World in the 1630's. The Loyalist Bradt family lived in the Mohawk Valley in New York. They had a large estate and were considered fairly well-off. After the Revolutionary war broke out, they joined John Butler's Corps of Rangers. They sacrificed everything they owned when they sided with the British. Several of the Bradt men were ranking officers in the Butler's Rangers. Catherine Bradt Butler, who was taken captive by the rebels, along with her children was Col. John Butler's wife.The Bradt families settled in the Niagara region after the war and resumed farming.
There is quite a bit of information about the Bradt family in New Amsterdam on the Olive Tree Genealogy website, hosted by Lorine McGinnis Schultze.
I received an application last summer for membership in the Bicentennial Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada and finally, it's in the mail! I decided to opt for the Family Membership instead of the Individual Membership so that my husband, who will be there anyway because I don't drive, can join in the activities too. I am hoping that he will take more of an interest in his Loyalist heritage as well.