UEL Edmonton
To preserve the History, Heritage, and Legacy of the United Empire Loyalists

By: UEL Edmonton | May 04, 2016

By Alexander Roman Ph.D. Senior Researcher Government Members' Services Queen's Park, Toronto

The original United Empire Loyalists were colonists living in British North America who left their home and fled to Canada in the aftermath of the American Revolution in the eighteenth century. The Loyalists, as their name already implies, wished to remain faithful subjects of the Crown and under the legal and legislative institutions that derived from the Crown. They came to Canada so they could continue to live under those same institutions and to escape persecution for their loyalty by the American republicans. Others came to escape slavery. The Loyalists were of diverse cultural backgrounds and included individuals of Aboriginal, English, French, African American, Dutch, German and other ancestry. The Loyalists were thus Canada's first multicultural immigrants and so reflect profoundly contemporary Canadian society. The Loyalists settled Ontario and established many hamlets and towns there that later grew into large cities. Ontario universities and colleges, law courts, a system of landholding and the provincial legislature all have their ultimate origin in Loyalist roots and hard work. The Constitutional Act of June 19th, 1791 created the province of Upper Canada, or Ontario as we know it today, and this law came into being as a direct result of Loyalist influence. This law secured the protection of the Crown for the cultural, legal and religious rights of the mainly Francophone citizens of Lower Canada, or Quebec, as it is known today. In Upper Canada, it established a system of land tenure as well as a court system modelled on British Common Law that continues in Ontario to this day. The Loyalists fought against subsequent American invasions into Canada. The Loyalists were instrumental in developing a distinctive national identity that was, and is, uniquely Canadian. They established their own Loyalist tradition that has always been proudly handed down to their Loyalist descendants. Such descendants are privileged to place the letters, "U.E." (meaning, "Unity of the Empire"), indicating their Loyalist lineage, after their surnames.
The Loyalists are so closely connected with Ontario's founding and development that it would be no exaggeration in the least to say that Ontario, as we know it today, would simply not exist were it not for the Loyalists. This is why Mr. Harry Danford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Hastings/Peterborough, himself of Loyalist ancestry, in cooperation with the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, developed a Private Member's Bill to declare June 19th , the anniversary of the Constitutional Act, "United Empire Loyalist Day" in the province of Ontario. Mr. Danford's Bill was given Royal Assent and passed into law in December, 1997 with unanimous, all-party support in the Legislature. June 19th is now an official day formally established by the Ontario Government to commemorate and celebrate our Loyalist heritage. That heritage is one that belongs to all citizens of Ontario, of all cultural backgrounds, whether their ancestors were Loyalists or not. As the great visionaries and builders of Ontario, the Loyalists worked on behalf of all citizens of that province and country. As we have seen, the Loyalist heritage is itself a multicultural one that led to the social and political development of Canada with our bilingual, multicultural and regional traditions under the unity of a Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy - both courageously defended and zealously preserved for us by the Loyalists. We owe much to the United Empire Loyalists. On June 19th, each year we have an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the heritage and tradition of the Loyalists and express, each in our unique way, our gratitude to their self-sacrificing dedication to Ontario and Canada. Like so many Canadians today, the Loyalists were immigrants in a new land. We remember them and their descendants for their many ongoing achievements, the most important one being, of course, the great society in which we are all privileged to live. On June 19th, we celebrate this great, living heritage that continues in the descendants of the Loyalists and which also implies members of succeeding multicultural immigrations to Canada. Ontario's Coat of Arms has always given silent witness to the importance of the Loyalists heritage in our history and in our contemporary society with the words of the Motto: "Ut incepit fidelis, sic permanet," or, " Loyal in the beginning, loyal remaining!" 

Category: Loyalist Heritage 

Tags: uelac, yeg 

By: UEL Edmonton | May 01, 2016

Desk of the Genealogist

One of the most difficult connections to make when proving your lineage to a loyalist is that of the grand child or great grandchild. Often this is a time when primary records are difficult to find as the time period is before civil registration which means other sources have to be found. The following suggestions were prepared by Rod Craig of the Col. Butler Branch

Genealogical Tip: - Finding the Grandchild of the Loyalist

Suggested sources to search when attempting to connect the grandchild of the Loyalist to his or her parents (the daughter or son of the UE Loyalist)

A. Census – if the DUE or SUE died after 1851 look at all censuses prior to the death to see if the child and DUE/SUE are living together. The Canadian Census Records are available online at Ancestry.ca and most public libraries offer computer access to the site.

B. Wills – Did the DUE/SUE leave a Will naming children or did the Loyalist leave a Will naming the grandchild/grandchildren?
Archives Ontario has created an excellent guide to the information available at the Archives of Ontario. 
Check the website http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/index.aspx  Select “Tracing Your Family History” and click “The Records” on the drop down list at the left. Scroll down to “Estate Files” and click on the pdf “How to find a Will” an excellent guide.
Begin your search in the year the person died and then move forward in time, often a will was probated or an estate administered years after the death. 
Many branches of the Ontario Genealogical Society have indexed early Wills in their area so check the Branch Publications List in the area(s) where the family lived. 

C. Land Registry Records and Abstracts –You must know the county, township, concession and lot number of the land that the DUE/SUE lived on or was granted to search the land records. 
Archives Ontario has created guides available on the Archives of Ontario website: 
Go to http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/index.aspx select “Tracing Your Family History
and in the list at the left click “The Records”, several groups of records are listed.
Under “Land Records” you will find links to guides for: 
a. Crown Records  - Select “Crown Land Records Introduction”, the amount of available information is incredible and guide #205 “How to Use the Ontario Land Record Index ca.1780-ca.1920 in Word & PDF is excellent. Guide #215 “From Grant to Patent: A Guide to Early Land Settlement Records ca. 1790 to ca. 1850” in Word & PDF is very useful. In addition to information about accessing the Crown Grants it will help you access the Upper Canada Sundries and the Township Papers.
b. Second Heir & Devisee  - the online index database of 5184 Case Files plus the guide is available through this link.
c. Land Registry Records - guide #231 “Finding Land Registration Records” is very useful and lists all Registry Offices in Ontario.

D. Family Bibles – If you are fortunate and find the child of an SUE/DUE listed in a family bible, look at the publication date, if that date is after the entries took place and/or if the entries are all in the same handwriting they were probably entered by one person at a later date and therefore might be inaccurate.

E. Other Family Members - if you know the name of a brother or sister of the person that you are researching, you might be able to find a record that connects that sister or brother to their parents. If you find such a record try to locate an additional record that connects the brother or sister to the person that you are researching that would provide proof for the connection to the parent. 
Be sure to check all library and archival collections in the area(s) that you are researching.

Category: Desk of the Genealogist 

Tags: uelac, yeg 

By: UEL Edmonton | April 21, 2016

Until 1769, the Island of St. John was part of Nova Scotia. The first European settlers were Acadians. In 1767, the island was divided into 67 townships and granted to 17 friends of the Crown, who were supposed to settle the island and pay quit rents to the government. These people and their descendants were the notorious "absentee landlords" who took the blame for the slow development of the island, and for resulting problems islanders hoped Confederation with Canada would solve in 1872. Orlo Jones states that the population of the island at the time of its separation from Nova Scotia in 1769 was 18 English and 204 French. Cpt. Walter Patterson was the first Governor.
In 1776, four companies of Provincials, under the command of Major H. Hurlihy, were sent from New York to defend the island. In 1779, these were the first Loyalists to petition the government for land. Their petition was denied, although five other proprietors were allowed to purchase land in 1781. In June 1783, the proprietors agreed to relinquish a quarter of their land, amounting to 109,000 acres, to the government so that it could be granted to deserving Loyalists and disbanded soldiers. In October of that year, in the mistaken belief that the British government was going to furnish passage to any Loyalists who wished to come to St. John's Island, Governor Patterson issued the following message throughout British North America:
Whereas the Proprietors of this Island have very generously given up a considerable portion of their estates to be distributed among such of the Refugees, Provincial Troops or other American Emigrants, as are desirous to become its inhabitants, the lands to be granted by the Governor and Council in the same proportion and on the same terms as are offered in Nova Scotia, and to be given out of the different townships by Lot; in the fairest and most equitable manner, according to the quantity assigned for by each proprietor. ...in a few days after [the Refugees’] arrival at Charlottetown, they shall be put in possession of such lands, as they shall be entitled to, free of every expense. That they may depend upon the lands being good, neither mountainous, rocky nor swampy, contiguous to navigable harbours, many ports convenient for the fishery, and in every respect preferable to any lands unoccupied throughout His Majesty's American Dominion. 

2016 UELAC Conference - Loyalist, Lighhouses & Lobsters

This summer the 2016 UELAC Conference is in Summerside PEI hosted by the Branches of the Atlantic Region: Abegweit, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on July 7-10.  This year is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the rich history of the location and the heritage of the loyalist ancestors.  For information about the conference, including the registration form:
Loyalists, Lighthouses, Lobsters

Category: Sunday Edition 

Tags: uelac, yeg 

By: UEL Edmonton | April 19, 2016

Since St. John’s Island belonged to a few dozen English landowners who had little use for the Government of Halifax (Nova Scotia), the island seceded from Nova Scotia in 1769, and was established as a separate colony under the direct authority of the British government. According to a census conducted by surveyor Alexander Morris in 1768, there were still 203 Acadians on St. John’s Island, but only eleven Englishmen! This is because most of the landlords did not live on the island, but had remained in England.
Little by little, small groups of English-speaking settlers arrived, followed by Scottish immigrants, most of whom came from Uist and settled in the former parish of Saint-Louis-du-Nord-Est, which they renamed Scotchfort. In 1773, the colony of St. John’s Island was granted the right to elect its own Legislative Assembly, but the Acadians and Irish were excluded on account of their Catholic faith, and were likewise forbidden to vote or own land until 1789. Frequent debates raged at the Legislative Assembly between the Scottish reformists, who were massively "anti-landlord," and the English conservatives, who generally supported the landowners' rights. Most of the Acadian settlers were driven off their property, which was subsequently divided among the landlords.
As of 1784, another 500 Loyalists, many of them soldiers discharged from the King's Rangers, settled on St. John’s Island. The following year, Loyalists founded Summerside, which to this day is the island's second largest city. Along with Irish and Scottish settlers, they witnessed the growth of the colony's modest population and its increasing prosperity, thanks to the timber trade, naval construction, fishing, and farming. The most commonly spoken languages were English, Scottish, Irish, and French.

In 1798, the name St. John’s Island was replaced with Prince Edward Island in honour of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (1767–1820), son of King George III and father of Queen Victoria. At the time, the Prince was commander of the British troops in Halifax.
Source: https://slmc.uottawa.ca/?q=arrival_loyalists

2016 UELAC Conference - Loyalist, Lighhouses & Lobsters

This summer the 2016 UELAC Conference is in Summerside PEI hosted by the Branches of the Atlantic Region: Abegweit, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on July 7-10.  This year is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the rich history of the location and the heritage of the loyalist ancestors.  For information about the conference, including the registration form:
Loyalists, Lighthouses, Lobsters

Category: Loyalist History 

Tags: uelac, yeg 

By: UEL Edmonton | April 18, 2016

Northern Lights

Pulling Together Your Family History 2016 AGS GenFair

Date: 23 April 2016
Time: 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, AGM at 4:00 PM
Where: Royal Canadian Legion, 
5204‒51 Ave, Drayton Valley, AB

Held every two-years, the AGS GenFair is a genealogical ‘open-house’. The location changes throughout Alberta, and this year it is located in beautiful Drayton Valley, Alberta situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. 

The concept of having this outreach program is to promote the interest in genealogy and for the public to find answers to their questions: 
  • “What is genealogy and family history?” 
  • “Can DNA really assist in some of my genealogical challenges?” 
Several members and vendors will help answer your queries and many others like them through one-on-one conversations, computer look-ups, and presentations. There are door prizes, merchandise for sale, community think-tanks and so much more.

Keynote speaker will be Ronald Kelland, Historical Places Officer and Geographical Names Program Coordinator of the Historical Resources Management Branch, Alberta Culture and Tourism.  His talk will center on geographical place names and where lakes, rivers and areas get their names from. 
Other speakers during the day will be AGS President, Susan Haga and 1st vice-president, Lianne Kruger.

Hosted By:  Drayton Valley Branch, of the Alberta Genealogical Society

To register: http://www.abgenealogy.ca/dv-registration?id=1105
UEL Edmonton will have an information table onsite.  Come visit us!

From the Desk of Our Genealogist  

Research in the Niagara region of Southern Ontario
For anyone doing Loyalist and family history in Southern Ontario, Brock University in St. Catharines Ontario has a large collection of historical maps of the Niagara region. These maps can be of great value when researching Loyalists ancestors who settled in that part of Southern Ontario. https://brocku.ca/maplibrary/HistoricalMaps/Historical_Maps_Niagara.php

Searching “United Empire Loyalists” brings up 589 search results. https://brocku.ca/library
All paper maps and atlases may be searched using the James A. Gibson Library Catalogue. http://catalogue.library.brocku.ca/search/X?SEARCH=&SORT=D&b=map 

Edmonton at Night

Category: Sunday Edition 

Tags: uelac, yeg