Friday, August 8, 2014

Looking for United Empire Loyalist Ancestors

I watched the Who Do You Think You Are? episode featuring Rachel and Kayleen McAdams on Wednesday night, and enjoyed the story of their search, especially the Canadian aspects of their story.  During the broadcast, I wondered "Why do they use American expert genealogists for the Canadian segments - where are the Canadian experts?"

Kathryn Lake Hogan, a professional genealogist in Ontario, and author of the Looking4Ancestors blog, asked the same question in her post "Where Were the Canadian Experts in WDYTYA? Rachel McAdams Episode?" yesterday. Helpfully, Kathryn provided a link to the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada (UELAC - website in her blog post.

I have been receiving the UELAC weekly email newsletter for several years hoping for information about my Kemp, Dafoe, Hutchinson and Sovereen ancestors who migrated to Canada, but I haven't really delved into the website.

Here's my first look at the UELAC website home page -

There are links on the left-hand side for information about UELAC, and also a Loyalist Directory, information about Resources and other features.

I clicked on the "Loyalist directory" link and the "Information on the Loyalists" page opened:

The actual directory of Loyalists is found by clicking the "Click here..." link - that gets to the "Directory of Loyalists:"

There are letters for alphabetical surnames across the top of the page above.

I wanted to see the Dafoe name, so I clicked on the D letter.  The D surname list opened, and I scrolled down to the Dafoe entries:

Abraham Dafoe is my 5th great-grandfather.  Here is what this directory has for him (two screens):

There is a lot of information here about Abraham Dafoe, and links to additional information - two biographical reports, military details of his service, the UELAC certificate application, etc.  In addition, there is another listing for Abraham Dafoe down the list, which includes the "where resettled" information:

"lot 10, con 1 Fredericksburgh Twp, Cataraqui Twp #3 (later Addington Co. ON)"

The UELAC website does not have the actual records for the land grant, and I've looked at the Libraries and Archives Canada website, but I can't figure out if those land grants are digitized and in an online database.  I'm sure my Canadian friends with more knowledge can tell me where to find them - either online, on microfilm or in person.

I recalled that Lorine McGinnis Schulze had posted 10 Ways to Find Your Loyalist Ancestor on 21 June 2014 on her Olive Tree Genealogy Blog.  I'm going to start there!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Ken McKinlay said...


The Library and Archives Canada web site is sometimes very confusing to use. Even I still have issues locating where they have hidden some of the digitized records.

In the "Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865" database on the LAC web site ( there is an entry for a Abraham Dafoe that submitted a petition in 1797 from Fredericksburg area. The petition is in volume 150, bundle D 3, petition 12 in the RG 1 L3 collection on microfilm C-1743. Those books have been digitized but have not been indexed for searching on the LAC web site at so it is like going through a microfilm but with a computer. Within the digitized microfilm of C-1743 starting at page 5 you will find Abraham Dafoe's petition.

Hope this helps. If you need any further assistance, just let me know.

Ken McKinlay UE
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

BDM said...

Randy, maybe it's OK to mention my book here: United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Your Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada. It's published by/available from Global Heritage Press at Best wishes with uncovering your ancestor!
Brenda Dougall Merriman

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Randy - LAC is tricky to use. I have 3 tutorials on finding your Loyalist Land Petition using LAC.

You can view the actual images by following my step by step instructions. The first one is here

Have fun!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Sorry I hit enter before I was done. When you find the images for your ancestors' land petitions, be sure you save the image of the envelope. I have a tutorial explaining how to interpret it and what it all means at

Jana Iverson Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a wonderful weekend!