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 and increased certification 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.
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.Maybe next year I'll apply for certification with the DAR!
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.
Ancestral Notes by Earline Hines Bradt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.