Notwithstanding its "United States" moniker, America has a long tradition of political division, stretching back to the nation's very formation. Two hundred years before states splintered off into red or blue, and a century before the Civil War tore the country in two, American colonists were bitterly divided over whether the nation should exist at all. The colonists split into two camps:
American slaves had a particular incentive to fight on the Loyalist side, because the British army offered enslaved men freedom in return for military service.
While the memory of the Patriots has been enshrined in American history, finding information on Loyalist individuals and families -- many of whom left the U.S. after the American victory -- can be more challenging.
This guide identifies the primary resources for researching Loyalist ancestors. It is intended primarily for genealogy researchers who:
This guide may also be useful to scholars conducting more general research on the history of Loyalist activities. It is organized into the following categories: