Saturday, 19 September 2015

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part VI

Updated 2015-11-20, a new 54,000 item index was just put online by LAC!

The sixth in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.

Step 5. Access free UEL record indexes and records online

By the end of Step 4, if successful, you have a candidate UEL. You can continue to work backwards chronologically as well as attempting to work forward from the UEL (which is considerably easier, just remember not to discount anything that may indicate your link to the UEL is not valid).

The easiest thing to access for most UELs are their loss claims and land petition records. Search whichever of the following databases match the locations identified for your UEL family:
And, Ancestry has a database indexing the following claims records, but you can manually view the scanned typescript nominal indexes for free:

If you get hits in an index-only database - and remember, there are often different people with the same name -- look at the details (for the databases: either displayed in the hits table or via a linked screen). The details should provide basic information (like date, name, and township, which is very useful) and then some sort of item number, typically the volume/bundle and page/item number of the record in the original manuscripts. In some cases the database links directly to an image (hopefully there will be more image links in the future). If there is no image in the databases, it will provide a microfilm reel code (usually a letter followed by a four or five digit number).

(In the typescript index, you need to carefully write down the name and all bundle, volume, page and item number information and then do a lookup which I will discuss after first explaining how to access the Land Petition records.)

The records provided online for free consist, essentially, of large digital photo albums of the images from the microfilms. There is a trick to navigating these large image banks.

To locate an individual record you look at the volume and page/item numbers in the index details, then open the virtual "reel" (see below for links to collections of reels which are scanned and available online) and check how many images it contains (usually about a thousand). Go to the page/image number box and enter a number that is about half the total (i.e. 500). Look at that image and scroll down to the bottom (sometimes look to the right side instead) where there should be a little typewritten label below the manuscript document that was filmed. The label will indicate the volume for that item and may indicate the page or item number; if not, the page/item number will be written or stamped on the document (check top right corner first).

If the volume and page number you are looking falls after the one you want, go to a page halfway between the start and where you are now (i.e. page/image 250). If you are before where you need to be in the sequence, go in the other direction (i.e. 750). Check to see if that item is before or after the one you want and then repeat this process -- you can get to the record you want much more quickly than navigating through every single image of the album in order.

Almost all Land Petition microfilms in the above series, with the exception of New Brunswick and PEI (which is very small), are available online via the index or as scans through archived LAC sites or the Héritage project. Once an index has given you a reel number, check these sites to see if the reel is in one of these online collections. (On the Héritage project site you can just type the reel number into the search box and it will pop up if it is there.)
To access claims in the Audit Office records (which you identified by checking the scanned typewritten indexes) uses fundamentally the same navigational approach described above. For AO 12, transcriptions of the original claims (which are at the National Archives UK) in the surviving volumes (1-2, 5, 7, 10-12, 15-16, 18, 23, 25-27, 57, 59-63, 98-99, 109 and 123-124) were filmed onto three very large reels when the original paper transcription became brittle. The three rolls are available online for free. Your index search should have provided a volume number (and a page/item number), determine which of the following reels you need to access (then navigate by halves until you hit the right volume and page of interest):

  • C-12903 (2803 pages), vol. 1-vol. 16 page 420
  • C-12904 (2123 pages), vols. 18-99
  • C-12905 (959 pages), images up to 285 are AO 12 vols. 109 and 123-124

If you found a name in AO 13 on the LAC website, there is good news and bad news. Firstly, it is good to know that most of the material in AO 13 repeats what is in AO 12. However, while the extant volumes (1-100, 102-140) were microfilmed, only a transcribed selection of material is in the microfilm reel which is available online for free:
While it is unfortunate that the full set is not online, you can order the specific microfilm reel you need (and it is a microfilm of the original records, not a transcription) to your local Family History Centre (or check to see if the films are in the holdings of an institution in your area).

Finally, other easy to access online collections worth checking include:
The final step is to try to identify if your UEL or their descendants left wills which link the generations together and provide additional information.

Continue to Step 6...

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