There are many resources, in the Kingston area and beyond, that can help in your search for information about Loyalist families who settled around here.
The Archives of the Diocese of Ontario house many early church registers. Researchers should bear in mind that until 1832, only Anglican, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergy were allowed to perform marriages: people who normally were Methodist, Congregational or of other Protestant denomination may have been married in a Church of England. As of 2017, the Archives is open only by appointment. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Since it is managed entirely by volunteers, please wait patiently for a response.
Lennox & Addington County Archives
Some Loyalists who settled in “Kingston and District” actually located within Lennox & Addington County to the west of Frontenac County. The extensive Lennox & Addington County Archives, housed in the L&A County Museum — the building itself is an early jail — has recently been renovated and expanded. See the web page of the Lennox & Addington Historical Society www.lennoxandaddingtonhistoricalsociety.ca for details on hours and holdings.
Queen’s University Archives
Queen’s Archives houses many early documents from Kingston and the surrounding area, including Land Copy Books, the Land Grant Index, and the papers of several early families. Of particular note for Loyalist research are the Burleigh Papers, an extensive collection by a local historian of unpublished documentation on the Loyalist families who settled in Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Counties.
The Archives is generally open Monday through Friday. For exact hours, directions, and information on their holdings, see their web site, archives.queensu.ca.
Queen’s Archives have created a number of audio tours that focus on specific communities who settled in the Kingston area. You might find information about Loyalists included in the Indigenous or Black communities. Go to Stones to see what’s there.
Kingston Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
As of March 2019, the library holdings of the Kingston Branch of OGS are housed in the Central Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (see below). This non-circulating collection is available to all members of the public whenever the Central Branch is open. Included are many transcriptions of church registers in the area, indexes and transcriptions of census and cemeteries, and numerous family histories. The material includes a wide geographic range, including several books on the Loyalists as well as materials on early New England and New York settlers who may have become Loyalists.
Kingston Branch, OGS meets eight times per year. Their speakers provide excellent information on a wide range of genealogical topics. Details may be found at their web site https://kingston.ogs.on.ca/.
Kingston Frontenac Public Library
The Central Branch, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston houses not only the collection of the Kingston Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society (see above) but also has a good collection of books on Kingston’s early settlement. See the second-floor Kingston Room. The KFPL catalogue is available on-line at www.kfpl.ca/. The Kingston Branch OGS collection is incorporated into the main catalogue, and their books show the location “GENEAL”.
As of December 2014, KFPL also houses our own Kingston & District Branch UELAC’s library holdings on permanent loan. You will find them in the same area as the OGS library. Our books are identified by a label showing the Loyalist flag.
Suggested keywords for your research may be “Loyalist,” “genealogy” and “family history”. Our UEL library books are identified in the catalogue with the location “UELAC”. (A listing of our books can be found here. This may assist you in planning a research trip to the Library.)
The KFPL web site offers access to Digital Kingston, an on-going project to digitize early newspapers and other Kingston-related materials.
Queen’s University Libraries
Stauffer Library, at the north-west corner of Union Street and University Avenue, houses material that can assist genealogists looking for information on Loyalists, both those who settled in the Kingston area and others across the country. In fact, the library offers a guide to its genealogical resources, at library.queensu.ca/research/guide/genealogy. Its full catalogue is searchable at library.queensu.ca. On-line access to some materials requires a Queen’s staff or student ID. Members of the public living in the Kingston area may obtain a library card that gives borrowing privileges, for a fee.
Douglas Library, at the south-east corner of Union Street and University Avenue, is home to Queen’s Special Collections, which includes many rare and old books. Please check the library web sites for current hours, as they vary during the university year.
United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada
The obvious place to begin learning about Loyalists and how to research them is with the organization that promotes them. At http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Research/Loyalist-Research-Resources.php you will find links to much information about Loyalists, particularly a growing list of “Online Loyalist Resources”.
An answer to the basic question, Am I descended from a Loyalist, may be found in this posting from Ken McKinlay’s blog.
Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa
If you’re just starting family history, Library and Archives Canada have a webpage on “Family Tree or Genealogy for Lineage: Choose a Strategy!” You can link to it here at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/genealogy/how-to-begin/Pages/choose-strategy.aspx.
LAC have also prepared a summary outlining which Loyalist records they hold. It’s well worth reading before anything else. LAC Loyalist Finding Aid
Archives of Ontario, Toronto
Archives of Ontario also has a research guide to Loyalist records available in their collection. Archives of Ontario Loyalists Finding Aid
Brock University Library, Loyalist Collection
This excellent library of Loyalist materials is located in St. Catharines, Ontario, but its catalogue is now on the UELAC website, at www.uelac.org/Friends-Loyalist-Collection-BrockU/index.html. If you can’t find your information in the Kingston area, consider a visit to St. Catharines. For up-to-date information about open hours and location, check the Brock University Library home page.
Journal of the American Revolution
An article posted January 28, 2015 on what life was really like for the Loyalists: http://allthingsliberty.com/2015/01/the-loyalist-refugee-experience-in-canada/.
Frontenac County – GenWeb
GenWeb is a network of pages maintained by genealogists around the world. There are specific pages for each county, including Frontenac County.
A good broad source for genealogical research is always Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Ontario Long Form Birth Certificate
If you are completing an application for certification as descendant of a Loyalist, you will need to include a copy of your own birth documentation showing the names of your parents. For Ontario residents, this means a copy of the Long Form Birth Certificate, NOT the small card you probably carry in your wallet which does not provide parental information. To order Ontario Long Form Birth records, you can download the form from: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-or-replace-ontario-birth-certificate