While UELAC membership is available to anyone who wishes to join, only those who can prove direct lineage from a United Empire Loyalist can apply for "UE" status.
Preparing a family history can be a very rewarding experience; bringing together family members, learning stories, and finding out where you come from. But how to begin? Well, if you are researching your ancestry in order to get your UE status, the very first thing is to join your local UEL branch and contact the branch genealogist. They will be able to guide you with regards to the physical documents you will need to supply. However, here are a few pointers for to get an amateur genealogist started!
1. Choose a format to track your family tree. A computer program such as Family Tree Maker, or an online service such as Ancestry.ca, will be vital to store digital scans of documents and pictures, as well as tracking your progress.
2. Start by writing down everything you know for certain. If you are not sure of a few things, jot it down elsewhere until it can be verified.
3. Start talking to family members and ask them what they know. This is a good way of getting stories as well, especially from older family members! Always be sure to record who has told you what, and the date it was discussed.
4. When you have finished compiling the easy part, it is time to get into the real digging! Remember that there are many places to look- local libraries, cemeteries, county archives, parish church records, etc. Always note where you found information, in order to properly cite your sources.
There are many resources out there to assist in your search; start with your UEL branch, and don't forget to check out our links page! And remember that even if you get discouraged you are not finding something right away, keep trying. "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"- when dealing with historical records, you may have changes in spelling of names, or records where the date is given on one record differently than another.