American Migrations, 1765-1799. The lives, times and families of colonial Americans who remained loyal to the British Crown before, during and after the Revolutionary War, as related in their own words and through their correspondence.by Peter Wilson Coldham. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2000. xiii, 931 pp. Bibliography, index. Hardcover. $75 plus $3.50 p&h.
Between 1765 and 1783 many loyalists left mainland America for Canada, Britain, the West Indies and elsewhere. In 1783 a British Act of Parliament created a formal scheme for the relief of starving and penury loyalists and to examine their claims. The Commissioners offices were set up in London, followed by commissioners going to Halifax, Shelburne, St. John, Quebec City and Montreal to hear claims. The resultant claims records are in Audit Office 12 and 13, plus Treasury records T39 all now at the Public Record Office in Kew.
All 6,255 claims have been abstracted. Each biographical entry shows the name of the claimant as spelled in the original document, with spelling variations, and his or her place of residence before the outbreak of the Revolution. In the book the abstracts are arranged alphabetically by state. This is to facilitate the tying together of particular families. There are sections for the thirteen original colonies plus East and West Florida, Canada and the West Indies.
The abstracts themselves are very detailed showing memorials and claims, often listing military service, and naming lots of individuals. Full source citations are given for all claims.
There is an everyname index with approximately 15,000 names mentioned within the claims. There is also a list of ships used for the transportation of loyalists with date and place of sailing from and to. A useful bibliography emphasizing the general history of American Loyalists is also provided.
This is a valuable resource abstracting a large amount of data from an important group of records for those seeking Loyalists. This volume supersedes earlier works by Coldham and others.
Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000