Week 47 of 52 Ancestors has the theme \”Soldier\”. This post I decided to look at a database on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick\’s website. If your Loyalist ancestor went to New Brunswick, you\’ll want to check out the database Records of Old Revolutionary Soldiers and Their Widows. After the Revolutionary War that gave the United States gained their independence, many of those who fought for the British were granted land in New Brunswick. However, by the 1830s, many of these soldiers and their widows were destitute. In 1839 the Hose of Assembly established a relief fund for them. To receive 10 pounds per year, they had to meet certain requirements. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB) have provided links to images of the Act:
The database consists of applications, correspondence, and payment schedules. The applicants had to apply to their county council. Not all records have survived. This database contains application records from:
- RS146 Albert County Council Records
- RS148 Charlotte County Council Records
- RS153 Northumberland County Council Records
- RS154 Queens County Council Records
- RS157 Sunbury County Council Records
The PANB have also drawn records from the record sets RS566 Provincial Secretary: Old Soldiers and Widows Pension Administration Records, RS9 Executive Council Meeting Files, and RS24 Sessional Records of the Legislative Assembly. These record sets contained applications, correspondence and payments schedules. The Archives have a disclaimer that says
\”…For this project, we have identified all records relating to the old Revolutionary Soldiers, however there are a few documents which refer to the individual simply as an \”old soldier\”. This is ambiguous since it could mean the soldier was a veteran of the War of 1812-14. We have included these erring on the side of providing more rather than less information…\”
In other words, just because your ancestor is in here, it does not mean he was a Revolutionary War soldier. More research may be required.
Thanks to a collaboration between PANB and the Department of Canadian Heritage, this database is indexed. Just type in the name of your ancestor and you can get 1 to 20 links to digitized documents.
So, go to the Search Screen:
Now, you have a few ways to search. You can search by Name or by County. A third option is to click on one of the record sets and browse. My 5x great grandfather Charles McLaughlin is a suspected Revolutionary War soldier. So, I\’m going to use him for the different search methods.
This section is an index of all surnames. What you do is click on the first letter of you ancestor\’s surname. My 5x great grandfather Charles McLaughlin is a suspected Revolutionary War soldier. So, I\’m going to use him for this section. When I went to the M\’s, I got a list of all M surnames alphabetized. I scrolled down and found a Charles McLaughlin who lived in Gloucester County. This corresponds to my Charles.
I clicked on the + beside his name and got this result:
The images with check marks are the ones that contain Charles\’ name. Clicking each one opens a digital image in a new window. You can then download the image to your computer. The first image is an application detailing that Charles\’ service. He served in the 76th Regiment in New York, commanded by Captain James Fraser. He was discharged in 1783. He is claiming for relief from Oct 4 1840 to Dec 4 1841, in the amount of 10 pounds.
The second document is correspondence informing Of Charles\’ death in 1842.
The third document is a schedule of payments. The PANB has helpfully included pages of the whole document for context. The page that he appears on is the check marked one.
This section allows you to look at the surviving records for each county. Click on the County name, and it will list all soldiers traced to that County. When I clicked on Gloucester County, the only other surviving records besides Charles is for someone not in my line. So I decided to look at Restigouche County to find a collateral ancestor. I have another possible Loyalist ancestor in New Brunswick, my 4x great grandfather William Ferguson. William and his brother Thomas both settled in New Brunswick after the War. William did extremely well, and became a prominent figure in the Tracadie area of Gloucester County. He had no need to apply for relief. His brother Thomas, however, did not do nearly as well. The story is that Thomas had to leave Tracadie to escape creditors in the early 1800s, and eventually settled in Restigouche County. When I clicked on Restigouche County, I found a Thomas Ferguson. He appeared on several payment schedules until his death in his 90\’s.
By Record Set
This section allows you to browse some of the record sets. Click on the available record set and you can narrow your browsing from there:
- RS566 Provincial Secretary: Old Soldiers and Widows Pension Administration Records- lets you browse by County and then year
- RS148 Charlotte County Council Records- browse by years 1841-1846
- RS153 Northumberland County Council Records- browse by years 1839-1871
- RS154 Queens County Council Records- browse by years 1839-1857
- RS9 Executive Council (Cabinet) Meeting Files- browse by meeting date from 11 November 1843 to 25 October 1871
- RS24 Sessional Records of the Legislative Assembly- browse reports from 1838 to 1855, and petitions from 1838 to 1856