Do we need a Top Level Category, British Colonial Loyalist?

+8 votes

Do we need a top level Category, British Colonial Loyalist?

This Top level category would cover those who were British Colonial Loyalist. This Category would include sub-categories which include British Colonial Loyalist from all places and era's. Period.

Please read this post for more.

Please and thank you,


Please answer by up voting or down voting the yes answer below.

in The Tree House by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (585k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

1 Answer

+1 vote
Best answer
YES I think we need a top level category British Colonial Loyalist.
by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (585k points)
selected by Pip Sheppard
I have to agree with Dave Rutherford about not making it too broad. I keep seeing (in a different forum) people wanting to call two of my ancestors Loyalist but they were from the UK and enlisted over there and fought for the British here. Then they took land grants in Canada.

A category that was more inclusive than UEL that covers those who didn't go to Canada would be useful but where they otherwise met the requirements.

Ireland was one of the three kingdoms of James I of England, VI of Scotland (the others being England and Scotland — England including Wales at the time). He was king of Ireland, it was part of his realm, not a foreign colony. Ireland has never been a British colony.

The Irish may not agree with you about that! :)

Ireland may not have been a formal colony, but the English rather definitely colonized it.
Hi Mags

I think it might be important to get an understanding of intent of the category and who might be looking to manage it.  British Loyalist infers that the profile associated with it was "British" that is after the period from the creation of Great Britain and remained loyal to the Crown after some period of independence.  The term infers the British Empire period in history, of which Ireland was part of Great Britain, but might also infer the modern Commonwealth.  It might seem to consider "loyalists" of US, including the Black Loyalists ( South Africa, India, Kenya and others.  You might actually say that modern day Australia and New Zealand have "British Loyalists".  Hence I think we need to get an understanding of the intent and scope.
Hi Doug,

This is exactly what I am concerned about. I think any consideration of modern populations in places like Australia as being "Loyalist" basically renders the term (and category) useless.
Would the term include people in Ireland who were a part of the Plantation System? I think there are people in Northern Ireland who could be called Loyalists.

There are so many other places in the world where there are loyalists to the British Crown. To say Australia or New Zealand have there own loyalists is a bit redundant, but there may have been loyalists from elsewhere who settled in both Australia and New Zealand.

I think even one other group of British Loyalists makes the case for a top level category.

The Native Americans fought with the British as a nation or nations not as Loyalists.

I don't see this category as something that's needed, and I think it may even be a bad idea.

Not needed because: What purpose could there be in grouping together the profiles of North American Loyalists of 1776-1783, people of India loyal to the British Empire in the 20th century, etc.? These are unrelated people in different times and places with different interests and motives; they weren't even "loyal" to the same reality or idea of Great Britain, Empire, or Commomwealth, as the British relationship with its colonies,  possessions, territories, etc., has been different in different times and places.

And it may be a bad idea because people can take offense when an ancestor or relative is placed into a category whose definition identifies the person as somerhing contrary to who the person was. Not everyone who has sided with the British in these various places has done so out of loyalty to the British; motives can be far more complex... I'm thinking of the reaction that many of us have had when various groups are declared Black Sheep (including my concern that intelligence operatives are called "Spies and Traitors").

Let's limit the scope of "loyalist" categories to the specific place or situation. Don't put them under one umbrella that would erroneously indicate they had something in common. If there is interest in the theme of British loyalty in colonial places, make a free-space page and create links between that page and the various categories.
Ellen, you have explained my point of view more eloquently than I could.

I think the Kenyan settlers belong under a Kenyan category and the Maharajahs should be a sub category of Indian history etc.

I agree with David and Ellen. The category British Colonial Loyalist is not accurate for a description of a loyalist during the American Revolutionary War.

Some clarifications are needed here:

During the American Revolutionary War, a "loyalist" or a "Tory" was anyone who lived in the Thirteen Colonies during the war and "sided with the British" - meaning they did not side with the Continental Congress. Now to clarify even further, if the Colonist was not on the side of the Continental Congress, they were automatically deemed to be a "Tory." This included those who were neutral, such as Quakers.

Those enlisted as soldiers with the British Army (British Regulars), or sailors with the British Navy, as well as Hessians, Brunswickers and Waldeckers were not considered loyalists. These men were all employed -paid- to do a job which was to fight against the Americans. They were career soldiers or sailors.

An American Loyalist was someone who lived in the Thirteen Colonies (didn't have to be born there) during the ARW, sided with the British during the ARW, and remained in the newly-formed United States of America after the war. 

United Empire Loyalist was someone who lived in the Thirteen Colonies before April 19, 1775; was loyal to the Crown - served in a militia or provided some other service during the war to the Crown; and moved to Canada during the ARW or shortly thereafter. 

Lord Dorchester's proclamation clearly stated those whom were loyal to the Crown during the ARW and came to Canada were United Empire Loyalists - because of their loyalty to the unity of the empire. The Loyalist ancestor was the one who used the post-nominal U.E.L.

The descendants of the U.E.L use the post-nominal U.E. 

This is the only hereditary title recognized in Canada, and why it should be allowed as a suffix on a WikiTree profile.

Mags, perhaps British North America Loyalist would be a better descriptor for a top level category.

Kathryn Hogan's answer Jun 18, 2018 is excellent - best of the entire discussion!

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