No one usually sheds a tear for the British Loyalists of Long Island, those inhabitants who remained loyal to the crown during the American Revolution. But genealogist Brendon Burns has spent a tremendous amount of effort tracking them down through libraries and archives across the world.
The result is his five-volume series The Loyal and Doubtful: Index to the Acts of British Loyalism in the Greater New York and Long Island Area 1775-1783 (Independently Published, 2023). It’s a meticulous record of people in the city of New York, Staten Island, and on Long Island, acting in support of King George and the efforts to defeat the revolutionaries.
The Loyal and Doubtful is of a piece with Brendon’s work as a genealogist for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). He helps vet applications for membership, which includes proving that an ancestor demonstrated “unfailing loyalty to the patriotic cause.”
This criteria poses a problem when dealing with occupied Long Island, where swearing an oath to the crown or other public acts of British support could hardly have been avoided.
On this episode, Brendon walks us through the DAR process, the challenges of overcoming loyal acts, and what the surviving records can tell us about life on Long Island during the war.
You can hear the episode online here.
The Long Island History Project is an independent podcast featuring stories and interviews with people passionate about Long Island history. It is hosted by academic librarian Chris Kretz.
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.
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