A substitute for Lyme, Connecticut’s missing records?

Lyme, Connecticut’s town meeting records for the Revolutionary era are missing, making it a challenge to document the activities of town residents in that period. The records of the Lyme Public Hall Archives may offer resources to help fill in the gaps. Housed in the Lyme Public Library, the collection includes several manuscripts that appearContinue reading “A substitute for Lyme, Connecticut’s missing records?”

Revolutionary War taxes, Boston

The Boston Public Library has digitized tax lists for 1780, 1782, and 1783. Although these tax lists are from the Revolutionary War period, they can’t automatically be used as “proof” of service for the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution. Why? Because we don’t know when and how the tax money was employed. ToContinue reading “Revolutionary War taxes, Boston”

Resources for tracing patriots of color

This list is a work in progress and will continue to be updated! Rees, John U. ‘They were Good Soldiers’: African-Americans Serving in the Continental Army, 1775-1783. Warwick, England: Helion & Company, 2019. One of the best studies of patriots of color in recent years, the text bookends chapters on the soldiers from each stateContinue reading “Resources for tracing patriots of color”

Why does my ancestor’s residence matter?

Most Revolutionary War companies were recruited locally. Although a regiment may have contained companies from multiple towns or counties, a company was generally organized from residents of one locale. This makes knowing your ancestor’s residence key… Why? If your ancestor didn’t reside in the county or town from which the company was recruited, it’s unlikelyContinue reading “Why does my ancestor’s residence matter?”

What’s a whaleboat – and why does it matter to my Revolutionary War ancestors?

Used in whaling, a whale boat was a small vessel of about 30 ft with a crew of 6. The New Bedford Whaling Museum has an excellent description. During the American Revolution, they were used not for whaling but for raiding. The best know examples occurred between Connecticut and Long Island. Sometimes called the WhaleboatContinue reading “What’s a whaleboat – and why does it matter to my Revolutionary War ancestors?”

Militia or Continental Line?

Land was the biggest driver behind your (non-officer) ancestor’s decision to serve in the militia versus on the Continental Line. In the colonies, land ownership was heavily tied to agriculture. Farming requires oversight, especially New England’s smaller farms. A farm owner would have wanted to onsite as much as possible. Militia service demanded – atContinue reading “Militia or Continental Line?”

What is the Court of Appeal in Cases of Capture?

Privateers played a major role in American naval activities during the American Revolution. With permission from the government, privately owned ships could attempt to capture an enemy ship. If the capture was judged to be legal, the contents and ship would be sold – and the profits redistributed to the crew. At the start ofContinue reading “What is the Court of Appeal in Cases of Capture?”