By Leah Grandy
With a few breakthrough ideas, a group of people with the right skillset at the right place and time, and a dash of serendipity, the project which was to be known as “New Brunswick Loyalist Journeys” came together and became Esri’s story map of January 2018.
In the Microforms Unit at UNB Libraries, we are always trying to invent new ways to showcase how The Loyalist Collection can be utilized by a wide variety of researchers and to engage undergrad students with the depth of primary sources it holds. When we received a Canada Summer Jobs Program Student in 2016, Christine Jack, the Manager of the Microforms Unit, had the idea of creating biographies of loyalists who had settled in York County, New Brunswick. These biographies would demonstrate how the primary sources found in The Loyalist Collection, which contains microform copies of over 600 records from institutions around the world, can be employed to recreate the life stories of refugees of the American Revolution.
The project was born with the arrival of our grant student, Lilian Taylor. We first tasked Lilian with compiling a spreadsheet of possible York County loyalists to profile by using the invaluable index found in Esther Clarke Wright’s book, The Loyalists of New Brunswick. We also were kindly given research time from a Government Documents, Data, and Maps/GIS Unit Student Assistant, Annabelle Babineau, and together, the two students completed initial research on potential candidates for the larger, biographical project. The next step was to have each researcher, including myself, choose a few individuals who “spoke to them” from the compiled list of loyalists who. Little did I know how vibrant and familiar my subject choices would become for me through the research process! You can read more about the research steps followed and sources used for the project in a post from Atlantic Loyalist Connections. Continue reading