Seeing Clear Across the Border: Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley

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Date(s) - 13/06/2020
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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The OGS has decided to cancel its in-person annual conference given the coronavirus pandemic. Our sponsored speaker, Garry Finkell, has kindly agreed to deliver his talk over Zoom on Saturday, June 13th, at 2 pm EDT. Join us as Garry explores his own German Palatine ancestors who came to the Hudson Valley in 1710 and later moved to Ontario as United Empire Loyalists. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Genealogy is like archaeology: the deeper we dig, the more layers of history we uncover. The further back in time we trace, the greater is our understanding of our present family.

Garry’s Finckel/Finkle ancestors were among the 3,000 Palatine Germans who arrived in New York in 1710, and he believed they had always lived in New York. In doing further research, he was puzzled to find a large number of relatives with the same surname who lived in Ontario, and he set out to learn when this migration occurred and why it happened. During the course of his research, he started seeing references to his family as “United Empire Loyalists.”

What did this mean both in American history and in his own family? Continued research revealed that his family were not the only Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley — there were many. He discovered that many Canadian descendants of Palatine Loyalists do not know about their German ancestry because their Loyalist ancestors were one or two generations removed from their original ancestor’s immigration from Germany.

This presentation highlights the persistent cross-border connections between Ontario and New York State, and reminds us that our long-buried roots are often more diverse than we realize.