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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Manitoba Ancestors by Laura Hanowski. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Railway Lands 1879-1896
To encourage the railway companies to build rail lines across western Canada the government offered six railway companies a free grant of 6,400 acres for every mile of rail that they built. With the passing of the Dominion Land Policy” the railway land was designated as the odd numbered sections in each township within 24 miles of the proposed rail line. The exceptions were Sections 11 and 29 which were designated as school lands. Not all land reserved for the railway was taken by the railway. Sometimes they took land in other areas and the original land was given as homesteads. Subsequent transactions are found at the Land Titles office.
The records for those who purchased land from the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) are found at Glenbow Archives, 130 9th Avenue South East, Calgary, AB T2G 0P3. These records are very fragile but a database has been created that contains an extraction with the information found in the records. The information can be accessed by name or land location.
The names of books that have information about railway land and other railway companies that took part in this program can be found on the Peel database.
- Douglas, Althea and J. Creighton Douglas. Canadian Railway Records: A Guide for Genealogists. Toronto: The Ontario Genealogical Society, 1994.
School Lands 1872-1930
Sections 11 and 29 in every township were designated as school land. The money raised from the sale of this land was to finance schools in the township. Records for these sales are found in the Land Titles office. In Manitoba some of the early land that was designated as school land was already settled by homesteaders so other land in the township was designated as school land.
Crown Land Records at the National Archives
Western Canada Land Grants circa 1870-1930
The National Archives of Canada retain copies of the Letters Patent that were issued by Lands Patent Branch of the Department of the Interior. These refer to grants issued in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia. The grants contain the name, address, land location, date of issue, fiat number and homestead number. A database for these grants can be found on the LAC website.Search the database by name or land location. The grants are found on microfilm which can be ordered through interlibrary loan.
- The grants were issued only to those who received letters patent.
- This grant is the same document that you will find as the first document in Land Titles office.
- There are errors BUT is useful to find how the surname was spelled in the homestead file.
- Use the database to find where the family settled in western Canada.
- Use the database to find if other members of the family received grants and to find the neighbours who may be future members of the family.}}
Manitoba Act 1870
Under the Manitoba Act 1870 grants were made to “original white settlers” occupying land in Manitoba as of 15 July 1870. In 1874 this was amended to include the children surviving in 1874 who had settled between 1813 and 1835 in the Red River country or any part of the old North-West Territories which was in north west Manitoba. The records for these grants are found on microfilm at the Library and Archives Canada, RG 15, D ll 2, Volumes 140-169. The microfilm numbers are C 14902-C 14924. These films may be borrowed through interlibrary loan at your local library. Copies of these microfilms are also found at the Archives of Manitoba. You may also see digitised images of the documents on the LAC website as Metis Scrip.
Colonization Companies 1881-1890
To promote colonization the government passed legislation 23 December 1881 to create colonizationcompanies. For $2 per acre they were able to buy land in the odd-numbered sections 24 miles north of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Within five years they were required to locate two settlers on the odd and even numbered sections in their tracts of land. The even numbered sections were still Crown land. If the company fulfilled this agreement they were to receive $160 dollars for each settler who established residence in their tract of land. This government-sponsored settlement scheme was a failure so it was discontinued in 1890.
The colonization companies in Manitoba were Shell River Colonization Company, Scottish, Ontario and Manitoba Land Company, Hamilton and North West Colonization Society, Allan Line, John Ralston, Dominion Steamship Company, Rev. L.O. Armstrong and Messrs. Sowden and Company. Few records for these companies survive but the register of land grants to colonization companies in Manitoba are found at the Library and Archives Canada in the Department of the Interior files RG 15, D III 23. You can find reference to these on Library and Archives Canada website,checking finding aid 15. The records are on microfilm and can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. LAC has a finding aid available for sale titled “Records on Commercial Land Companies and the Settlement of Western Canada: A Guide for Researchers” November 1987.
Land Grants to Veterans of the South African (Boer) War 1898-1913
These were grants of 320 acres of land offered to Canadian volunteers and the nurses who served in the Boer War in South Africa 1899-1902. There were no fees but they had to comply with the homestead regulations. The records are part of the homestead files and can be identified as Volunteer Bounty Grants. Subsequent transactions are found at the Land Titles Office.
Land Grants to Veterans of World War 1 1917-1924
Soldiers who had served in World War 1 were eligible to receive 160 acres of land. There were no fees but they had to comply with the homestead regulations. The records are found in the homestead files. The Application for Entry for a Soldier Grant contains the Regimental Number, the discharge date and number and the name and address of whom to contact in case the soldier was unable to complete the settlement duties. Subsequent transactions are found at the Land Titles Office.
Soldier Settlement Act, 1917 and 1919
The Soldier Settlement Act in 1917 enabled veterans to borrow up to $2,500 to acquire livestock and equipment to begin farming or to pay for debts they incurred before their military service.
Under the Soldier Settlement Act of 1919 the Soldier Settlement Board purchased blocks of land which would then be made available for the veteran’s to purchase at five per cent per annum. The records for these loans made under the Soldier Settlement Act are part of the military papers.
Morgan, E.W. “Soldier Settlement in the Prairie Provinces.” Saskatchewan History 21 (1968).
Manitoba Land Titles
The registration of land in Manitoba has been recorded under two systems.
The Old System
Under the Old System, begun on 15 July 1870, a person received Letters Patent or a Crown Grant which he took to a land titles office to register his ownership. When the land was conveyed to the next owner a deed, sometimes called a conveyance, was created. A deed provided the names of the parties and the description of the land as well the parties’ addresses and occupations. When a deed was registered under the Old System, two copies were brought to the land titles office. The deed was given a number and stamped with a registration certificate with the date and time of registration written on it. One copy was returned to the land owner and the other was kept at the Land Titles Office where it was entered in an abstract book. The information recorded for each deed included the deed number, its date, date and time of registration , names of grantors and grantee, consideration or price, and remarks. There is a fee to search each deed.
The New System
The New System was adopted in 1885 and registered the first entry in 1886. The number in the upper right corner serves as the identification and filing tool for the current deed. The name and address of the owner appears under the provincial crest. The legal land description is found in the centre of the title. On the back of the page is the summary of mortgages and other documents which may affect the land. On the top left hand side of the page is the number of the title immediately preceding the one you are viewing and toward the right is the number of the transfer that conveyed the title to the one you are searching. These numbers are used to trace the history of each parcel of land. There is a fee to search each deed.
Manitoba Land Titles Offices
The six land title offices in Manitoba that have the information for their districts. Historical searches can be conducted by tracing each ownership for a piece of property back to the original owner. There is a fee for each title in the chain of titles. These searches are conducted by staff in each office. Beginning in 1988 titles were created electronically. These titles can be searched online through the Personal Property Registry (PPR) after setting up an account with Manitoba Online. In order to access a particular property you must have the legal land description, the current title number, document registration number or the name of the owner. Titles for those whose owners have put their name on a protected name list cannot be searched electronically.
Searching land records often helps genealogists solve family dilemmas such as death dates and places, finding where families moved when they left the homestead or property, the possible location of wills, and land ownership disputes.
Brandon Land Titles Office
- 705 Princess Avenue
- Brandon, Manitoba R7A 0P4
- Telephone: (204) 726-6279
Neepawa Land Titles Office
- 329 Hamilton Street
- Neepawa, Manitoba R0J 1H0
- Telephone: (204) 476-7040
Dauphin Land Titles Office
- 308 Main Street
- South Dauphin, Manitoba R7N 1K7
- Telephone: (204) 622-2084
Portage Land Titles Office
- 25 Tupper Street
- North Portage la Prairie, Manitoba R1N 3K1
- Telephone: (204) 239-3306
Morden Land Titles Offices
- 351 Stephen Street
- Morden, Manitoba R6M 1V1
- Telephone: (204) 822-2920
Winnipeg Land Titles Office
- 276 Portage Ave
- Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
- Telephone: (204) 945-2042
- Evans, C.A. “Land Records and Registration in Manitoba.” Generations,The Journal of the Manitoba Genealogical Society 9 (Winter 1984).
- Finding Aid: Records on Commercial Land Companies and the Settlement of Western Canada. Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1987.
- Hedges, James Blaine. Building the Canadian West: The Land and Colonization Policies of the Canadian Pacific Railway. New York: Macmillan Company, 1939.
- Lalonde, Andre. “Colonization Companies in the 1880s.”Saskatchewan History 24 (Autumn 1971).
- Lambrecht, Kirk N. The Administration of Dominion Lands, 1870-1930. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina, 1991.
- McKercher, R.B. and Bert Wolfe.Understanding Western Canada’s Land Survey System. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan, 1978.
- Obee, Dave, compiler. Back to the Land: A Genealogical Guide to Finding Farms on the Canadian Prairies, Including an Index to Townships in the 1901 Census. Victoria, British Columbia: Self-published, 2003.
- Spry, Irene M. and Bennett McCardle. The Records of the Department of the Interior and Research Concerning Canada’s Western Frontier of Settlement. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina, 1993.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Manitoba Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.
- This page was last modified on 4 April 2013, at 23:40.
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