Ontario Land Records User's GuideEdit This Page
From FamilySearch Wiki
What Are Ontario Land Records?
The availability of land attracted many immigrants to Ontario. Land ownership was generally recorded as soon as settlers began to arrive. These important records sometimes exist when few other records are available. There are many kinds of land records including petitions for land grants and leases, indexes, commission records, case files, claims, reports, registers, and immigrant lists. Search every kind of land record you can find described in this guide.
How Ontario Land Records Can Help You
Land records are used mostly to learn where a person lived and when he lived there. They often reveal other family information, such as the name of a spouse, heir, other relatives, or neighbors. Some land records show a relationship to a Loyalist ancestor. You may learn where a person lived previously, his occupation, and other clues. Sale of the land may show when he left, and may mention to where he was moving.
What Ontario Land Records Do NOT Do
Ontario land records do not consistently show the same information for different pieces of property even within the same record. The original land records may or may not include information about your ancestor’s origins or names of family members.
These three steps do not include all the ways to find Ontario land records, they only explain how to find the most accessible records at the Family History Library.
Step 1. Search land records that have surname indexes
One of the best ways to locate ancestors in Ontario before 1851 is to use land indexes. These indexes exist for earlier time periods than censuses and other province-wide records. Each of the following four sources is both an index and a land record—
- Executive Council Petitions for Land Grants and Leases, 1791-1867.
- Heir and Devisee Commission Land Records 1796-1894.
- Ontario Archives Land Record Index
- Crown Lands Department Land Records, ca. 1792-1876.
Use the index first to find the land record. Search all four of the sources because each has different names. Your ancestor may be in more than one. To use them, follow the steps that start at the bottom of this page.
- Upper Canada. Executive Council. Petitions for Land Grants and Leases, 1791-1867. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1992. (On 257 FHL films starting with 1832344.) You may find—
- - petitions reporting an applicant’s military service
- - names and ages of his family members
- - relationship to a Loyalist ancestor
- Ontario. Heir and Devisee Commission (2nd). Land Records, 1796-1894. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1982. (On 100 FHL films starting with 1313768.) You may find—
- - why a person is entitled to land such as military service or having a Loyalist father
- - application date, age, and place of birth
- Ontario Archives Land Record Index. [Ontario?: Computrex Centre Ltd., 1979?] (On 129 fiche starting with 6049631.) The surname index starts on microfiche 6330425.
- The surname section of this index is alphabetical and includes the name of the township, and the concession and lot numbers where original grants were located. Dates are filing dates of petitions or patents, not the date the settler came to a township. The key to the symbols showing the type of grant, lease or sale is on microfiche 6049631. For Internet instructions about how to use this index see www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/virtualrr/info12.htm
- Ontario. Crown Lands Department. Land Records, ca. 1792-1876. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1982-1984. (On 126 FHL films starting with 1831844.)
- Some, but not all, names from the R.G. 1, C-I to C-III series of these records are in the Ontario Archives Land Records Index listed above.
Search the Indexes
Steps to follow to search land record indexes—
- Find the entry for the above sources (one at a time) in the Film/Fiche Number Search of the Family History Library Catalog.
- Look for the index part of the catalog entry. Figure out the microfilm or microfiche number of the index for your ancestor’s name, according to place and time period. Write this number in the space below. Index film/fiche number _____________
- Ask a staff member at your Family History Center to order a copy of the index film or fiche.
- When the index film arrives, search it for your ancestor’s name. Make a copy (preferably a photocopy) of each index entry for your ancestor. File these copies and summarize the results (positive or negative) on your Research Log.
Before concluding that your ancestor’s name is not in the index or in Ontario land records, do the following:
Search the Land Records
Steps to follow to search land records—
- If you find your ancestor’s name, go back to the catalog entry you have been using. Use the index information to figure out the film or fiche number of the related land records, according to place, time, township, and concession number. Write this film number below. Land film/fiche number _____________________
- Ask a staff member at your Family History Center to order a copy of the land record film or fiche.
- When the land record film arrives, search it for your ancestor’s name. Make a copy (preferably a photocopy) of each land record of your ancestor. File these copies. Write your source and the results of each search on your Research Log. Add new information to your genealogy records.
- Go back and repeat these steps for each of the four indexed sources. Then go on to Step 2 Search Land Records Arranged by Description.
New to the Research Wiki?
In the FamilySearch Research Wiki, you can learn how to do genealogical research or share your knowledge with others.Learn More