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Ontario Land Records

General: 

On-line: 

How to Use the Ontario Land Records Index

Date Range: 

1780 - 1920

Additional Information: 

The Ontario Land Records Index covers the years from about 1780 -1920, and lists settlers who:

  • requested Crown land on which to homestead,
  • were granted permission to lease or reside on a specific Crown land lot while completing their settlement duties,
  • received the patent awarding private ownership of a specific Crown land lot, or
  • leased or purchased land from the Canada Company or were Peter Robinson settlers.

How to Use the Microfiche

  • the Index is on microfiche (4 x 6" squares of film)
  • it is kept in the Special Collections Room
  • it is in a black index-card box marked Ontario Land Records Index
  • the shelfmark is SPECCOLL 971.371 OLRI
  • The box contains two versions of the index:
    • one index arranged alphabetically by settler’s surname, and
    • one index arranged alphabetically by township. If you know the name of the town but not the township, check the Ontario Locator website.
  • you will also need the 16-page guide How to Use the Ontario Land Records Index to find Kingston-Frontenac Information
  • a copy of this document is in a duotang on the table in the Special Collections Room at the Central Library
  • it is also available as a 16-page pdf document which you can download to your computer (see attachment, below)
  • the document tells you how to interpret the numbers and codes that you will find on the microfiche
  • you are welcome to take the box of microfiche and the duotang to the microfilm machines and view them there
  • please return them to the Information Desk when you are done

Tip: There is also a copy of the Ontario Land Records Index on microfiche in the Lorne Pierce Collection at Queen's University.

Upper Canada Land Petitions 1763-1865

Date Range: 

1763 - 1865

Additional Information: 

  • A petition was a letter from a settler to the Lieutenant Governor requesting a grant of crown land.
  • Before 1826, most settlers were able to petition for free land grants. After 1826, free grants were available only to loyalist or military settlers. All other settlers had to purchase land.
  • The petition usually included the name of petitioner, date of petition, military regiment if applicable.
  • Some include additional information about the petitioner's family and/or situation.
  • The petitions themselves are at Library & Archives Canada and/or Archives of Ontario.
  • They are indexed by surname with place of application, date of petition and the number of the petition (which you will use to locate the actual petition on microfilm).
  • Search the database on the website of Library and Archives Canada.

How to Use It

  1. Search the index first.
  2. Write down the details, including microfilm, volume, bundle and page numbers.
  3. Browse the digitized microfilm records online to find the petition.  Be aware that some of the "reels" are more than 1000 pages long, so the browsing process can be quite time-consuming.

Tip: One way to approach such a large file is to "keep splitting in half." For example, if you're browsing a 1000-page "reel," start with page 500 and decide whether you need to browse forward or backward from there. If forward, split the last half of the reel in half—i.e. try page 750. If backward, split the first half of the reel in half—i.e. try page 250. Keep applying this principle until you zoom in on the correct page; it is  more efficient than making random guesses.

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