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Land


Land Petitions

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Many early settlers, both military and civilian, submitted petitions to the Governor in order to obtain Crown land.

Research Tips

  • Present-day Ontario was part of Quebec before 1791. Petitions submitted by people living in Ontario before 1791 can be found in the Lower Canada Land Petitions.
  • Present-day Quebec and Ontario were part of the United Province of Canada from 1841 to 1867. Petitions submitted after 1841 by people living in Quebec can be found in the Upper Canada Land Petitions.

Research at Library and Archives Canada

Quebec and Lower Canada, 1764-1841 (RG 1 L3L)

The Lower Canada Land Petitions series (RG 1 L3L) consists of the petitions and related records accumulated and/or created by the Executive Council of Lower Canada, 1764-1841.The series contains the following types of documents:

  • petitions for grants or leases of land or for commutation of tenure;
  • reports from the Surveyor General or the Attorney General;
  • submissions to the Land Committee;
  • administrative records;
  • certificates and other documentation submitted in support of individual requests; and
  • copies of committee minutes.

Petitions submitted in Lower Canada (Quebec) tend to be group petitions where a letter is drafted and a number of people sign their name; therefore, a name may appear only once within a long section of pages.

The index and digitized images of the Lower Canada Land Petitions are available in a searchable database online.

Gaspé Land Commission (RG 1 L7)

Gaspé Land Commissioners were appointed in 1819 to hear and determine all applications for grants of land by persons holding or claiming to hold lands in the Gaspé District. It consists of two volumes containing claims. Records are available on microfilm reels C-96 and C-97.

Upper Canada (Ontario) and the United Province of Canada, 1791-1867 (RG 1 L3)

This series contains the following types of documents:

  • petitions for grants or leases of land;
  • reports from the Surveyor General or the Attorney General;
  • certificates and other documentation submitted in support of individual requests;
  • some Canada Company lists; and
  • some lists of settlers by place.

Land Petition, Upper Canada, 1806. Library and Archives Canada, RG 1 L3, vol. 426, R8/26, reel C-2741

Source

Land Petition,
Upper Canada, 1806.
Library and Archives Canada,
RG 1 L3, vol. 426, R8/26,
reel C-2741.

Petitions submitted in Upper Canada (Ontario) are for the most part individual petitions, which often contain information about the petitioner and his or her family. Loyalists and discharged soldiers often mentioned the regiment in which they served. Sons and daughters of Loyalists gave their father's name. Civilian petitioners sometimes indicated their country or place of origin.

The index for the Upper Canada Collection includes references to two series.

  • Entries from the Land Books (RG 1 L1) indicate name, date, land book and page number.
  • Entries for land petitions (RG 1 L3) give name, place, date, bundle and petition number (e.g., B12/43 indicates bundle B12, petition number 43).

After consulting the index, refer to the list of microfilm reel numbers for the actual records.

The index of the Upper Canada Land Petitions is available online.

That database also includes references to land petitions that were submitted to the Civil Secretary of Upper Canada. Those petitions are part of the series Upper Canada Sundries, 1791-1841 (RG 5 A1).

Research in Provincial Sources

The provincial archives in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick hold collections of land petitions for those provinces.

Related Topics

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