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February 13, 2018

How to Find Ancestors in Upper Canada (Ontario) Land Records

Recently Olive Tree Genealogy received an intriguing email query from Jennifer.

I have tried on my own to access deed/land record information on an ancestor.William Lamoure bought Thomas Talbot land on a contract in 1804.   He received the deed in 1826....I have those records.   What I am searching for is when he sold it....what year and to whom???   He was in London Township. I believe that he sold his land and moved to Michigan....but I have NO record proof. I hired a researcher previously and they found nothing.
Lorine's Answer: I don't always undertake research when I receive such a query; instead I often offer suggestions as to where the genealogist could look next. But in this case, due to my interest in Ontario land records, the question intrigued me. I am pleased to say I found what Jennifer wanted in less than an hour. Because I think my process may help others searching for such records, I'm outlining my steps here.

Step One: I first searched the online Upper Canada Land Petitions at LAC (Library and Archives Canada) to find out exactly where William's land was. I also sent Jennifer an email asking her for the Concession and Lot if she knew it. Meantime I found William's petition in the online index. This gave me the Volume, Bundle, Petition Number, and Film Number I needed: 240A, L14, Petition 156 on film C 2128.

For more details on searching the UCLP (Upper Canada Land Petitions) see my article Searching Ontario Canada Land Records, eh?

Step Two: Next I went to the online digitized microfilm, also at LAC (Library and Archives Canada), searched for C 2128 and opened it. It didn't take long to find the section of film needed (Images 731-734 if anyone wants to see the petition) The envelope of the petition provided the detail I needed. William was granted land on Concession B, Lot 6, London Township. The date it was granted was July 1826. I also noted the Land Book Reference from the envelope so I could check there too. That was recorded as Land Book "M" page 650.

For help with understanding what is on these Upper Canada Land Petitions, see my article Understanding Notations on the Envelope of an Upper Canada Land Petition

Step Three: To search for the Land Book Reference I needed to find out what film held July 1826. So I went to the online conversion table at Heritage Canadiana and saw that I needed to consult film C-104. The films are online  and it was then a matter of scrolling through to July 1826. William was found on image 424. The record did not reveal much more than was already in the petition but it is always a good idea to check there too just in case.

C-104 Land Book "M"

For more help with finding a record in the Upper Canada Land Books see Finding an Ancestor in the Challenging Upper Canada Land Books

Step Four: Next I went to the onine site to search the Abstract Indexes to Deeds. This set of records provides the names of all owners of every piece of Crown Land in Ontario. So finding the abstracts for Lot 6, Concession B in London Township should provide me with dates and details of William obtaining the land in 1826 and when he left it. It was a bit of work to figure out what Book I needed but I did find it (MIDDLESEX COUNTY (33), LONDON, Book 3. ABSTRACT INDEX 1 UP TO 1866; CONCESSION A, B, C; CONCESSION 1 TO 2; PAGE 1 TO 114). I scrolled through many pages of other books before figuring out it was in this specific book.

Learn how to use the information in the Abstract Indexes to Deeds at The Overlooked Abstract Indexes to Deeds - a Useful Genealogy Research Tool

William is noted a few times over the years 1826 to 1849. The last entry is November 1849 so we might assume he left the area that year. Obtaining each of the instruments for each transaction will provide details that may give further clues. The instrument numbers are noted with each transaction. For those interested, the images for William are 31 and 32. It seems this was a 2-sided ledger so look at the left side on one image and the right side on the next.

Other Places to Search


I also had a look in the CLRI (Ontario Land Record Index) which is an alphabetical listing of first time land owners of Crown land. William was found as William Lamoure of London Township obtaining Lot 6, Concession ID under Date ID of 8 which is an OIC (Order in Council). It was a Free Grant but he paid Full Fees. The Archival Reference is RG01 Series C13 Volume 033 page 046. It is not likely that much more would be found using the Archival Reference.

Other places one might search are:

Township Papers

Township Papers deal mostly with the original locatees, but may contain other pre-patent records.  These are miscellaneous land-related records, arranged by township name, then by concession and lot or by town name and lot number.These are available on microfilm. See Archives of Ontario.

Heir & Devisee Commission Records

The first Heir and Devisee Commission heard claims to land made by original nominees, their heirs devisees or assignees, the second Commission was confined to claims made solely by heirs, devisees or assignees. 

The First Heir and Devisee records are available on microfilm and have been digitized and placed online at

 *Note: Researches are advised to consult my corrected Finding Aid for the First Heir and Devisee records at Peristence Pays Off: My Finding Aid is linked to from Library and Archives Canada

The Second Heir and Devisee records can be searched online at Archives of Ontario. Their database consists of an index to 5184 case files

As I explained to Jennifer, I no longer accept payment for research projects. If a query appeals to me, I do the work pro bono. I was happy to do this for Jennifer but I mentioned that if someone I have assisted is happy with the results they might consider buying me a cup of coffee (if they choose to) by using this link PayPal.Me/OliveTreeGenealogy

She very kindly bought me several cups of coffee and I appreciate it! 

1 comment:

Toni said...

I have struck gold at Nova Scotia Archives and Library and Archives Canada. My brick wall is a Loyalist so while I can track him sometimes, some other times I can't. Or I can't be sure it's the same Ebenezer Ward as there were two of them, I think. Possibly father and son or uncle/nephew.