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October 10, 2018

Don't Overlook the Online Ontario Land Records

When you think you've hit a dead end or a brick wall, believe me, there's always more out there!

Case in point: On a genealogy group on Facebook, someone posted about the Pettit family, saying they could not find "much on their father Richard Pettit.... or their mother Nancy Lamon"

So I had a look. There is actually a lot that can be found on this specific family through a simple Google search. One site has sourced details on Richard, his wife and family, and his parents and siblings. The few online trees on Ancestry have errors but they might be used for clues.

But a little known site for those seeking Ontario ancestors is the Ontario Land Registry site. There you can look for Abstract Indexes to Deeds which are the indexed record of every transaction on a plot of land from Crown ownership to the present day. You can often find a record of a will there, or a wife's maiden name.

Henry Petit, also his son Richard (and other family members) are found here
Abstract/Parcel Register Book

We can see that Henry Pettit received a patent for land from the Crown on 26 February 1858. This means he was the first owner of this land and he should also be found in the CLRI (Ontario Land Record Index) which records first time owners. He received 100 acres in the North half of Lot 3, Concession 6.

Continuing to read each line you can see when Henry sold  part of the land, and to whom. You also find that his son Richard is shown as selling some of the land in 1916. There are many Pettit names on these 2 pages for this parcel of land and you can see which Pettit gained possession over the years. This also can indicate relationships. As well you should look for spousal surnames. In this particular case we would want to look for Lamon and Smeath (Henry Pettit married Nancy Smeath)

Richard Pettit is also found here
Abstract/Parcel Register Book

Finding a name of interest in these abstracts means you can obtain the full record by referring to the instrument number beside the name. Remember, as helpful as these are, they are INDEXES.

Sometimes the full record is a lengthy, and often somewhat boring description of the boundaries of the specific parcel of land. Other times it is chock full of amazing details that we genealogists drool over. I once found the name of my husband's long-lost great aunt, her husband's name and more in the full instrument. We had lost all trace of her once she was no longer found with her parents on census records. The instrument details paved the way and led us to many more interesting facts about her life.


Shirley said...

Thank you!!! I had never heard of this site before. I may not be able to go to bed anytime soon.

Jo Henn said...

Thank you! I didn’t know of this source. Now I know what I’m doing this weekend!