Ontario Additional Land Records (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Land Records Course Part 1 and Part 2  by Sharon L. Murphy, Brenda Dougall Merriman, CG, and Frances Coe, PLCGS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Indexes to Land Patents

Indexes to Land Patents (1793-1826) as well as book copies of Land Patents are at the Archives of Ontario (RG 53), in the records of the Official Documents section. The Index to Land Patents has been organized by:

  • Name 1826-1967 (RG 53-56)
  • Township 1793-1852 (RG 53-55)
  • District 1793-1825 (RG 53-2)

The Research Guide 215 From Grant to Patent: A Guide to Early Land Settlement Records,ca.1790 to ca.1850 is available on the Archives of Ontario website.

The original book copies of Land Patents issued for Crown Lands in Ontario are at the Archives of Ontario in RG 53-1 from 1793-1984.

The copy of the actual Crown Patent must be ordered from:

Ministry of Natural Resources
Crown Land Registry
P.O. Box 7000
300 Water Street, 5th Floor South
Peterborough, ON K9J 8M5
Telephone: 1-800-551-5552
Email: crownlandregistry@ontario.ca

Provide as much information as possible about the record being requested, such as lot, concession, township, name of original grantee and date of patent, if known. Do not send payment with your request. You will be informed of the amount owing when the request is processed.

Clergy Reserves, Crown Reserves, School Lands

The Clergy reserves, Crown reserves and School lands were designated parcels of land that were set aside to provide funds, upon their sale, for the church, state and schools.

Military Land Grants

Free grants were offered to those who fought during the Fenian Raids (1866, 1870) and in the South African Campaign (Boer War, 1899-1902) as Military Land Grants. The surname indexes are available on self-serve microfilm at the Archives of Ontario. The grant books themselves have not been microfilmed and must be requested in the archives Main Reading Room. Veterans’ land grants records 1901-1922 and earlier grants to militiamen for service in the War of 1812 are included in the Ontario Land Records Index.

Patent Plans 1780-1977

These plans were drawn at the time a township was surveyed. The names of the original grantees were written on them. Over time, information such as patent numbers and references to other land records were added on some of the plans. These records can only be viewed in the special Collections Reading Room at the Archives of Ontario. For further information, the series description is in Inventory 1, Crown Lands and Natural Resources Records.

  • Township Papers are a miscellaneous group of documents that were received or created by the Surveyor General and the Commissioner of Crown Lands or their agents during the land granting process. They could include petitions, location tickets, certificates of settlement duties and correspondence. They are arranged by township (thus the name), concession and lot numbers.
  • Crown Lands Petitions are a series of petitions (1827-1856) addressed to the Commissioner of Crown Lands, often through one of his land agents. They are microfilmed and indexed.

Geographic Division of the Land: The Survey

Upper Canada was originally divided into districts, with townships clustered in locations accessible by water. The township became the basic unit of land division, surveyed into parts called concessions and lots.

Each concession is a strip of land 1¼ mile wide. A road allowance, generally 1 chain (66 feet) in width separates the concessions, usually every five townships lots. The width varies however; some allowances are only 40 feet wide.

Concessions can run in any direction and are usually divided by a road. Each concession is numbered, usually with Roman Numerals (I, II, III, etc.). When concessions do not run the length or width of the township because of water, they are usually labeled with letters (A, B, etc.).

A gore is a piece of a township that does not fit in the rectangular shape, i.e.: “extra” land or land that goes around a body of water. In this case the shorelines of lakes, rivers and swamps form irregular boundaries and are known as broken front concessions.

Concessions are divided into lots that use Arabic numbers (2, 3, 4, etc.). A lot was originally 200 acres, and then could be sub-divided into two parcels of 100 acres each. The lots ran parallel to the road and were often divided by direction, i.e. the south ½ or the south part of lot 4, or the southeast ½ of lot 4. Further sub-divisions could then be made, i.e.: the east ¼ of the south ½ of lot 4, or in more recent times, into parcels of acreage.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Land Records Course Part 1 and Part 2 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.