Access the digitized microfilm reels on Héritage
This reference guide was created by Library and Archives Canada in 2013 to assist researchers in discovering this series.
About the records
Library and Archives Canada holds the records of the Upper Canada Land Books (RG 1 L1, MIKAN 205068). These books contain the deliberations, decisions and recommendations of the Land Committee of the Executive Council of Upper Canada. Early settlers in Upper Canada, now known as Ontario, could apply for ownership of Crown Lands by first submitting a written petition, according to the regulations in force at that date. In order to find a specific reference for a petition, you should first consult the Upper Canada Land Petitions database that provides more than 82,000 references to names of petitioners. If you find a reference of interest to you, note the microfilm, volume, and bundle and petition numbers in order to easily find the digitized images of this land petition.
The Executive Council of Upper Canada considered these petitions and made a decision of granting or not a Crown land; the record of those decisions are in the minutes, commonly known as the Upper Canada Land Books. Over 82,000 petitioners, early settlers, soldiers, civilians and loyalists, went before the Executive Council of the Land Board of Upper Canada during this period to submit a request for Crown Land.
For more information, consult Library and Archives Canada's description of the records.
How the records are arranged on the microfilm reels
The microfilm reels have been digitized and the images appear in the same order as on the microfilm reels. You can browse through the images as you would through a microfilm reel. You can move through the images one by one, or skip ahead by entering a new page number in the page navigation box. The records are not searchable by name.
Decisions from the years 1787-1791 were copied from the Quebec Land Books and incorporated into the Upper Canada Land Books series as Volume 18 (corresponding to microfilm reel C-100). From 1792 to 1796, land and state minutes of the Executive Council were entered into a single minute book and are part of Volume 19 of the series (corresponding to microfilm reels C-100 and C-101). Thereafter, separate agenda and minute books were maintained to distinguish between state and land matters, and land petitions were generally covered in the Upper Canada Land Books.
List of content of microfilms
You can see the full list formatted as a web page by clicking here.
How to search the Land Books
Although each individual minute book includes a table of contents and a nominal index of petitioners, the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) has published the Index to the Upper Canada Land Books, which contains a nominal index, personal information such as occupation, residence, location of the land grant, date of presentation, the corresponding Book letter and page where the decision can be found, and the petition number. It is available in printed and CD-ROM format in many library locations across the country.
Consult the list above to find the relevant microfilm.
Consult the digitized images. The Upper Canada Land books are organized by date of presentation and the page number.
Occasionally, a reference to a land petition may not be available in the Upper Canada Land Petitions database. The information in the Upper Canada Land Book can be used to find the reference to the petition. The left-hand margin of the Land Book may contain a cross reference to the petition, albeit a partial reference. The following conversion table matching the Land Book to a petition bundle number may be helpful in locating the relevant citation.
Archives of Ontario. From Grant to Patent: A guide to Early Land Settlement Records, ca. 1790 to ca. 1850. Research Guide 125. Most recent update: February 2013.
Kennedy, Patricia. “Deciphering the Upper Canada Land Books and Land Petitions.” Readings in Ontario Genealogical Sources. Oakville, Ont.: Conference on Ontario Genealogical Sources, 1979: 41-64.
Kennedy, Patricia. “Introduction to the Land books and Records of the Land-Granting Process in Upper Canada” In Index to Upper Canada Land Books. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2005.
Merriman, Brenda Dougall. Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the records, 4th ed. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2008.
Moorman, David. The first business of government: the land granting administration of Upper Canada.
Murphy, Sharon L. Researching Canadian Land Records, Heritage Book Series: Book HC22. Toronto: Heritage Productions, 2001.