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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Digging Deeper into Digitized Microfilm at Library and Archives of Canada: Indexed and Non-Indexed Items Related to Upper Canada Land Petitions

In the process of writing about some more online resources for early Ontario I realized my article/post would be better split up into at least two but maybe three articles/posts. Here's the second of those articles/posts. This is sort of long but I think worth it.

Library and Archives of Canada
Current Website
So you go to the digitized microfilm websites for the Library and Archives of Canada, yes there are two, select an interesting collection and you see columns or tables of "coded" digitized microfilm ... possibly even pages of these for a single collection.

And since this collection has no online index, you wonder what is sitting there? What am I missing out on? So you click and peek, then click more and eventually find some descriptions telling you about what you've seen but some collections do not seem to explain much.

Let me save you time and tell you what I learned about a handful of the digitized microfilm collections related to land records for what is now Ontario (formerly Canada West formerly Upper Canada.)

Library and Archives of Canada
Archived website
First, in general, there is a lot out there but not everything mind you. Second, you are not going to find these things if you expect everything to be delivered with a few keystrokes, an enter key and a mouse click. You have got to explore and browse (safely keeping your wits about you so you don't get virus/malware by accidentally clicking on an ad) and put in a little effort to see what libraries, archives, museums and even societies are adding to their websites.

So I made room in my schedule and returned once again to the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) website to investigate further. As I stated above LAC uses two different websites to hold its digitized microfilm rather than have the digitized film on its current LAC website. The digitized microfilm sits at the archived Library and Archives Canada website and the Héritage website. (You can tell the difference between the current LAC website and the archived website by the color -- blue for the current and red for the archived.) The online indexes for some of the LAC digitized microfilm collections are located at the current LAC website at the Genealogy and Family History page. So in reality there are three websites involved in this adventure.

Héritage website
So what is what with that digitized microfilm? Rather than write a paragraph or two about each collection I decided to format what I learned into hopefully a clear and concise summary. This summary tells you the online title of the collection; if there is an online index; the website holding the digitized microfilm with a direct link; the title used in the catalog with collection codes and MIKAN number from LAC; the number of microfilm reels or the microfilm numbers with a brief description; any notes I made in regards to the collection; and whether the Archives of Ontario has microfilm copies of that collection.

I tried to be thorough so hopefully I did not make any errors. See yesterday's post on two tips for searching the catalogs of the Archives of Ontario and the Library and Archives of Canada.


Upper Canada Land Petitions, 1763-1865
Online Index: Yes, at LAC website (info and search)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at archived LAC website
Land Submissions to Executive Council 1783-1865, predominant 1783-1841 (formerly RG1 L3 and RG1 L6B now R10875-4-5-E), MIKAN 205131
327 Reels:  contain the petitions and related records submitted to the Executive Council, sitting as a land committee in the performance of its land disposal functions. The “land committee” dealt with all manner of petitions for grants and leases, requests for title deeds and reports from the Surveyor General or, after 1827, the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Note: The Upper Canada Land Petitions 1763-1865 (formerly RG1 L3 and RG1 L6B now R10875-4-5-E) along with the Upper Canada Sundries 1766-1841 (formerly RG5 A1 now R10875-2-1-E) were electronically indexed  and are available in one index at the LAC website under Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865. The digitized microfilm for the Upper Canada Land Petitions is located at the archived LAC website.

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Land Petitions diffusion material D 29 see user’s guide to Upper Canada Land Petitions and Land Books for detailed descriptions and microfilms. (Microfilm numbering systems are different at just about every archive/library.) At AO, D 29 also includes the two card index sets mentioned below under Upper Canada Land Books which indexes both the petitions and land books.


Upper Canada Sundries
Online Index: Yes, at LAC website (info and search)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Civil Secretary’s Correspondence, Upper Canada, Upper Canada Sundries, 1766-1841 (formerly RG5 A1 now R10875-2-1-E), MIKAN 125539
94 Reels:  The series consists of letters, petitions, reports, returns and schedules, certificates, accounts, warrants, legal opinions, instructions and regulations, proclamations and other documents received by the Civil Secretary of Upper Canada, 1791-1841.

Note: The Upper Canada Land Petitions 1763-1865 (formerly RG1 L3 and RG1 L6B now R10875-4-5-E) along with the Upper Canada Sundries 1766-1841 (formerly RG5 A1 now R10875-2-1-E) were electronically indexed  and are available in one index at the LAC website under Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865. The digitized microfilm for the Upper Canada Sundries is located at the Héritage website. The online digital microfilm for this collection references RG1 L1 instead of RG5 A1 and I am not sure why there is a discrepancy.

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Sundries diffusion material see inventory D 23 for microfilm numbers. In addition, the Archives of Ontario has a couple of related collections not at LAC so see the Archives Descriptive Database for the Sundries to learn more.


Minutes and Records of the Land Boards Accumulated by the Executive Council Office
Online Index: Yes, at LAC website (info and search)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Minutes and Records of the Land Boards Accumulated by the Executive Council Office, 1765-1804 (formerly RG1 L4 now R10875-7-0-E), MIKAN 205141
Reels:  H-1760, H-1761 contain the card index to the minutes and records in this collection. Each card gives, name, location, summary, collection, volume and page and microfilm reel. Check all alternate spellings.
Reels:  C-14026, C-14027, C-14028 contain the minutes and records of the land boards of the Hesse, Nassau, Luneburg and Mecklenburg Districts and their successors following subdivision of the districts, 1765-1804.

Note: The Minutes and Records of the Land Boards Accumulated by the Executive Council Office, 1765-1804 (formerly RG1 L4 now R10875-7-0-E) was electronically indexed and is available at the LAC website, under Land Boards of Upper Canada 1765-1804. (See above.)

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Land Board Minutes and Records diffusion material see inventory D 359 for microfilm numbers. In addition, the Archives of Ontario has a couple of related collections not at LAC so see the Archives Descriptive Database for the Land Board Minutes to learn more.


Upper Canada Land Books
Online Index: No (but card index is microfilm is digitized see below)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Land Minute Books  of the Executive Council, 1787 – 1841 (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E), MIKAN 205068
Finding Aid MSS1802 Index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and the Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) commonly called the Upper Canada Land Index.
Reels:  C-100, C-101, C-102, C-103, C-104, C-105, C-106, C-107, C-108, C-109, C-110 contain Minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, 1787-1841. These records are commonly called the “Land Books.” Originally labeled volumes A through U later these volumes were assigned  volume numbers 18-39 for cataloging. Also included are the Minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive council of the united Province of Canada, 1841-1867. Again, originally labeled using letters and later given the volume numbers 40-48 for cataloging. Each volume starts with nominal index of petitioners.
Reels:  H-1976, H-1977, H-1978 contain a supplementary card index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) which was filmed in 1991.
Reels: C-10810 thru C-10836 contain a card index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) which was filmed in 1981.

Note:  Be  thorough if you use these and check both card indexes which make up Finding Aid MSS1802. Though these two card index sets include both the Upper Canada Land Books and the Upper Canada Land Petitions, the online index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions does not include these Upper Canada Land Books.

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Land Books diffusion material see inventory D 355 for microfilm numbers. (AO refers to this collection as RG1 E1 at National Archives but LAC has it as formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E.) At the Archives of Ontario, these card index films (both sets) are part of Upper Canada Land Petitions diffusion material D 29 see user’s guide to Upper Canada Land Petitions and Land Books for detailed descriptions and microfilms.

See my next article/post for a “cheat sheet” to this digital microfilm collection.


Index to Grants, Deeds, Leases and Licenses of Occupation Unclaimed or Impounded in the Executive Council Office
Online Index: No (this digitized microfilm is a card index)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Finding Aid MSS1803 (card index) to Grants, Deeds, Leases and Licenses of Occupation, Unclaimed or Impounded in the Executive Council Office, 1791-1897, predominant 1791-1848 (formerly RG1 L2 now R10875-6-9-E), MIKAN 205137
Reels:  C-11961, C-11962, C-11963 contain the Finding Aid MSS1803 card index by name (on reels 11961 and 11962) and by township (on reels 11962 and 11963). Do read the description at the beginning of the reel to learn how to read the cards and the limitations of the index. This is a card index to a collection (which is not microfilmed) that consists of two distinct types of documents: deeds for grants and leases of land, surrendered to or impounded by the Executive Council of Upper Canada for a variety of reasons; and the technical descriptions of unclaimed grants and leases. See the catalog description for further information.

At the Archives of Ontario, No.


Land Documents Concerning Quebec, Upper and Lower Canada, Canada East and Canada West and Canada
Online Index: No
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Registrar General, Land Documents, 1763-1952 (formerly RG68 now R1002-147-2-E), MIKAN 787982
53 reels:  originals and registers containing copies of leases, releases, deeds, grants, surrenders, sales, letters patent of land and related documents for Crown and Clergy Reserves, Indian and Ordnance Land, Dominion Land, etc.

At the Archives of Ontario, No.


Licenses, Upper and Lower Canada, Canada East and Canada West and Ontario, 1817-1867
Online Index: No
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Registrar General, Licenses, 1817-1867 (formerly RG68 now R1002-82-0-E), MIKAN 192630
Reels:  C-3947, C-3948, C-3952 contain registers of licenses for the practice of physic surgery and midwifery, register of medical licenses, returns of licenses issued for innkeepers, billards and wholesalers in Upper Canada. There is a note that other items may have been filmed on these films so you have to look for the start of the register you seek on the “film.”

At the Archives of Ontario, No.


Heir and Devisee
Online Index: No
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Records of the Heir and Devisee Commission Accumulated by the Executive Council, 1777-1854 (formerly RG1 L5 now R10875-8-2-E), MIKAN 205142
21 Reels:  consists of records of the Heir and Devisee Commission forwarded to the Executive Council Office in the course of business, as well as records accumulated by the Executive Council Office after the demise of the first Commission in 1805. Records include minutes, reports and recommendations, notices of claims, and documentation submitted in support of claims (such as bonds, certification, location tickets and affidavits.)

At the Archives of Ontario:  First Heir and Devisee Commission diffusion material see finding aid D 352 for microfilm numbers. In addition, the Archives of Ontario holds the similar records for the later (sometimes referred to as Second) Heir and Devisee Commission. See the Archives of Ontario's Archives Descriptive Database for more information



These primarily land related digitized microfilm collections that I have highlighted are but a few of those available. There are other collections covering other aspects for what became Ontario, such as the Marriage Bonds that I mentioned in an earlier post. There are also many other online digitized microfilm collections for the other provinces of Canada. Some of those digitized microfilm collections even have online indexes available so check out the Genealogy and Family History page at the current LAC website.

I plan to post the third article next week.


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