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Abstract Indexes to Deeds to Land in Upper Canada (Canada West, Ontario)

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Ontario Land Records

Land records are very useful. Originally all land in Ontario belonged to the Crown. Although there were small areas of settlement in 1763 after the British took over, major settlement of Upper Canada began in 1783 and utilized Crown Grants. Many early settlers, both military and civilian, submitted land petitions to the Governor in order to obtain Crown land.

Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the records by Brenda Dougall Merriman

Abstract Indexes to Deeds

The Abstract Indexes to Deeds are the indexed record of every transaction on a plot of land from Crown ownership to the present day. Abstract Indexes were created 1865-1866 according to new legislation and were retroactive to the patent on a property, meaning they went back to when the land was first owned by the Crown before it was sold or granted to individuals.

Using the Abstract Indexes to Deeds you can check for every instance of your name of interest on that parcel of land. By referring to the date and Instrument Number found with each transaction, you can look up the complete record. You may find a will (Many wills are filed in the Land Records Offices) or other important genealogical information or document.

See the example and explanation of the Abstract Indexes to Deeds for Concession 4, Lot 12, Puslinch Township, Wellington County Ontario. Click on image for larger graphic.

Abstract Indexes to Deeds for Concession 4, Lot 12, Puslinch Township, Wellington County OntarioLooking at the second from the bottom entry dated 1904 you can see a list of the children of Frederick Broeckel and a notation that he is deceased. If you did not know when Frederick Broeckel died, or the names of his children, this would be a very nice genealogy find. Once you have found that enty in the Abstract Index to Deeds, you can order the full record to see what other genealogy details might be found. Simply refer to the Book Number, Instrument Number and date to order the full record. In this case it is Book I16, Instrument #8243, 1 May 1904. Notice that there is an earlier entry dated 13 Jan. 1903 for Frederick Broeckel and it is called Probate to Will. Sending for the full record would no doubt include Frederick's will.

Where to Find Abstract Indexes to Deeds

  1. Ontario Archives

    Abstract Indexes to Deeds are arranged by Township and catalogued in the Land, Municipal and Church Records Microfilm section of the Main Reading Room card catalogue of the Ontario Archives

    The records of Land Registry Offices (LROs) document transactions relating to privately owned land. The Archives holds the following Land Registry Office records:

    Original Records
    • instruments and deeds up to 1867
    • copybooks up to 1955 (many have been placed on long- term loan with local repositories)
    • some post-1867 instruments and deeds, where the copybooks are missing
    Microfilm Copies
    • copybooks, abstract indexes, and alphabetical indexes,
    • ca.1795-ca.1960, predominantly to ca.1880

  2. Land Registry Offices

    In cases where the Land Registry Office has transferred original records to the Archives or to a local institution, the Land Registry Office should have copies of those records on microfilm. You can read about my adventures at our local Land Registry Office, also an explanation of how to search once there at Land Registry Offices - No Need for Fear!

    Some original copybooks, abstract indexes, and other documents have been placed by the Archives or by the Land Registry Offices in local archives, museums, and other repositories

  3. Family History Centres

    Most of the microfilm held by the Archives was produced by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) from records in the Land Registry Offices, and includes only some copybooks, abstract indexes and alphabetical indexes (ca. 1795-ca. 1960; predominantly to ca. 1880). This microfilm is available at Family History Centres.


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