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Ontario Land Records
Computerized Land Record Index (CLRI)
The information from the lists includes date of purchase, type of purchase, residence of purchaser, land location (lot, concession, township), type of purchase (very important to knowing whether or not there are more records available!), archival reference (where full record can be found) and often more info such as date of land ticket, or date of petition for land, etc.
It's important to realize that the CLRI only shows the very first transaction on any piece of land - for subsequent transactions you need to consult the Abstract Indexes to Deeds
There is also an index in the CLRI, by township and by lot and conc # so you may be able to find info on the land even if your ancestor wasn't the first to own it. (This can be helpful to learn the name of the first purchaser and the date it left Crown hands and went to a settler)
Until you see if your ancestor is on the CLRI you don't really know where you should look next. If he IS there, you may find a wealth of new doors of investigation opening to you! You may be able to find a petition for land on the UCLP (Upper canada Land Petitions) You may find that you have to obtain township papers, or military grant records or.....on and on it goes --- but the CLRI will help guide you in the right direction IF your ancestor's name is there.
Many libraries in Ontario have the CLRI on microfiche. They are also available in hard copy at the Ontario Archives in Toronto.
NOTE: There is no guarantee your ancestor's name will be in the CLRI.
Once an entry has been found in the CLRI, you will want to obtain the full record. The CLRI entries are taken from
The Archival Reference Numbers indicate the source of the data. By converting these you can obtain a Microfilm Reel Number to look at the full record. Keep in mind that sometimes the full record is nothing more than what is on the index! However it can also provide extra details, not on the indexed entries. To convert the Archival Reference Numbers, please see the Conversion Tables
You should also consult other records for more details. For example, if your ancestor's Computer Land Records Index entry cites the Canada Company Papers (F 129), you will also want to check their Applications for Deeds 1827-1949 (Series B-3), Registers of Wills 1826-1920, Power of Attorney files 1826-1926 (Series A-7-1), Burial Certificates 1842-1923 and their Remittance Books (Series C-7, Vols. 1-4) listing overseas names and addresses to whom money was sent.
If your ancestor's entry indicates a Free Grant (FG) you will want to consult the Upper Canada Land Petitions Index (UCLP Index). The Upper Canada Land Petitions (NAC Series RG 1, L 3) can be borrowed on microfilm from the National Archives of Canada.
Abstract Indexes to DeedsIf your ancestor is found on the CLRI you can strike out for the Land Records Office to find the Abstract Indexes to Deeds for his specific land. The Abstract Indexes to Deeds are the indexed record of every transaction on a plot of land since it left Crown ownership. Remember, fathers willed land to sons or to wives or daughters. Men parcelled off smaller sections of land and sold it to sons. Brothers settled near each other, or on the same land. Armed with 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 document. But first you need to check the CLRI and hopefully find a location.
Below is a portion of the Abstract Indexes to Deeds for Concession 4, Lot 12, Puslinch Township, Wellington County Ontario. Click on image for larger graphic.
Looking 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.
From 1792-1876 instruments were called memorials or contracts and they related to ownership of a specific piece of property. They include B&S (Bargain & Sale), B of S (Bill of Sale), Mortgages and Wills. Once the registrar recorded the memorial, the owner was allowed to retain the original deed. The registrar recorded a transcription of the transaction in a Copy Book. The Abstract Index to Deeds contain a one line entry for each transaction regarding one specific parcel of land from the time that property left Crown ownership. The first line is the issue/patent from the Crown. Each transaction has a document number, names of grantor and grantee, and a brief description of the transaction. You use this number to access the Copy Book to read the memorial. Memorials contain the names of the parties, the date, the type of instrument, and description of the land. They can often contain wills, letters, petitions, names of children, wives' maiden names and more!
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