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Heir & Devisee Commission
For those searching ancestors in Canada, Canadiana.org has some great digital images of miscellaneous databases online. One of these is the overlooked but valuable Heir & Devisee Commission papers 1777-1854, found in their Heritage Collection.
This microfilm consists of records documenting the review and determination of claims for land brought forward by the heirs, devisees, and assignees of individuals originally located by the Crown on land, in cases where no letters patent had been issued. The First Heir and Devisee Commission was in existence between 1797 and 1805. [Source: Ontario Archives]
This digitized but unindexed collection consists of 21 microfilm reels. The reels contain various volumes of the Heir & Devisee Commission papers, starting from Volume 1 to Volume 104. Canadiana.org provides a list of each microfilm and what volume numbers are included, plus a very brief description of what is contained in the volumes. For example, the first microfilm H 1143 contains Volumes 1 to 6. Volume 5, as an example, is said to contain Notices of claims, received but disallowed or unresolved, arranged alphabetically for the Eastern District ca 1809-1841.
This is very useful to the researcher as we can narrow our browsing to those microfilms of interest to us. It's still a long task as there are no indexes and each Volume is arranged differently. Some are alphabetical, some are by district and so on. But this listing of microfilms with volumes contained narrows our search. Each microfilm has been digitized and is available for immediate browsing.
Unfortunately Canadiana.org's listings are incorrect. I discovered this accidentally by searching for a specific time period in a specific location. Using the list of microfilms with contents, I chose the appropriate images. But as I scrolled through I realized something was wrong. I seemed to be looking at documents for the Johnston District, not Niagara area. Then I came across what I call a cover page - a typewritten sheet stating what Volume number I was about to view and a description of what images came next. But the volume number was wrong and should not have been on that particular microfilm according to the list provided by Canadiana.org.
I began a methodical (slow!) search of every microfilm that has been digitized and placed online. Of the 21 microfilms, 10 are incorrectly identified as to volume numbers and content contained. To assist other genealogists and researchers, I am providing my correctly identified contents of each microfilm. It took me many weeks to do this and I am happy to share it with others. I will be contacting Canadiana.org to advise them of the errors.
I have written to Canadiana.org offering to provide them with the corrected details for each film but have had no response from them. Please refer to my blog posts about this matter:
Here is the corrected list of Heir & Devisee Commission microfilms and volumes contained within each compared to the Canadiana.org list. Those in red are incorrectly labelled and identified on Canadiana.org. For those microfilms with no cover pages indicating Volume Numbers, I compared page numbers at the start and the end of each film to determine what volume(s) were in each film.
Film #; Candiana.org Volume list; Actual VolumesH 1133; V 1-6; V 1-6
H 1134; V 6-8; V 6-8
H 1135; V 9-15; V 16-20
H 1136; V 16-20; No V# labels but is V 20-24
H 1137; V 20-24; No V# labels but is V 24-28
H 1138; V 24-28; No V# labels but is V 28-32
H 1139; V 28-32; V 33-37
H 1140; V 33-37; V 38-44
H 1141; V 37-44; V 45-46
H 1142; V 46-51; V 9-15
H 1143; V 51-54; No V# labels but it is V 51-54
H 1144; V 54-63; No V# labels at start but V 56-62 labelled. This is V 54-63
H 1145; V 64-73; V 64-73
H 1146; V 74-78; V 74-78
H 1147; V 78-80; V 78-80
H 1148; V 81-83; V 81-83
H 1149; V 84-86; V 84-86
H 1150; V 87-89; V 90-98
H 1151; V 90-98; V 86-89
H 1152; V 99-103; V 99-103
H 1153; V 103-104; V 103-104
Following is a detailed list of the contents of each digitized film (plus dates) which Olive Tree Genealogy obtained by viewing each film online. This should work very well for genealogists as a Finding Aid
H 1133H 1133 (V 1-6)
H 1134(V 6-8)
H 1135H 1135 (Volumes16-20 Johnston District Location Certificates) does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed. H 1135 is described on Canadiana.org as containing Volumes 9-15. In reality this digitized film contains volumes 16-20.
H 1136Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed No volume label at start. End of roll is Midland District. I have not completed this film.
H 1137Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed No volume label at start but first Image is Midland District 1803. I have not completed this film.
H 1138Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed No volume label at start but it is Midland Land 1784-1793. I have not completed this film.
H 1139Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed Image 14 V33 Midland District. I have not completed this film.
H 1140Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed Image 24 V 38 1804 Commissioners Reports. I have not completed this film.
H 1141Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed
H 1142Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed
H 1143No volume label but Image 14 is Newcastle District 1803 Land Claims
H 1144No volume label. Image 14 is Markham 1850
H 1146V 74-78. I have not viewed this film yet.
H 1147No volume label but first Image is 1801 indenture which agrees with V 78
H 1148agrees with Canadiana.org
H 1149agrees with Canadiana.org
H 1150Does not contain what Canadiana.org has listed as V. 87-89. This film contains V. 90-92
H 1151Canadiana.org description of V. 90-98 incorrect. This film contains V. 86-89
H 1152No indexes. Agrees with Canadiana.org
H 1153No indexes. Agrees with Canadiana.org
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