Free Online Searchable Land Records 1763-1865

Tobias Stafford petition

Did your ancestors immigrate to North America between 1763-1865? This online database contains more than 82,000 individuals who arrived in present-day Ontario, Canada between 1783 and 1865. Keep in mind that may pioneers from America landed and settled first in this particular area of Canada before moving on to the United States.

To obtain a grant of free land, each pioneer settler was required to submit a written petition. He had to supply the necessary certificates from a local judge confirming his age, that he was of good character, and if available a discharge certificate from the military. Usually, the documents were returned so they are not included with these land petitions.

The process of granting the land followed four essential steps:

• Assigning of specific lots to each settler;
• The land assigned was surveyed to establish exact boundaries
• Settlers were required to clear and cultivate a small section of the land
and build a dwelling house
• Finally, when all of these requirements were satisfied, the deed was issued

Index of Land Petition:

This link is an index to the petitions, with full details on where the actual petitions can be found for each individual listed. Remember to note the microfilm, volume, and page numbers, so you may easily find your ancestor’s land records using the next link:

To see the actual images of your ancestor’s land petition:

The digitized images are presented in PDF, but there is also a link on the page to the JPG file if you would like to print the record or save it to your computer’s hard drive.
To borrow these microfilms:

These microfilms may be loaned to other libraries across the country (NAC Series RG 1, L 3) from the Archives:

Good luck with your search and I invite you to post questions and comments!

3 comments on “Free Online Searchable Land Records 1763-1865

  1. Chris says:

    Hi, great resource! I was wondering if you had any clues for using the land petition. I was able to look up my supposed ancestory (Henry Bradfield), but I found two entries – one in the town of Perth and the other in Drummond. I’m wondering whether this is definitely two different people, or is it possible that he would be granted one lot in town and one in the country? Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this. Thanks!

    • Hi Chris. Could these be adjacent land grants? The town of Perth is in Drummond Township, so one lot could technically be in the town of Perth ‘proper’, and the second, outside the town boundaries in the Township of Drummond. If they were not side by side, it could be that the soldier or petitioner was granted more than one lot. Depending on military rank, the higher the rank, the more 100 acre sections a soldier would be entitled to receive. Hope that helps. It might be worth sending a query to Archives Lanark. They are extremely helpful with this type of query.

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