How to research the newly-digitized Ontario Land Registry Records

If you are researching ancestors in Ontario, Cindi Foreman’s well-researched tutorial containing a four-part series of step-by-step illustrated instructions are a must-read series.

Part I: Historical Books: First Registration Book: Where genealogists can find their ancestors.  This post, is about the First Registration books which contain a list of first registrations from registry to land titles (e.g. Crown Patent or Crown plan).

Part II: Historical Books: Abstract/Parcel Register Book: Where genealogists can find all the entries of every transaction on their ancestor’s land from the date the Crown Patent was issued (all instruments recorded) up to January 30, 1981.

Part III: OnLand Records: Historical Books: General Register Index, genealogists learn why their ancestor’s will can be found in the Ontario Land Registry Office, and not in the Court records. The General Register Index contains a Registry System index of all non-land-specific documents maintained by each Land Registry Office, including wills, letters probate, and letters patent.  In this part of the tutorial  Ms. Foreman demonstrates how she found information for her 4th great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan’s (1770-1860) will.

 Part IV: Historical Books: Canada Lands Index is about the Canada Lands Index that contains plans of public lands under the Canada Lands Surveys Act. In this blog post, genealogists learn how to find information about public lands under the Canada Lands Surveys Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Transfers of Jurisdiction and Control, Indian Reserves, and National Parks.  Ms. Foreman explains that this is an “index of sorts” to the 53 Land Registry Offices in Ontario. She indicates if they even have a Canada Lands Index book online and summarizes all of the historical books that are available online in this new resource.

In addition to the instructions, Ms. Foreman provides a glossary and links to online resources for finding your ancestors’ land records.

Going through these tutorials and using the techniques can be time consuming, but it is well worth the effort to find more information on your ancestors’ lives.