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The archival world is changing and we are now getting free access to microfilm images on line. More is coming on line all the time. This page is my reminder to myself of what is available and what finding aids are around. Let me know of good stuff that I have missed.
|Use these links to jump to various sections.
|1. Library and Archives of Canada (LAC)
The LAC has an enormous collection of Upper Canada material and much of it has been microfilmed. Go here LAC Microfilm Digitization to see the film the LAC has put on line.
|2. Heritage Canadiana (from LAC)
The Héritage projectis a 10-year initiative to digitize and make accessible online some of Canada’s most popular primary-source documents from the Library and Archives of Canada. For a full catalogue of what is online at Heritage Canadiana see this file.
Go to the Genealogy section and start browsing. The + sign on the right gives you a description of the item. In February 2015 there were 147 titles and by Decemeber 2017 there were 185. Unfortunately one has to click through many screens to see what is available.
The search box is quite amazing. For example, my surname yields one hit in the Sundries and the image number is right there to click on. Of course much of the text in images is not digitized so this will not get a whole lot.
A big hassle with all these films is that often there is no apparent finding aid or index. Some films have handwritten indexes at the start of the film. It is a good idea to search the LAC catalogue to see if there is a finding aid to download for the material that is on a specific film. See the Sundries below for an example of this.
|3. Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS)
The LDS are constantly putting an enormous amount of film on line. Go to Historical Record Collection to see the main collections page. The collection is listed by location. Some records have a searchable index. Scroll down to view the Canada, Canadian and Ontario sections.
An example where there is no search index - scroll down to NY Land Records, 1630-1975. Click on "browse images" and note that there is no search box but you can click on Dutchess County, for example, to see what film is available for browsing.
|4. Upper Canada Land Petitions (UCLP)
These petitions are the first stop when researching early settlers. The index and films are on the LAC web site. First search the index by surname and print off or record information that you wish to see. Then go to the films page and select the film. I prefer clicking on the pdf format for easy viewing. Go to the middle image and scroll to the bottom of the image to see what volume and bundle you are seeing. Based on that, then jump to an image up or down and closer to the one you are after. It usually takes 5 or more jumps to find the petition you are looking for.
|5. Upper Canada Land Boards 1765-1804
This is a major resource for records from mainly 1783 to 1794 and in some cases up to 1804. This is where you will find very early petition information. See the Upper Canada Land Board Minutes 1765-1804 on the LAC web site for the background and use the "Search Database" link to find your surname of interest in the index. Then go here to the Minutes and Records of the Land Boards accumulated by the Executive Council Office at Heritage Canadiana to get the film. There is a set of the films at the Archives of Ontario.
Click here for a copy of the shelf list and the corresponding films and volumes.
|6. State Submissions to Upper Canada 1791-1841
The State Submissions to the Executive Council of Upper Canada, like the Sundries, can be full of surprises. You need to browse the Finding Aid to get an idea of what is to be found. Thanks to Guylaine Pétrin for directing me to this record group.
How to get the finding Aid
Go to the above link and scroll down to Finding Aid and click on the pdf with a long name ending in 1750. It is 242 pages so will take some time.
How to get the film
You have examined the finding aid and see records you would like to see. Noting the file, volume and page numbers, go to the first 10 or so pages of the finding aid and the charts will allow you to find the film number. Note where the volume is placed within the film; front, middle or end. Then go here to Heritage Canadiana to see the films for the State Submissions. The filming does not show the volumes so it takes patience to find what you want.
|7. Haldimand Papers, D7, at Archives of Ontario (AO) and on line.
Frederick Haldimand was Governor in Quebec during the American Revolutionary War and his papers are a source of amazing information. The Haldimand Papers are monstrous and can be confusing records to use. The originals are held by the British Museum from an 1857 accession. The Record Group is Add[itional] MSS 21631 to 21895.
In the 1880’s, formerly PAC, now LAC in Ottawa, made a hand written transcription called Series “B” (volumes B-1 to B-232). These are what are now online.
In 1962, LAC made a filming of the British holdings and they are available in Ottawa: A-609-618; 661-671; 677-692 and 735-780 (78 reels, folders flow continuously from reel to reel.)
In the 1980’s, LAC filmed the Series “B” transcriptions - films are H-1428-1455; 1649-1655; 1685 and 1736-1774 (not at AO) but online at Heritage Canada. Haldimand’s own contemporary index (Add MSS 21888), is on A-779 at LAC or transcribed on H-1745.
Also in 1980's, World Microfilm Pub (WMP) copied the LAC films - 78 films became 115 films because only whole folders are included on each WMP film. The AO bought 50 WMP reels - Upper Canada focused - Catalogued as XX followed by the WMP film numbers. AO stores these in cabinet 7: ie, WMP reel 5 is catalogued as XX 5.
The WMP films that the AO bought are: 5; 12; 23; 29 to 33; 35 to 52; 54 to 57; 76; 78; 80 to 85; 97; 99; 102 to 105 and 109 to 114.
Film Conversion Chart
See Guylaine Pétrin's chart that converts all of these films to the Add MSS number. She has kindly allowed it to be available on this web site.
Finding Aids to Haldimand Papers
|8. Loyalist Lists & Claims
This set of links does not involve microfilm but Loyalists records and the above land petitions go hand in hand. The so called "Rose List" is a fairly solid list of men and some women who were accepted as loyalists. The Loyalist Claims for Losses is a major resource for details of those loyalists who made claims for their losses.
|9. Ontario Land Record Index
The only index to the Upper Canada Land Books that I know of is called the Ontario Archives Land Records Index, commonly called the OLRI. This index gives you the first owner of the land who received the grant from the Crown and thus was entered in the Land Books. It is on microfiche in two binders. One binder is a nominal index and the other is by Township and concession. It is available at the Archives of Ontario and is said to be distributed to Libraries, Historical centres and Family History Centres (LDS) across Canada. Here is an example of an image that I made while researching the Dorland family. Here is the Ontario Archives aid to interpreting the data on the microfiche. Lastly, here is a guide to find the film number given the information on the OLRI microfiche. Now you have the film number but I am still looking for the films online. The films are at the Archives of Ontario.
See this finding aid for a general understanding of the land granting process.
Most of the grant records fall in these 3 categories.
Source: Ont Land Record Index (OLRI), microfiche at AO, C13, Fiats and Warrants, MS 693, V , p
Source: Ont Land Record Index (OLRI), microfiche at AO, AlV, Land rolls & Schedules, MS 400, V, p
Source: Ont Land Record Index (OLRI), microfiche at AO, Cl4, Locations, MS 693, V , p
10. Upper Canada Sundries
The Upper Canada Sundries are a magnificent resource and well worth the effort. Formally called the Civil Secretary's Correspondence, they are held at the LAC in Ottawa.
Getting a finding aid.
On this web page, scroll down to the Finding Aid section, and download the index files as pdf's and save them on your computer. They are large and take a bit of time. This is a massive collection and the finding aid is also massive so nothing is easy. The finding aids are presented in chronological order. You need to know the time period of interest and you can browse the records for that period. This finding aid is also available on films C-9822 to C-9825 but I prefer using a pdf.
There is a partial Sundries index on line at Janice Nickerson's excellent web site and service called Upper Canada Genealogy. You might get lucky there finding a name and page number.
Getting the film
Having searched the index files for the date range of interest, and once you have a page number from the index, go to this pdf to find the film number you need. Then, to see the film, select the Upper Canada Sundries and choose the film you wish to see. The Upper Canada Sundries are buried in the Genealogy section at Heritage Canadiana.
|11. Correspondence from the Office of the Lt Governor of Upper Canada
Guylaine Petrin found this group of interesting records and the two films are on Heritage Canadiana. There is no finding aid. Guylaine writes, "Although the letterbooks have an index per year and some of the letterbooks do refer to the petitions in the correspondence, although some ended up in the sundries. Not sure why some are here and some are in Sundries and some are in State submissions, but that is how it is."
|12. The Heir & Devisee Commissions
There were many land disputes in the early days often because land had changed hands without being registered and people died without wills so these commissions were established. The AO has this informative page about both commissions.
|13. Burleigh Papers
Dr H. C. Burleigh, of Queens University, researched pioneering families in the Kingston - Quinte area and his notes are now online. Generally his citations can be followed. The Quinte Branch of the UEL Association has a project regarding these papers.
|14. Free Census Indexes and Films
Start with this excellent page from LAC on all the Canadian Census data.
Automated Genealogy has both the index and images for 1901, 1906 and 1911 Canadian census.
1842 Canada West Census
This little known census is worth mentioning here. Images of the 1842 Canada West Census are available on both Familysearch.org [go from here] and the Library of Archives of Canada (LAC) web site [navigate from here]. The LAC web site has a nominal search function specific to these records. Murray, Percy and Cramahe Townships have survived.
Here is my web page of Quinte area census data from 1794 to 1850.