Many early settlers, both military and civilian, submitted petitions to the Governor in order to obtain Crown land.
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Quebec and Lower Canada, 1764-1841 (RG 1 L3L)
The Lower Canada Land Petitions series (RG 1 L3L) consists of the petitions and related records accumulated and/or created by the Executive Council of Lower Canada, 1764-1841.The series contains the following types of documents:
Petitions submitted in Lower Canada (Quebec) tend to be group petitions where a letter is drafted and a number of people sign their name; therefore, a name may appear only once within a long section of pages.
The index and digitized images of the Lower Canada Land Petitions are available in a searchable database online.
Gaspé Land Commission (RG 1 L7)
Gaspé Land Commissioners were appointed in 1819 to hear and determine all applications for grants of land by persons holding or claiming to hold lands in the Gaspé District. It consists of two volumes containing claims. Records are available on microfilm reels C-96 and C-97.
Upper Canada (Ontario) and the United Province of Canada, 1791-1867 (RG 1 L3)
This series contains the following types of documents:
Petitions submitted in Upper Canada (Ontario) are for the most part individual petitions, which often contain information about the petitioner and his or her family. Loyalists and discharged soldiers often mentioned the regiment in which they served. Sons and daughters of Loyalists gave their father's name. Civilian petitioners sometimes indicated their country or place of origin.
The index for the Upper Canada Collection includes references to two series.
After consulting the index, refer to the list of microfilm reel numbers for the actual records.
The index of the Upper Canada Land Petitions is available online.
That database also includes references to land petitions that were submitted to the Civil Secretary of Upper Canada. Those petitions are part of the series Upper Canada Sundries, 1791-1841 (RG 5 A1).
Research in Provincial Sources
The provincial archives in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick hold collections of land petitions for those provinces.