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Description found in Archives

Land petitions and related records of the Executive Council [textual record, philatelic record]. 

Series consists of

Date(s)

1637-1842, predominant 1792-1842

Place of creation

Québec (Province)

ca. 21.127 m of textual records.
45 postal covers.

Scope and content

Series consists of the petitions and related records accumulated and/or created by the Executive Council in the administration of its land disposal functions. The series includes minute books and loose minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive Council and of the committee of the whole, 1766-1836; Gaspé Land Commission proceedings, 1819-1825; petitions for grants or leases of land, or commutation from seigneurial tenure, 1637-1842; and miscellaneous administrative records, 1743-1842. Although commonly referred to collectively as the "Lower Canada Land Petitions", the records in this series are more varied in nature than that name implies. They include not only the petitions themselves but also an array of administrative records concerning the management of land disposition in the Province of Lower Canada. Moreover, the petitions and other records in this series include documents which relate not only to land administration in the Lower Canada period but also to land administration under the preceding Province of Quebec regime. In addition, records in this series also document land disposition, up to and including 1791, in that part of the colony of Quebec which, after 1791, became Upper Canada. The series also consists of 45 postal covers covering the period from 1785 to 1841. Covers were mailed from various locations in Lower Canada. Straight-line postmarks are well represented, with covers from Berthier (1785), Drummondville (1819), Montreal (1790), Shipton (1819) and Three Rivers (1790-1811).

Philatelic records
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1166
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1172
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1157
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel C-2118A
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1162
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1168
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1170
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1171
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1159
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1165
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1167
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1156
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1169
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1158
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1163
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1164
90: Open
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel H-1160
90: Open
Textual records: microform
90: Open
Microfilm reel
from H-1156 to H-1160
from H-1162 to H-1172
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

In order to protect the fragile originals, many records in this series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation. The microfilm must be used for consultation and copying rather than the originals. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series descriptions.

Textual records The CAB RG 1 Shelf List (see RG 1, L3L, E2, and L7 sections) is a typed volume-level description which provides volume titles, page numbers where applicable, inclusive dates and corresponding microfilm reel numbers. CAB RG 1 Shelf List 90 (Paper)

Textual records Finding Aid MSS1801, commonly called the "Lower Canada Land Index", provides the principal means of access, in the form of a nominal card index, to the records in the Petitions sub-series and the Gaspé Land Commission sub-series of this series. The draft minutes in the Minute Books and Loose Minutes sub-series, however, have not been systematically indexed in this finding aid. The "Lower Canada Land Index" is estimated to be at best 85% accurate and complete. Names of petitioners and claimants were indexed, but those of surveyors and authors of many supporting documents were not. The index entries reflect the spelling of names as they appear on petitions, some of which are scarcely legible. In 1987, it was noted that records which had formerly constituted series L3L, vols. 10-28 (now found in the two sub-series Minute Books and Loose Minutes, and Miscellaneous Administrative Records) were not represented in this index. As the index was designed chiefly to aid the genealogical researcher, it was presumably considered appropriate not to index administrative records such as statistical reports on lands granted. For genealogical research, many of these administrative records, and the supporting documents with specific petitions, offer little or no biographical information of substance. Certain records in volumes 10-28 relating to seigneurial tenure, exploration and surveying are of particular importance for legal or geographical research questions, however, and may in future be indexed. Index entries are not specific to the page on which a name appears, but rather identify the first and last pages of the file, within which the name may appear only once or twice. Index entries for individuals who were members of groups will identify all the pages of the petition and associated documents for that group. The name of a particular individual may appear only once, as signatory to the petition or within a list of settlers. To minimize the costs of ordering photocopies, researchers should first examine the records to determine whether or not all pages are of interest. The alphabetically-arranged nominal index cards which make up Finding Aid MSS1801 have been microfilmed (reels H-1155 to H-1172). The CAB RG 1 Shelf List (see RG 1, L3L section) includes a microfilm shelf list for these reels. This shelf list indicates the range of petitioner names appearing on each reel (e.g., reel H-1155: from Abbitt, Daniel to Beaubien, A. Desauliner).When using the microfilm of the index, researchers should search under possible variant spellings of a surname, and watch for inconsistencies in the filing order of the cards. MSS1801 90 (Paper)

Textual records Finding Aid MSS0619, in four parts, preserves a listing of the records which constituted former series RG1, L3L, in the order in which the records were arranged prior to their re-arrangement in the 1960s. That is to say, it describes the records now found in the Minute Books and Loose Minutes sub-series and the Petitions sub-series of the present series, and some of the records now found in the Miscellaneous Administrative Records sub-series of the present series. In the case of the petitions, it describes them by township and seigneury, then chronologically by date of petition. However, the volume numbers assigned to the records in finding aid MSS619 are no longer relevant. For researchers interested in local history, the finding aid still may have some value for tracing petitions and survey reports relating to a specific area and its first settlers, but only when used in conjunction with finding aid MSS1801. MSS0619 90 (Electronic)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001081.pdf
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001079.pdf
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001080.pdf
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001078.pdf

Philatelic records A finding aid describing the postal covers has been prepared and is available. CPA-261 90 (Electronic)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001807.pdf

Additional information

The documentation of the administration of land disposition in the colony of Quebec was formally segregated from that of the general business of the Executive Council in that colony in 1787, when separate "land" minute books were begun. (For a description of the administration of the land granting system in the colony of Quebec, see the relevant series in the Records of the Councils of the Province of Quebec fonds, formerly RG 1). As settlement expanded in the new Province of Lower Canada after 1791, the record-keeping practices developed under the preceding regime expanded and evolved. Responsibility for filing petitions, reports and other documents referred to or created by the Executive Council lay with its Clerk. His record-keeping activities resulted in the creation of various administrative documents. Petitions and other documents submitted by applicants for grants or leases of land, or for commutation of tenure, were forwarded by the governor's Civil Secretary to the Executive Council and were filed there with reports from the Surveyor General and other submissions to the Land Committee of the Executive Council, and administrative records created by the Clerk. The accumulation of records in Quebec, 1764-1791, was limited in quantity. As settlement expanded in Lower Canada after 1791, a more sophisticated filing system was developed to ensure rapid and reliable access. It brought together the petitions relating to one township or seigneurial estate. Filed with the petitions were various certificates and other documents - some dating to as early as 1637 - submitted in support of individual requests, technical and legal reports from the Surveyor General and the Attorney General, and copies of committee minutes. Record-keeping practices reflected the historical geography of the period. Documents relating to the settlement of lands which in 1791 became part of Upper Canada were not transferred when the Province of Quebec was divided, but remained with the Lower Canada records which are found today in the present series. After 1841, submissions relating to lands in what had been Lower Canada (thereafter commonly called Canada East) were filed in a new system for the united Province of Canada. Those records have been preserved at Library and Archives Canada with the Land Submissions to the Executive Council series within the Records of the Executive Council Office of the Province of Canada fonds.

Related materials
The land granting process was complex and involved many officials. Records relating to land are found in other fonds at the National Archives. For example, matters of policy are the focus of land-related records found in the Office of the Governor General of Canada fonds (R-178, formerly RG7). Matters of practice relating to individual cases are the focus of land-related records found in RG 4 (Records of the Civil and Provincial Secretaries, Quebec, Lower Canada, and Canada East). Operational records of the Surveyor General and other officials, on the other hand, are found in the provincial archives of Quebec. For minutes of the Executive Council's deliberations and decisions on land matters, see the Land Minute Books of the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds. For various other land-related records maintained by the Clerk of Council, see the Office Records of the Clerk of the Executive Council series, found elsewhere within this fonds. Some petitions found in the Petitions sub-series of the present series relate to land disposition which took place during the Province of Quebec period. The minutes which document the deliberations and final decisions of the Executive Council concerning those petitions, however, are not found in the present series or even the present fonds. Researchers should consult the Land Minute Books of the Executive Council (1775-1791) series, in the Records of the Councils of the Province of Quebec fonds for Executive Council land minutes relating to those petitions in the present series which date from the Province of Quebec period. The fonds titled Entrybooks of the Provincial Registrar for Quebec, Lower Canada and Canada East (MG8-A26) contains microfilm copies, from originals at the Archives nationales du Québec, of texts of letters patent authorizing the alienation from the Crown of title to lands by grant or sale in the Provinces of Quebec, Lower Canada, and the Canada East part of the Province of Canada, 1788-1867. The finding aid to that fonds (MSS876 - also available on microfiche through the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproduction) consists of a report published for the Quebec Legislature in 1891, titled "Lists of land granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec from 1763 to 31st December 1890 / Liste des terrains concédés par la Couronne dans la province de Québec de 1763 à 31 décembre 1890".

Arrangement note
Some records currently described in the present series date from the Province of Quebec period and consist of documents which the Councils of the Province of Quebec (not the Executive Council of the Province of Lower Canada) created and/or accumulated. Included in this category are not only rough and draft minutes on land matters and Land Committee minutes of the Councils of the Province of Quebec but also the principal surviving body of land petitions/submissions for the period of the Province of Quebec. Because of arrangement decisions taken at Library and Archives Canada in the 1960s, it is not practicable now to segregate petitions of the Province of Quebec period from those of the Province of Lower Canada period. The arrangement of the petitions no longer reflects the original order of the documents. In the mid-1960s, the petitions and their related records now described in the Petitions sub-series (i.e., vols. 29-209), which to that point had been arranged by township, were reorganized into an alphabetic sequence by name of petitioner or group leader. This resulted in the irretrievable inter-mingling of the petitions submitted during the two regimes. Although the administrative records concerning the land disposition process (formerly RG 1, L3L, vols. 1-28 and 210) could have been separated now according to geo-political entity, it makes more sense not to do so and, rather, to leave together in a single fonds both the petitions and the administrative records which document the process by which those petitions were handled. Prior to the most recent intellectual re-arrangement exercise (undertaken in 2002-2003), the main body of records which now make up the present series was described as Record Group 1, series L3L, vols. 1-210. Within that arrangement schema, the petitions constituted vols. 29-209 and the administrative records of the land disposition process vols. 1-28 and 210. In the intellectual arrangement presented here now, the petitions remain together as a unit of records (in the Petitions sub-series). The administrative records (former series L3L, vols. 1-28 and 210) have been divided between two new sub-series - Minute Books and Loose Minutes, and Miscellaneous Administrative Records. The content of the new Miscellaneous Administrative Records sub-series has been augmented, as well, by the addition of three volumes of records which relate to the Executive Council's land disposition functions but which had heretofore been included within other series of the former Record Group 1.

Series title
Also known as the Lower Canada Land Petitions.

Preferred citation note
Suggestions on proper citation style for the records in this series are provided in the CAB RG 1 Shelf List (see RG 1, L3L section).

Availability of other formats note
Many records in this series are available on microfilm. Microfilming of all records formerly included within RG 1, series L3L was completed in 1966. This includes all records in the present Petitions sub-series, viz. vols. 29-209; all records in the present Minute Books and Loose Minutes sub-series, viz. vols. 1 (part)-2 (part), 10-15 and 210; and that portion of the records in the present Miscellaneous Administrative Records sub-series, which was formerly part of RG 1, series L3L, viz. vols. 1 (part) -2 (part), 3-9 and 16-28. Microfilming of the card index to the above-noted records (finding aid MSS1801) was completed in 1981. Microfilming of all the records in the present Gaspé Land Commission sub-series was carried out in 1951. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series descriptions.

Varying form of title

Private