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Description found in Archives
Series part of
Place of creation
Language of material
Scope and content
Series consists of minutes and reports of the Land Boards, as well as correspondence and instructions or regulations for their operations. The arrangement of the records is first by district, then in rough categories: minutes, correspondence, schedules of grants, etc. The order within those categories is chronological. The records in this series are a mix. In that the Executive Council Office took on responsibility for the work of the defunct Boards after 1794, it inherited many records created and accumulated by the Boards during their period of operation. Records ante-dating the establishment of the Boards, submitted to the Boards as supporting documents for claims to land, are included in the series. However, the series also includes records created and accumulated by the Executive Council, during the period of the Boards' operation, documenting the Council's relationship with the various Boards. It also includes some records post-dating 1794. It is not clear to what extent the records of the separate creators became mixed inside the Executive Council Office after the Land Boards became defunct and their records devolved to the Council office, or to what extent they were mixed during custody at Library and Archives Canada.
Conditions of access
Microfilm reel C-14028
Microfilm reel C-14026
Microfilm reel C-14027
Microfilm reel H-1760
Microfilm reel H-1759
Microfilm reel H-1761
from 1 to 16
from H-1759 to H-1761
In order to protect the fragile originals, records in this series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation.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.
Textual records The (CAB RG 1 Shelf List see RG 1, L4 section) is a typed volume-level description which provides volume content titles, district or county name, page numbers, inclusive dates and corresponding microfilm reel numbers.
CAB RG 1 Shelf List 90 (Paper)
Textual records Finding Aid MSS1804, completed in 1982, is a card index for the Land Board records in this series. Index entries were made for both personal names and subjects; the page and volume number for each document, as well as the microfilm reel number, is included on the cards. The index cards have been microfilmed on reels H-1759 (surnames Abbott to Hebert), H-1760 (surnames Hechellor to Saup), and H-1761 (surnames Savage to Zuffeet). MSS1804 90 (Paper)
Creator / Provenance
Biography / Administrative history
The Land Boards were first appointed in 1789 in the Province of Quebec to facilitate settlement in the four districts - Hesse, Nassau, Luneburg and Mecklenburg - into which that portion of the colony that would become Upper Canada was divided. In October 1792, after he had divided the new colony of Upper Canada into 19 counties, Simcoe enlarged the number of Land Boards to seven. However, these seven Boards had responsibilities in only 13 of the 19 new counties; Council reserved to itself the hearing of all petitions in the six other counties. The Boards were abolished in 1794 and the land granting process was centralized through the Executive Council.
The Archives of Ontario, in its description of the Land Board records in its custody, summarizes the functions of the Boards as follows: "The Board was responsible for examining the loyalty and character of individuals requesting land from the Crown and administering oaths of allegiance. Subsequently, it authorized the issuance of location tickets, specifying the quantity of land to which the individual was entitled. It transmitted petitions for land and copies of land certificates to the Executive Council and made recommendations to the Executive Council concerning more complex matters relating to land and settlement". Historian Lillian Gates states that the Council "acted as a sort of court of appeal from the land boards and reported on the larger claims".
Although the intent in the creation of the Boards was to streamline the land allocation system by removing to a local level responsibility for some of the initial steps in the arduous land granting process, the Boards did not replace the Executive Council in that process. For example, while the Boards could recommend the allocation of single 200-acre lots, they were required to forward to Council for approval their recommendations on additional claims. Regulations stipulated that copies of District Land Board reports were to be submitted to the central administration. Petitions received by the Boards were also forwarded to the Lieutenant Governor and retained within the Executive Council Office. And, of course, the initial steps in the granting process performed by the Land Boards were only the beginning of what was often a long process. Later steps, such as the further review of the petition, approval for the actual survey, and preparation of final documentation to confirm a grant, were performed centrally.
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