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Description found in Archives

Records of the Heir and Devisee Commission accumulated by the Executive Council [textual record]. 

Date(s)

1777-1854

Place of creation

Ontario

ca. 3.4 m of textual records.

Scope and content

Series consists of records of the Heir and Devisee Commission forwarded to the Executive Council Office in the course of business, as well as records accumulated by the Executive Council Office after the demise of the first Commission in 1805. Records include minutes, reports and recommendations, notices of claims, a variety of supporting documents (bonds, certificates, location tickets and the like) and documents created in response to the reports or as a means of controlling the records on file. The bulk of the records in the custody of Library and Archives Canada date from the period 1797 to 1804, but some supporting documents bear dates as early as 1777; most of the post-1805 records are now with the Archives of Ontario. A considerable part, but by no means all, of the post-1805 records in the custody of Library and Archives Canada are made up of reports of the commissioners which the Commission submitted to the Executive Council. Included are records which post-date the Union of the Canadas. A number of duplicates and abstracts of reports, prepared for the use of other officials, are included in the series.

Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1137
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1133
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1135
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1149
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1152
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1151
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1142
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1146
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1143
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1148
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1145
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1141
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1134
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1136
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1144
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1147
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1150
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1153
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1138
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1139
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel H-1140
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
Volume
from 1 to 104
79A
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

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, L5 section) is a typed volume-level description which indicates district name, volume titles, page numbers, inclusive dates and corresponding microfilm reel numbers. The Shelf List also indicates instances in which volume numbers were altered or other revisions made in preparation for the microfilming of the records. CAB RG 1 Shelf List 90 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

An Heir and Devisee Commission was established by provincial statute in 1797 (37 Geo. III, cap.3) to clarify the titles to lands in Upper Canada which had been granted before the provision was made, in 1795, for the issuance of patent deeds on Crown Grants. The life of the Commission was extended further by legislation in 1799 (39 Geo. III, cap. 2). An Act of 1802 (42 Geo. III, cap. 1) amended the operations to some extent and legislation passed in 1805 (45 Geo. III, cap. 2) changed the composition, powers, and duties of the Commission considerably. The Commission established under the 1805 legislation continued in operation until 1896 and was formally abolished only in 1911. The two distinct periods of Commission activity (1797-1805 and 1805 onward) are characterized as the "First" and "Second" Heir and Devisee Commissions (see, for example, the descriptions prepared by the Archives of Ontario for its holdings of Heir and Devisee Commission records, descriptions upon which much of the present text is based). Under the 1797 legislation and its amendments, Heir and Devisee Commissioners were appointed to hear and rule upon claims within the various districts of the Province brought forward by the original nominees of the Crown, their heirs, devisees, or assignees. Each commission consisted of three or more persons, with the stipulation that one member be the Chief Justice or one of the justices of the Court of King's Bench. Decisions of the Commissioners could be appealed to the Executive Council. The 1805 legislation resulted in a centralization of the Commission work. Thereafter, a single Commission met at York, its membership made up of members of the Executive Council, the Chief Justice, and justices of the Court of King's Bench. At the second Commission's first meeting in 1805, the Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council (John Beikie) was appointed to serve as its Clerk. The work of the second Commission was restricted to claims to land made by heirs, devisees or assignees, not by the original nominees themselves.

Additional information

Arrangement note
It is recognized that this series includes records which post-date the Province of Upper Canada. However, is not practicable to divide the records, either physically or intellectually, along geo-political lines. Therefore, the records have been linked to the present series, given the predominance of documents relating to Upper Canada.

The arrangement of the records in this series is by district, then by type of document, then in chronological, alphabetical or numerical order. The Reports of the Commissioners, 1808-1854, are arranged together in vols. 100-104. Many of the Commissioners' Reports are indexed internally and may serve as a means of access to the claims and other records when used in conjunction with the CAB RG 1 Shelf List. Some of the volumes of supporting documents contain rough lists of contents, supplementing the arrangement by date, personal name or claim number.

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, L5 section).

Availability of other formats note
Records in this series, including all internal indexes, were microfilmed in 1981 by the Genealogical Society of Utah and microfilmed copies are available on reels H-1133 to H-1153. For lists correlating volume numbers with microfilm reel numbers, see the finding aids cited elsewhere within this descriptive entry.

Associated material note
The Archives of Ontario holds records of the first Heir and Devisee Commission in its series titled Miscellaneous documents collected by the First Heir and Devisee Commission (Ontario Government Records Series RG 40-3). Extensive records of the second Commission, arranged into a number of series (e.g., case files , minutes), are also held by the Archives of Ontario (Ontario Government Records Series RG 40-4 to RG 40-12). For claims submitted after 1805, the researcher is best advised to consult the Archives of Ontario first, since in the vast majority of cases only the Commissioners' report on the claim will be available at the National Archives in the present series.

Private