Upper Canada Land Petitions Online

I can’t believe these documents are now online (and have been online for a couple of months, apparently — John Reid posted about this on 14 January 2012). Not just the index to the petitions (which index was put online around September 2010, I believe), but now the digitized images of the petitions themselves. 327 microfilms (over 82,000 entries, and thousands upon thousands of pages of text), now readily available to anyone with an internet connection.

Two of my direct ancestors (both 3x-great-grandfathers) can be found on the same page, three lines from the top and five lines from the top, respectively (click image below to see larger version):

  1. Denis Killeen, Irish Emt [Emigrant], Township of March, Concession 3rd, S.E. [Southeast] 1/2 of Lot 11, 100 acres.
  2. James Morin [Moran], Irish Emt [Emigrant], Township of Huntley, Concession 1st, N.W. [Northwest] 1/2 of Lot 11, 100 acres.

Upper Canada Land Petitions, Perth Military Settlement (RG 1, L 3, Vol. 421), Microfilm C-2739, Petition 70, p. 70h.

Actually, perhaps my above “readily available” was a tad hyperbolic.

It is not an absolute cinch to find your ancestor amongst these thousands upon thousands of digitized pages (but still, so much easier than when you had to order photocopies from the LAC, with their clunky sort-of-online-but-still-working-with-a-paper-and-pencil-model ordering system). You do have to do some digging around, and also some clicking around (now that you’re searching online, from your own computer).

The index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (1763-1865) is here, and oddly enough, does not (yet) include any sort of link to that section of the LAC site that offers digitized images of the actual petitions. But use the index to find your man (or, perhaps, though far less commonly, your woman). So, for example, the index entry for James Morin of Huntley

indicates that C-2739 is the relevant microfilm number. That microfilm (C-2739) is listed here, and its contents, now online in digitized format, start here.

I found Denis Killeen and James Morin [Moran] on page 545 of 1129 pages. So, yeah, I did have to do some clicking around to find the relevant page. As usual, when faced with 1000 or more pages of text, I used my ‘by the 100s, then 50s, then 10s’ rule: I start on page 1 (yes, brilliant is my method, I think I should take out a patent or something), then go to page 100, then 200, 300, 400, and so on. Once I see that I’ve gone too far, I go back in 50-page increments, then refine with 10s,  then finally zero in on the looked-for page. But that probably makes it sound more complicated than it actually is: took me less than 15 minutes to find James Morin [Moran] in the online version of microfilm C-2739, after looking him up in the online index. And that’s about three or four weeks faster than the previous photocopy ordering system. Advantage: internet!