Land Record research in Archives

Dr David Ellis sent this last week...

Many of you, as well as myself, have had occasion to use and refer to the Lower Canada Land Records. The great majority of those that I've seen come from microfilms at Library and Archives Canada (or the copies in the Quebec Archives or the copies made by the LDS). That majority come from a collection referenced as RG1 L3L, many of which are now available online at the Library and Archives Canada web site.

To get to the point of this story, Mary Munch recently drew sent me a copy of a land petition that looked for all the world like it was from that same collect. I could not find it and upon closer investigation I found that it came from a completely different set held by Library and Archives Canada. I have just received a reply from Library and Archives Canada explaining why it was not in the data set RG1 L3L. A fascinating story but to cut to the chase it seems that there is a quite massive other set of land (and other) records known as the "S Series" covering 1760 to 1841. There are apparently 5760 volumes, bundles and portfolios in this set but only 131 have been microfilmed. The rest are paper documents on their shelves and there is no reliable index to them!
None are available online.

The description of what these records really are is in a five page Postscript file so I cannot post it to this list. If you are researching land records and would like to see the Postscript description please email me and I will forward you a copy.

Here is a copy David sent today ... thanks!


AS to search Davis discusses here is more on that

I believe most of us know that Library and Archives Canada has put the Land Petitions from RG1 L3L online. There is a good search engine provided with it but my own experience is that it fails to find quite a few known references, possible due to transcription errors or just omissions. The LAC does not provide a browse capability for these records. In order to supplement what they do provide I have added a viewer to Eastern Townships Archives (

The link to it is on that page at the bottom of the group called "Maps, Lists and Miscellaneous" (the "Land Petitions from RG1 L3L"). That link will provide a table that lists all of the pages that have been placed online by LAC. If you select any page group from that list it will popup a viewer page and will show each page in turn for 2 seconds - slide show style. When you see something that may be interesting, just click anywhere in the image and it will stop the slide show and allow you to navigate back and forth manually.

I have checked this on Microsoft's Internet Explorer and on Firefox. It probably works on Google's Chrome browser or any other full featured browser but I have not verified on those others.


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