Minutes and records of the Land Boards accumulated by the Executive Council Office [textual record]

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    Type of material:
    Textual material
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    Archives / Collections and Fonds
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    0.552 m of textual records.
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    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.
    Biography/Administrative history:
    Upper Canada. Land Boards: 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.
    Finding aid:
    Textual records (Paper) 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 90: Open)

    Textual records (Paper) 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 90: Open)

    (Electronic) All or some of the documents described have been digitized and are available at the following address: (90 90: Open)

    (Electronic) Les documents décrits ont été complètement ou en partie numérisés et sont disponibles à l'adresse suivante : (90 90: Open)

    Additional information:
    Citation/reference note:
    An analysis of the Boards is provided in David Moorman's "The District Land Boards: A Study of Early Land Administration in Upper Canada, 1788-1794" (Master of Arts thesis, Carleton University, 1992).
    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, L4 section).
    Availability of other formats note:
    The microfilming of the records in this series was completed in 1980. Microfilmed copies are available on reels C-14026 to C-14028. For lists correlating volume numbers with microfilm reel numbers, see the finding aids cited elsewhere within this descriptive entry. Microfilming of the card index to the above-noted records (finding aid MSS1804) was completed in 1986. Microfilmed copies are available on reels H-1759 to H-1761. For the correlation of microfilm reel number with index information contained on each reel, see the finding aids cited elsewhere within this descriptive entry.
    Associated material note:
    The Archives of Ontario holds records of the District Land Boards. See, for example, Nassau District Land Board minutes (Ontario Government Record Series RG 1-177).
    Related material:
    Some reports, copies of minutes and other records submitted by the Land Boards to the Executive Council are found in other series, notably entered in the land minute books (see the Land Minute Books of the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds). Other related records will be found as enclosures with petitions, together with deliberations of the Executive Council on the activities of the Land Boards, copies of instructions sent out, etc., in the Land Submissions to the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds or, for the period to 1791, in the Land Petitions and Related Records of the Executive Council series, within the Executive Council Office of the Province of Lower Canada fonds. For correspondence of E. B. Littlehales with the Land Boards, 1792-1793, see vol. 1A in the Grants, Deeds, Leases and Licences of Occupation Unclaimed or Impounded in the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds.
    Former archival reference no.:
  • Conditions of access:
    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.

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