A wonderful new database is now available for those of you who do genealogy research in Canada. In the past to search for Ontario land records you had to figure out which Land Registry Office would have the information carried records related to your ancestors and then go there in person.
However, at the beginning of January, a beta site was launched by the Canadian government titled ONLAND or the Ontario Land Registry Access (https://www.onland.ca). This site lets you search online for information about your ancestor’s property in Ontario. Land records are often the best resource for early Canadian genealogy information so this database has the potential to be very helpful to genealogists. You will need to register but the site is free.
Ultimately you will be able to search four different ways: by property title, by document, by writ, or by “historical books” which are digitized copies of the original property records registered prior to the introduction of Ontario’s electronic land registration system.
As of today (1-26-2018) the historical books are available for many locations. Start by typing in the appropriate land registry office location which is generally in the county where your ancestors lived. You can then either Search or Browse the historical books.
If you are going to Browse the books it is useful to know the Concession and Lot number of their property. I did not have that information for several of my ancestors so I had to do a bit of thinking about how to obtain it. Finally, I realized that if I found my ancestors in the early Canadian City Directories (available on ancestry.com) in the town where they lived, the concession and lot number was listed as their address. Bingo! I could then turn around and put that information into the ONLAND database.
Will land records solve your genealogy brick walls? They can certainly be helpful in answering questions you may have and they might just sneak you past your hurdles. Having these records digitized is also enormously helpful to those of us researching our Canadian ancestors from outside Canada. Good luck and happy research!