Land Records

Elgin County, Ontario, Canada

Settlers and Petitioners – Upper Canada Land Petitions

1791 – 1842 and some later

The UCLP – Upper Canada Land Petitions  Over 1200 early Elgin County settlers petitioned for free land in the Upper Canada period between 1791 and shortly after 1842. There is often excellent genealogical information in the petitions. They are one of the best sources Canada has for early Ontario settlers. We have provided links for you to find a digital copy of the actual petition kept by the Library and Archives of Canada.

The Elgin OGS has linked most of the Elgin County Land Petitioners to the Online Digital images

– a big project – estimated 240 hours of volunteer time –

See the actual petition by selecting the appropriate township and using your “Control F” (Find) shortcut to locate your ancestor and petition image. Then click on the pages link.

Early Elgin County Township Map images showing Col. Thomas Talbot locations – 1802- 1837

If you are not sure of the township check the Online UCLP Index

Published by historic township.

Aldborough UC Land Petitions
– approximately 90 petitions

Bayham UC Land Petitions
– approximately 300 petitions

Dunwich UC Land Petitions
– approximately 60 petitions

Malahide UC Land Petitions
– approximately 340 petitions

South Dorchester UC Land Petitions
– approximately 90 petitions

Southwold UC Land Petitions
– approximately 150 petitions

Yarmouth and St. Thomas petitions
– approximately 170 petitions

Total – approximately 1200 petitions

Finding your ancestor’s petition in the online digital images is a 2 step process  by Bruce C. Johnson Jr.

1, Locate your ancestor using the Upper Canada Land Petitions Search Page. You can type part or all of the first name, last name or place – ie “Malahide.” For most petitioners of Elgin County we have already done that for you with links below by Township. Pay special note to first, the microfilm number, second the bundle number and third the petition number. You will need all that information for step 2.

2. Go to the list of microfilms at Library and Archives Canada microfilm numbers and select the needed microfilm number. Click that link to take you to the digital images for that film. Generally there are about a 1000 “digital pages”per film. The trick for a fast search is to use “bracket searching” by first making sure that at the very bottom of the image you are in the correct Bundle number. Look at the first page and see if it is correct or too low. Then bracket search until you are in the correct bundle number. If there are a 1000 pages of the same Bundle number try going to a page about halfway such as 500 to see what the petition number is. If higher, then check a 100 pages lower. If the number is too low then a 100 pages higher etc until you locate the correct petition number. Note that most petitions will have anywhere from 3 to 6 pages usually designated by the petition number followed by the letter a, b, c etc. Once you have found correct petition numbers and verified that you have the correct petitioner send us an email noting the range of page numbers. Note that the default view is JPG but can be changed by clicking “view PDF”

  • Upper Canada Land Books – 41 reels – Heritage website – C-10810 to C-10836 and C-100 to C110 and H-1976-H-1978
  • The Heritage website also contains the images for various types of licenses 1817-1867 –  C3947 to C-3952
  • Heir and Devisee claims pertaining to Bonds, location tickets and affidavits – 21 reels – Heritage website – H-1133 to H-1153

For examples see Finding your Ancestors in the UCLP


Township Land Papers

The Township Land Papers can best be described as a miscellaneous collection of documents relating to early transactions and correspondence to the lots of land in each township.

The Township Land Papers are an important source of information to the family historian, since these files pre-date information found in Land Registry Office records.

These documents have been arranged by lot and concession and are the papers that have survived and are not necessarily a complete record of all business that may have transpired. The type and amount of information contained will vary for each lot, and not every lot has a file.

The purpose of this publication is to provide an index and brief description of the contents of each document found on the microfilm. Without an index, the researcher must know the lot and concession to find reference to the person they are looking for. This index will also record names of people that may never have obtained title to the lot and therefore one would not normally search that particular record. Names of people who witnessed documents have also been indexed since that record is valuable in placing a person in a particular place at a certain time period and provides the family historian with a signature.

There are many types of information found in the Township Land Papers. A large part of the files are correspondence from people wishing to purchase or lease a particular lot, enclosing payments for purchase or rent, disputes over title of a lot, and stating their claims for military service or United Empire Loyalist rights. Much of this correspondence is addressed to the Crown Lands Department by the settler themselves, while a number of letters exist from John B. Askin in London who was an Agent of the Department, who wrote on behalf of the settler or asking the Department for advice in settling disputes and claims.

Some of the correspondence from persons wishing to purchase is very brief, while others went into great detail of when they arrived in the province, the size of their family, and where they immigrated from.

There are also many letters from Mahlon Burwell, a Deputy Surveyor; and Col. Thomas Talbot, who was responsible for locating a great number of settlers in Elgin County.

Other documents found in the Township Papers include grants to sons and daughters of United Empire Loyalists, and grants to settlers located by Thomas Talbot. Certificates from Talbot declaring that a person has performed the required settlement duties and location tickets will also be found. Examinations of military claims, verifying the service of a settler, are also included. These usually identify the regiment in which the claimant served, and the length of service. Another type of document found is the Order in Council, which most often refers to the decision by the Government to grant land to sons and daughters of United Empire Loyalists, or other settlers who have performed the required settlement duties.

A large percentage of the documents include assignments of title or rights to the property from one person to another. These transfers often occurred before a patent was issued for the lot and therefore will not be found in the records of the Land Registry Office for that property.

It should be noted that in most cases, the reply (if any) from the Crown Lands Department for these requests are not included in the file. Therefore it is difficult to determine the outcome of many of these petitions to purchase or the settling of disputes that arose. For the lots that were granted to sons or daughters of United Empire Loyalists, it should be noted that many of the grantees were from other parts of the province and may not have actually settled on the lot granted to them. In most cases, the file contains only the grant document with no record of further transactions. The Abstract Index at the Land Registry Office must be consulted to determine if these grantees disposed of the property to another settler.

The extracts found in this publication appear in the order in which the files were found on the microfilm. The page numbers throughout the text are the page numbers found on the microfilm. The page number in the index refers to the printed page of this publication.

The Township Papers are part of the collection of microfilm housed at the Elgin County Archives. The Elgin County Archives microfilm numbers are as follows:


Township Land Paper images for Aldborough, Bayham, Dunwich and Dorchester (South and North are now available on Family Search.

Ontario Township Papers – Images now on FamilySearch 

For the Elgin OGS extracts by Township click the township links below

Aldborough Township Land Papers
–  MF 1237 – 1239 – (Now includes links

1877 Map of Aldborough

Bayham Township Land Papers
– MF 1240 – 1242

1877 Map of Bayham

Dunwich Townnship Land Papers
– MF 1243 – 1244

1877 Map of Dunwich

Malahide Township Land Papers
– MF 1245 – 1248

1877 Map of Malahide

South Dorchester Township Land Papers
– MF 1249 – 1250 (includes North Dorchester in Middlesex County)

1877 Map of South Dorchester

Southwold Township Land Papers
–  MF 1251 – 1253

1877 Map of Southwold

Yarmouth Township and St. Thomas Land Papers–  MF 1254 – 1255

1877 Map of Yarmouth

The Township Land Papers have also been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available through the Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Consult the LDS Library Catalogue under “Ontario, Elgin – Land and Property” for a listing of these microfilms.

The following Elgin OGS publications have not yet been digitized but are available in print form at the Elgin OGS library collection at the Belmont Library in Central Elgin.

Elgin County Crown Patents: Dunwich Township  – by J. Bircham – 13 pp

 Elgin County Crown Patents: Aldborough Township – by Jean Bircham 1988 – 13 pp

Supreme Court of Canada Case- re improper transfer of land in Malahide Township – Faulds vs Harper

Supreme Court of Canada

Faulds v. Harper, (1886) 11 S.C.R. 639

Date: 1886-03-06

Elijah Washington Faulds, William Martin Faulds, James Linda Faulds, Wesley Bell Faulds and Matilda Elizabeth Faulds (Plaintiffs) Appellants;

and Margaret Harper et al. (Defendants) Respondents.

1885: March 17; 1886: March 6.

Present: Sir W.J. Ritchie C.J., and Strong, Fournier, Henry and Taschereau JJ.               


Mortgagor and mortgagee—Foreclosure and sale—Purchase by mortgagee—Right to redeem after—Statute of limitations—Trustee for sale.

In a foreclosure suit against the heirs of a deceased mortgagor who were all infants, a decree was made ordering a sale; the hinds were sold pursuant to the decree and purchased by J.H., acting for and in collusion with the mortgagee; J.H. immediately after receiving his deed, conveyed to the mortgagee, who thereupon took possession of the lands and thenceforth dealt with them as the absolute owner thereof; by subsequent devises and conveyances the lands became vested in the defendant M.H. who sold them to L, one of the defendants to the suit, a bonâ fide purchaser without notice, taking a mortgage for the purchase money. In a suit to redeem the said lands brought by the heirs of the mortgagor some eighteen years after the sale and more than five years after some of the heirs had become of age.

William Faulds died 1st July, 1858, in possession of the mortgaged premises, intestate, leaving his widow, Matilda, who is still living, and six children. Elijah Washington, born in 1844; James Linda, in 1848; Eliza Jane, in 1850—died unmarried in April, 1868; William Martin, born 23rd May, 1852; Wesley Bell, born 24th February, 1855, and Matilda Elizabeth, born 24th November, 1857.

After the death of the mortgagor, Andrew Faulds, the mortgagee, filed a bill of foreclosure in chancery, and obtained a decree for the sale of the mortgaged premises the 26th June, 1861. The sale, of which the mortgagee had the conduct, took place on the 12th of April, 1862. At that sale Joseph Harper, a son-in-law of Andrew Faulds, became the purchaser for $1,600.

Andrew Faulds conveyed the mortgaged premises to Harper on the 16th of June, 1862, and on the same day Harper reconveyed to Andrew Faulds,

On the 29th December, 1879, the surviving executor of Andrew Faulds, under a power of sale in his will, conveyed the mortgaged premises to James C. Lane, one of the defendants, and the latter on the same day executed a mortgage thereon to Margaret Harper, another of the defendants, to secure the payment of $4,780.29, she being then the only one interested in the estate of her late father.”


Land records of Elgin County, 1801-1954 on FamilySearch


ONLAND Ontario Land Registry Access – Historical Books – Elgin County (LRO 11) 372 Books

These can be filtered by Township and town and then selected by Concessions.

Sample of Malahide Concessions  9 and 10 page Humphrey JOHNSON purchase 1820 – type in page 125 and click Enter