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Archived Articles
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Types of records in Ontario Land Registry Offices
Article posted: June 11, 2001
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai

We know that some or all of the following records/documents/registers are to be found or were known to be stored at one time in Ontario Land Registry Offices:
  • Instruments/land transfer documents which were known to include bargains & sales, mortgages, wills, quit claims etc.

  • Registers of first patentees in a given township/townsite. These books were given to the local LRO by the Surveyor General's Office or the Commissioner of Crown Lands and are often referred to as the "Domesday Book" for a particular area.

  • The General Register series and register/index (GR).

  • Deposits and the Deposit register.

  • Survey Plans (subdivisions etc) and plan registers

  • Registers/indexes of prior titles

  • Register of Insolvents (from 1864 - )

  • Power of Attorney/Index to Power of Attorney records

  • Wills and letters of administration/registers of wills and letters of administration (many wills were never probated or were never separated into the general register but are simply instruments which transferred property from one generation to another and are filed with other typical land transfer documents.

  • Applications/registers of marriage licences (late 19th century)

  • Marriage returns/registers for the period 1858-1869. Most of the returns from clergy were filed as instruments among the regular series of documents.

  • Fee books (a record of the amount of money received by the LRO staff for any and all transactions which came into the office)

  • Judgements and Judgement Registers. The individual Judgements were often interfiled amongst the regular series of instruments and in many offices the Judgement registers/indexes have been lost.

  • Chancery court registers

  • Various documents related to provincial legislation at various times

  • Bylaws and related documents. These records often authorized the building of early libraries, bridges, court houses and other public buildings.

  • Partnership documents and partnership registers

  • Joint stock registers

  • Debentures and debenture registers

  • Registers of cattle brands/marks (early 1800s-1830s)

  • Voters lists

  • Naturalization registers/registers of aliens

  • Oaths of allegiance

    Orders of Protection (1867-1895) have been found in hard copy in one Land Registry Office and on the microfilm in two other offices. These orders document early instances of the abuse/neglect of women and children.

  • Incorporations/Incorporation registers (for example, Cheese and butter manufacturing companies, public libraries, mechanics institutes and various co-operative associations were incorporated by filing with the registry offices).

  • And much much more that we are still discovering!!
To highlight the diversity of records contained under one of many acts that governed the conduct of LROs, and to show the potential for the variety of other records that can and do/did exist in LROs, the following quote is extracted from the Custody of Documents Act:
    In this Act "document" shall include whatever is included in the word "instrument" as defined by the Registry Act, and also any certificate, affidavit, statutory declaration, or other proof as to the birth, baptism, marriage, divorce, death, burial, descendants, or pedigree of any person, or as to the existence or non-existence, happening or non-happening of any fact, event or occurrence upon which the title to land may depend, notices of sale, or other notices necessary to the exercise of any power of sale or appointment or other power relating to land. R.S.O. 1927, c.157, s.1.

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