Friday, January 19, 2018

52 Ancestors: Week 3: Longevity

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was created by Amy Johnson Crow and is a series of weekly prompts to inspire genealogists and family historians to think and write about an ancestor and then share it online. The theme for Week 3 is "Longevity".

80 year-old Jane Fonda thinks perhaps the most important revolution happening today is the “longevity revolution”. In her book "Prime Time" Jane Fonda writes,
"... a revolution has occurred within the last century - a longevity revolution. Studies show that, on average, thirty-four years have been added to human life expectancy, moving it from an average of forty-six years to eighty! This addition represents an entire second adult lifetime, and whether we choose to confront it or not, it changes everything, including what it means to be human." (Source: Jane Fonda; "Prime Time" Preface; xi)

I started to review the longevity of my ancestors to see if any of them had lived past 100 years and sadly, I did not find one. The oldest ancestors I found were my paternal grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan who had a longevity of ninety-two years followed by my maternal grandmother Dorothy (Moreland) Creighton who lived to be ninety-one years.

In terms of longevity, I stumbled upon a Kerryman who lived to 122 years and I so enjoyed his obituary that I am adding it here:

In Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, died on the 27th Feb, Timothy Sweeny, aged 122 years. 

Mr. Sweeny was born in the year 1737, in Carrhan, parish of Ardfert, county Kerry, Ireland, and emigrated to this country in 1837, being then one hundred years old. The subject of this notice was never known to have had an hours sickness, even up to the very day of his death, but was always remarkably stout and healthy, having the full use of all his faculties to the last, with a delicacy of hearing and a quickness of perception that was really miraculous in one who had journeyed so far beyond the allotted bounds of earthly existence. 

His last day on earth was spent, as usual, at the genial fireside of his daughter, Mrs. Nolan, surrounded by admiring and affectionate grandchildren, and nothing occurred to warn them that in the sleep of the coming night the patriarch was to sink silently and at once into the deeper slumber of the grave. 

To "to sink silently and at once into the deeper slumber of the grave" is exactly how my 2nd great grandfather Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922) passed as well. Jeremiah "was about as usual during the day and did not complain of any ailment and retired at 8 o'clock that night. About 10, when Mr and Mrs Jobin (his daughter and husband) retired, they looked into his room and were surprised that he slept away without making a struggle."

Below is a list of my maternal and paternal grandparents, great-grandparents, 2nd and 3rd great-grandparents and their longevities.

The Men
(Paternal and Maternal Ancestors)
  • 85 years: Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 84 years: Martin Broderick (1831-1915) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 81 years: James Henry Annal (1849-1930) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 79 years: William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952) My great-grandfathe (Blog Link)
  • 74 years: Ernest Moynahan (1900-1974) My grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 72 years: Charles Moreland (1858-1930) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 69 years: Frederick Creighton (1907-1976) My grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 67 years: John Moynahan (1866-1933) My great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 65 years: Samuel Tomlin (1851-1916) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 63 years: James Annal (1813-1876) My 3rd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 63 years: Charles D. Creighton (1846-1910) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 60 years: John Moreland (1880-1940) My great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 48 years: William Alfred Curd (1862-1911) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 27 years: Charles R. Creighton (1884-1911) My great-grandfather (Blog Link)
The Women 
 (Paternal and Maternal Ancestors)
  • 92 years: Rhea Coughlin (1902-1992) My grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 91 years: Dorothy Moreland (1909-2000) My grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 91 years: Mary Broderick (1869-1960) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 85 years: Mary Brennan (1841-1926) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 79 years: Elizabeth (Betsy) Wylie (1813-1892) My 3rd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 74 years: Mary Hess (1853-1927) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 71 years: Mary Hussey (1842-1913) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 69 years: Elizabeth Annal (1884-1953) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 66 years: Emily Nickerson (1851-1917) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 61 years: Effie Tomlin (1886-1947) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 57 years: Jane Storey Dewer (1814-1871) My 3rd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 45 years: Dawn Creighton (1936-1981) My mother (Blog Link)
  • 44 years: Mary Ann Steinbrum (1829- 1873) My 3rd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 43 years: Catherine Power (1856-1899) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 41 years: Jane Ann Wellard (1866-190) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 36 years: Agnes Bell Hind (1852-1888) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 29 years: Florence Curd (1886-1915) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
My Grandparent Tree

Jane Fonda's reminds us that thirty-four years have been added to human life expectancy!  What a gift we have in our hands that the majority of our ancestors did not!
"We have not added decades to life expectancy by simply extending old age; instead, we have opened up a space partway through the life course, a second and different kind of adulthood that precedes old age, and as a result every stage  of life is undergoing change" (Source: Social Anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson; Composing a Further Life", New York: Knopf, 2010 p.12)
How will you make use of this gift?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

OTD: January 18: Prospector Edward Ladouceur (1877-1954) Died

Today's blog post is about my stepmother's family who have roots in Quebec and the early prospecting and mining activities in north-eastern Ontario and northern Quebec. My stepmother has entrusted me with a great deal of her archival material to scan and preserve for future generations and I am enjoying the story of the Ladouceur family immensely.

These are some of the photos of my stepmother's grandparents Edward and Margaret Ladouceur of Rouyn, Quebec from the Landers / Ladouceur family archives.

Edward Ladouceur:
Source: Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Born 1877:  Sheenboro, Quebec,
Died: 18 Jan 1954, Rouyn, Quebec

The Ladouceur Family

The Ladouceur family: (Left to right: Margaret, Florence Eva, Lily, Violet and Edward.
Edward Ladouceur (1877-1954) died on January 18 four days after his wife Margaret Blanck (1880-1954) had died.

1954 Obituary
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives

The couple are buried at the Noranda Catholic Cemetery

Ladouceur funeral card
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives

Edward Ladouceur: A Pioneer Miner in 
N.E. Ontario and Quebec

The most wonderful part about scanning all of the material from the Landers/Ladouceur Family archives is that Violet (Ladouceur) Landers (1901-1999) wrote on the back of almost every photograph. All of the photos below have her comments quoted from the back of the photograph.

Newsclipping from the
Landers/Ladouceur Family archives

"My Dad (Edward Ladouceur) and George Mulholland" 
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"Melvin Martel and the miners at my father's mine"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"My Father" 
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"All friends of my fathers at the mine. I'm in it too!" 
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
1901 Marriage in Pembroke, Ontario 

Source: Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007.Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

A Miner's & Prospector's Life in the North

Below are but a few of the many images of the Ladouceur's family life in the north selected from The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives.
From Right to Left: Edward and Margaret Ladouceur, Violet and Frank Landers, Martin Martel (others unknown)
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Violet (Ladouceurs) Landers explains the previous photograph
"Violet (Ladouceur) Landers, Margaret (Blanck) Ladouceur, Jenny McDonald, Adrian and Melvin"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
" Bernie Auger, Violet Ladouceur, Bernice Beauchamps"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"Ed Ladouceur"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"Dog sled - Long ago in Foleyet - Ben Long's house at back"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
I thought that I would close today's remembrance of Edward and Margaret Ladouceur on the sixty-fourth anniversary of their passing (January 1954) with two special photographs.

Below is  a photograph of my stepmother with her father, grandparents, aunt and her two sisters 
(taken by her mother on the front porch) with: Frank Landers; Edward and Margaret (Blank) Ladouceur; Lily (Ladouceur) Coutu, Sam Coutu; and sisters Frances, Linda and Joan Landers

Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
This photograph (taken earlier) on the same porch has "Eva LeBlanc, Melvin Martel; sisters Frances, Joan, and Linda Landers; Edward and Margaret (Blanck ) Ladouceur, Izon Landers and Frank Landers.

Landers - Ladouceur Links

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Charles D. Crichton/Creighton (1846-1910)

The Crichton/Creighton branches of my family tree include centuries of military service in England and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was surprised to learn that my 2nd great-grandfather Charles Douglas Crichton (1846-1910) was only 14 years old when he enlisted in the Royal Artillery (1859) in Portsmouth, England!

My Haligonian cousin has been researching the Crichton/Creighton branches for many decades and here is what I have learned about Charles Douglas Crichton (1846-1910) from my cousin. 

The Creighton/Crichton family tree

Charles is Born in Portsmouth, England

My 2nd great-grandfather Charles Douglas Crichton's (1846-1910) story begins in England and ends in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
England & Wales, Birth Index, 1837-2005 [online database]. Lehi, UT, USA: MyHeritage (USA) Inc.
Charles was born in Portsmouth Hampshire (aka Portsea Island), England in December of 1846. He was the son of Robert Crichton (1805-1849) and Jane Storey Dewar (1814-1871) (
"Portsmouth is a port city and naval base on England’s south coast, mostly spread across Portsea Island. It’s known for its maritime heritage and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard." (Source: Wikipedia)
Source: Google map: Portsmouth, England
Robert Crichton Marries Jane Storey Dewer

Charles' parents (my 3rd great-grandparents) Robert Crichton (born 1805, Bothwell Castle, Scotland; died 1849 South Sea Castle, Southampton, England) and Jane Story Dewer (b. 1814, England; died 1871) were married on the 15th of August, 1831 at St. Luke's church in the parish of Charlton, County of Kent, England.
Sources: Marriages: St. Luke's Church; parish of Charlton; County of Kent, England.

Robert Crichton Dies of Cholera

Charles' Scottish father (my 3rd great-grandfather) Robert Crichton died of cholera in 1849 at South Sea Castle while he was a Warder. His son Charles was only 3 years-old. 

Of note, Robert Crichton's Attestation papers say he was in the Royal Artillery from 1823 – 1846. He was medically discharged because of Chronic Rheumatism.

England & Wales, Death Index, 1837-2005 [online database]. Lehi, UT, USA: MyHeritage (USA) Inc.
The Portsmouth History Centre assisted my cousin who was trying to locate our 3rd great-grandfather
Robert Crichton’s (1805-1849) final resting place. They wrote:
"I have found the burial place of Robert Crichton, unfortunately it was in Mile End Cemetery, which no longer exists.  This was a private cemetery with an imposing colonnade, which, because it had been in private ownership, became neglected by the 1950s.  Many of the remains were moved to Kingston cemetery, the largest in Portsmouth, and the ground was laid out as a rest garden. The area was  developed in the 1970s, and was incorporated into the Continental Ferry Port in 1978.  He is listed as being buried on August 31st 1849, the date of death looks like 30th rather than 13th and his age given as 44 years." Source: The Portsmouth History Centre: Ref : PHC14/581

Jane (Dewer) Crichton remarries

Our 3rd great-grandmother, Jane (Dewar) Crichton remarried in 1851 (two years following the death of her husband Robert Crichton) to William Craig. William Craig was also in the Royal Artillery. Perhaps young Charles was a handful and that's why his mother and step-father decided to send him to Artillery School at the young age of fourteen years?

 Charles Enlists in the Royal Artillery
 at Fourteen Years-Old 

Attestation Papers: Source: The National Archives London, England
Description on enlistment:
On Page 1 of his Attestation Papers (above), Charles Douglas is unable to write

Age apparently: 14 years
Height 4 feet 6 1/4 inches

Description on discharge:
On Page 2 of his Attestation Papers (below), we see that not only has Charles Douglas married (January 11, 1877 at St. Mary's Basilica, Halifax, Nova Scotia ), but he has also grown one full foot in the twenty-two years since he first enlisted in 1859: 
Age: 36 years 6 months
Height: 5 feet 6 3/4 inches

Attestation Papers: Source: The National Archives London, England

1861 Census 

In the 1861 census below (age 15), he was listed as a Trumpeter for the Royal Artillery.
Source: Public Record Office, London, England; RG 9/405

Standing Orders, Dress Regulations, and Trumpet and Bugle Sounds,
for the Royal Regiment of Artillery

1864 Google Books

Marriage 1877

On Page 2 of his Attestation Papers (above), we learned that Charles Douglas Crichton married Catherine Power
on January 11, 1877 at St. Mary's Basilica, Halifax, Nova Scotia. From this union, the following children were born (Source: Year: 1891; Census Place: Ward 5a, Halifax City, Nova Scotia; Roll: T-6314; Family No: 237 ):
  1. Frederick David - born 24 May 1879, Nova Scotia
  2. Albert Ernest - born 1882, Malta
  3. Charles Robert - born 1884, England; died 1911
  4. Mary - born April 1888, Nova Scotia; died 5 Jul, 1923(married  Ernest Leo Schroeder)
The St. Mary's Rectory on the right (below) is where Catherine Power lived with her children (Frederick David, Albert Ernest, Charles Robert and Mary) in the 1891 census.

St. Mary's Basilica. Our 2nd great-grandparents Charles Douglas Crichton and Catherine Power were married 11 Jan 1877

In the McAlpine's Nova Scotia Directory for 1896, Halifax, Halifax County, there is a listing for a Charles D. and a Frederick living at 18 Cunard, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Charles is working at the Sugar Refinery in Halifax (the ten storey concrete and brick building was completely destroyed in the Halifax Explosion 1917)

Source: Library and Archives Canada: McAlpine's Nova Scotia Directory for 1896, Halifax, Halifax County; Page 277

Catherine (Power) Crichton Dies and Charles Remarries

Charles' wife Catherine (Power) Crichton died on the 30th of May, 1899 at forty-three years-of-age (Source: Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics; 1899 Page: 221 - Number: 1)and Charles Douglas Crichton remarried widow Emma Johnston (1880-1945) in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 13th of October, 1902. (Source: Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics; Registration Year: 1902 - Book: 1820 - Page: 29 - Number: 430)

Catherine (Power) Crichton is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery, but not with her husband Charles Douglas Crichton. Catherine is buried in the Power family lot (her brothers lot.)

From the union of Charles Douglas Crichton and Emma Johnston, the following children were born:
  1. Robert Ernest Crichton (31 Jul 1903-8 Jan 1947) 
  2. Edward Douglas Creighton (16 Oct 1904 - ??) 
The descendants of Robert Ernest Crichton have added information to our GENI Family tree including this interesting photograph of Robert Ernest Creighton.

Undated photograph that includes Robert Ernest Crichton (not identified)
Source: Robert William Creighton, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Charles D. Crichton Dies 

Charles Crichton died on the 4th of August 1910 at sixty-three years of age after being ill for one month with cardiac issues.
Death Certificate: Charles Douglas Crichton; 4 Aug 1910; Halifax, Nova Scotia

He was living at 130 Maitland St. Halifax at time of death. Occupation at time of death listed as laborer at sugar refinery. He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery (common burial ground)

Is It "Crichton" or "Creighton"?

"The family name of Charles Douglas Crichton changed to Creighton after 1911.Charles Douglas registered and signed his marriage record as CRICHTON. Charles Robert married Effie Alberta Tomlin, d/o Samuel Tomlin and Emily Nickerson, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He also registered and signed his marriage record as CRICHTON. Charles Robert baptized his 2 boys, Frederick Douglas and William Frances at St. George's Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia and registered them as CRICHTON. When Charles Robert died in a Dockyard accident 28 December 1911, Effie registered his death as Charles Robert CREIGHTON and registered their two boys at school after the death as CREIGHTON. Hence the family name changed from Crichton to Creighton."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Family Search: Digitization of Essex County Land Records 1779-1955

I am incredibly grateful for a comment that was left by James F.S. Thomson on my blog post "The NEW OnLand Portal: Three Ways To Get Property Details":

James wrote:
"Thanks very much for your excellent posts about OnLand, Cindi. With respect to documents not (yet) online through OnLand, perhaps it would be worth also considering the ongoing project to digitize FamilySearch microfilms - among which of course one finds a large number (though not a comprehensive set) of Ontario land records. For instance, and having Matthew Moynahan in mind, digitized reels of Sandwich Township records 1847-1853 are already digitized (and accessible anywhere upon logging in with a free FamilySearch account) and one hopes that other reels of Essex County land records will follow soon. See"

 Ongoing Project at Family Search
to Digitize Ontario Land Records!

I went to the Family Search link that James F.S. Thomson had posted immediately and there is PLENTY of  "Land records of Essex County, 1779-1955", in fact the catalog says that there are 229 microfilm reels!

Source: Family Search: Land records of Essex County, 1779-1955
I started to scroll through the various township listings for Essex County and when I arrived at Maidstone, I notices that the catalog contained two symbols for the records: one with a "film reel" and one with a "camera".

The "film reel" symbols mean that the microfiche is available at the family history center and the "camera" symbols mean that the image is online.

I decided to look at the images highlighted above because I knew that my 3rd great-grandfather Denis Moynahan was located by Col. Talbot at 6 South Middle Road (S.M.R.), Maidstone, Ontario and I wondered if there was anything about him there.

Source: Archives of Ontario; My Moynahan Ancestors: Talbot Settlers
My Moynahan Ancestors: Talbot Settlers

When I opened up "Maidstone Township (v. C, 582-963) 1865-1868; DGS #8199152" I noticed that the first few pages were arranged alphabetically by surname. The letter "M" was found on Page 21 of 501 pages. and I found my 3rd great-grandfather Denis on Lot 6, Maidstone, Ontario.

Source: Family Search "Maidstone Township (v. C, 582-963) 1865-1868; DGS #8199152
I then searched for the page where #739 could be found and I located it on page 201 of 501 pages and the number refers to the entry number and not the page numbers on the upper left and right of the book.
A feature that I really appreciate is the "download" feature at Family Search and so I downloaded the full entry which I had never sen before.

Source: Family Search "Maidstone Township (v. C, 582-963) 1865-1868; DGS #8199152
The entry is a tripartite transaction in November 1866 naming my 3rd great-grandfather Denis, my 3rd great-mother Catherine and their first-born son Matthew Moynahan (my 3rd great-uncle) (1835-1910).

Source: Family Search "Maidstone Township (v. C, 582-963) 1865-1868; DGS #8199152
My my 3rd great-uncle Matthew Moynahan (1835-1910) married Catherine Carr June 1867 and moved to East Tilbury to raise his family.

Family Search: 
Land records of Essex County, 1779-1955

Like the new "OnLand" Ontario Land Records ongoing project (currently in Alpha Phase), genealogists researching Ontario ancestors can be equally thrilled by this ingoing project at Family Search.

The Essex county land records that are available at Family Search for browsing right now, include:
  Abstract index books, ca. 1795-1957
  • Abstract index of Rochester Township, vols. A-B ca. 1799-1957; DGS 8199149
  • Abstract index of Tilbury West Township, vols. A-B ca. 1800-ca. 1950 DGS  8199145 
Extracts of conveyances, ca. 1799-ca. 1886, Essex County 
  • Extracts of conveyances, ca. 1799-ca. 1886, Essex County DGS 8199153
 From settler to land owner : 
the First Heir & Devisee Commission 
for the Districts of London 1802-1803, 
Western 1798-1803
 General register of wills and wills index, 
Essex County
  • Wills index (no dates) to the general register (A) and to will entries in the township and village land record registers DGS 8129011 
  • General register (A), 1864-1877 (1-248), to transcripts of wills and powers of attorney involving land transactions (includes own index) DGS 812901
I am incredibly grateful that there are two ongoing projects for digitizing Ontario Land Records and especially grateful to James F.S. Thomson for dropping by my blog to point out the great work that is underway at Family Search!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The NEW OnLand Portal: Three Ways To Get Property Details

You can now search historical land registration books online using the new OnLand site. This is great news for genealogists.

Because the website is still in the Alpha phase, genealogists have experienced confusion and frustration trying to access records. There are also lots of questions about WHAT documents can be accessed on this new portal and HOW can genealogists use it.
Source: Government of Ontario: Service By Design Playbook
Teranet, in partnership with Service Ontario, is still very much in the process of building this web portal. All that to say that things will be very fluid and frustrating initially but what a GREAT resource!

The Three Key Genealogy Records Online

To answer the questions about WHAT documents can be accessed on this new OnLand portal, so far, there are three key records available: 
  1. First Registration books which contain a list of first registrations from registry to land titles (e.g. Crown Patent or Crown plan). (See how I located my 3rd great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan's Crown Patent (1770-1860) here)
  2. Abstract/Parcel Register Book: Registry abstracts, land title parcel registers, registry and land titles condominium registers, miscellaneous abstracts containing other title information. (See how I located my 3rd great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan's Abstract Index (1770-1860) here)
  3. General Register Index which contains a Registry System index of all non-land-specific documents maintained by each Land Registry Office, including wills, letters probate, letters patent, etc. (See how I located my 3rd great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan's Will (1770-1860) here)
 HOW Do I Find A Property?

The Abstract/Parcel Register Book is the one of the key books that genealogists will want to look at in the NEW OnLand Historical Books section. Here's the conundrum:

To access these property records 
you need to know 
the township name, the lot number and the concession number, etc., etc.

From the Book Category drop-down list, you must select the type of land record you’d like to view, and once you select "Abstract/Parcel Register" you need to enter details like Concession, Plan, Section, Condo or Parcel for the Property Description?
  • Concession – a surveyed geographic which creates geographic fabric within a township
  • Plan (Plan of Subdivision) – a surveyed area of land which may create new lots, blocks, widenings and streets registered as a plan of subdivision
  • Section – a land titles filing system. A parcel and section has been assigned to each listed Land Titles ownership
  • Parcel – a quantity of land identified for abstract purposes
  • Condo – a plan creating units for each level of a condominium
If you already know this information (like I did for my 4th great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan), that's great! Happy searching!

But what if you know the street address but not the Lot and/or Plan. Worse yet, what if you have no idea what any of your ancestors property details are?

 Three Ways To Get Property Details

There are three paths to locating the property details for your research on the new OnLand portal.
  1.  If you know the street address, to determine details such as Lot, Plan, Parcel etc, follow Chris Ryan's blog post ( and read more below)
  2. If you don't know ANY details other than township, use online Historical Directories
    (see below) to locate your ancestor.
  3. If you don't know ANY details other than township, use online Historical Maps
    (see below) to locate your ancestor.
You Know Your Ancestor's Street Address Details

Genealogists who were excited about the NEW OnLand tool to view land records in Ontario but frustrated they didn’t know the “Property Details” will LOVE Chris Ryan’s (aka History Nerd) latest blog post.
"Finding the history of an urban property requires you to convert a street address into a lot and plan number and then follow the records back towards the original Crown grant. Researching small town property is a little easier since you may only be dealing with a few 100 or 200 acre farms that were broken up into parcels to create the town."
If you have the street address, Chris Ryan demonstrates on his blog post how:
  1. by registering for a FREE account at Teranet-Express (the group building this OnLand interface for the Ontario government)
  2. then typing in the street address of the Property (I.e. “50 Smith”) 
  3. you receive the legal description of the Property with details such as Lot, Plan, Parcel You can then use these details to search the Historical Books: Abstract/Parcel Register Book on OnLand
Below is an example of what Chris Ryan found out about his family’s home in Cochrane, Ontario Visit Chris' blog post for complete details at:

Source: "OnLand: A Wonderful New Tool" by Chris Ryan

You Don't Know ANY of Your Ancestor's Property Details

What if you don't have any details except that your ancestor owned some property in a particular township some time in the nineteenth century.

Starting with your ancestor's township, look for their property details in township directories or on township maps.

Using Township Directories

I actually know nothing about my 2nd great-grandfather Martin Broderick's (1831-1915) property holdings except that early census records show him living in Sandwich (later Sandwich West) (1852, 1871, 1891, and 1901 censuses) and later (1911 census) in Essex North just before he died.

Consulting the list of Ontario Online Historical Directories for Essex County I found Martin Broderick in Sandwich West

Source: Library and Archives Canada; Online Historical Directory; Essex County Gazetteer 1866-67; Page 164 (found on page 14/33 online)
This Gazetteer was organized by township, then alphabetically by surnname and the remarks to the right indicate the Concession (Con.) and then Lot (Lot) therefore, my 2nd great-grandfather Martin Broderick (1831-1915) is living at Concession 3, Lot 3 in Sandwich West (in 1866).

Using this property description in the OnLand Search for Book Category /Abstract / Parcel Register yields the following results:

When I view the details for Sandwich West, Concession 3, Lot Petite Cote 3, I find my 2nd great-grandfather Martin Broderick and learn that he was not the original patent owner and there are many transactions that follow where I recognize the names of his children in later years.

Using Township Maps

Another way of getting property details for your Ontario ancestors is by using Township Maps

McGill University: 1880 Canadian County Atlas Digital Project

Where to Find Ontario Historical Maps
How does looking for your ancestor on a historical map help? Do you remember the case of my 3rd great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan (1770-1860)?  The only item that I entered on the OnLand interface (after selecting Essex County LRO) was "296" which is the number appearing on this early township map (below) that I located at  Archives of Ontario Digitized Patent Plans (Source: AO RG 1-100-0-0-1368)

Archives of Ontario (Source: AO RG 1-100-0-0-1368)

HOW Can I Save or Print What I Find ?

Currently, on the OnLand portal (still in Alpha) there is no feature to save or print the document. Hopefully, this feature will be added in the future.

For now though, you can always take a screen shot for your records

You do this (on Windows) by pressing the CTR button and the PrtSc button at the same time and then opening a program such as Windows "Paint" and pasting it there. You can then crop the image, give it a name and then save the image to to your files. You can also print this image.

HOW Can I Get Copies of  Documents NOT YET Online?
The instrument numbers in the first column (far left) may be located digitally on Teranet Express or at the local LRO on microfilm reels.

I tried several instrument numbers from specific searches that I had undertaken in Toronto, Essex and Peel counties and I did not yields any results on the Teranet-Express Interface below. This portal is still VERY new and in alpha testing so I hope to post updates at a later date.

I have written to Ontario Lands with list of genealogy-related questions and I will update this post when I receive them.

In the meantime, if you have been actively searching the OnLand records in the past few days and if you have any tips, questions or suggestions, please leave them in the message box below.

Happy searching!