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 https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/442459?availability=Family%20History%20Library"

 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!

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