Monday, January 8, 2018

Part II: OnLand Records: Historical Books: Abstract / Parcel Register Book

Back in the 1980s when I started my genealogical research, I remember hanging out in the Land Registry office in Windsor to get copies of records that I was interested in about my Essex county ancestors. I was so intimidated and not sure of what was there.

Today, I am very grateful to members Cathy Armstrong and Nancy Vaillancourt (of the Simcoe and Sudbury Branch Ontario Genealogical Society respectively) who shared a link to newly published FREE searchable Ontario Land Property Records (OnLand) online

On December 18, 2017, the Ontario Land Registry announced:
"Teranet, in partnership with Service Ontario, has built this web portal to deliver key statutory services relating to land and property ownership in Ontario to land registry professionals and the public.

The first phase of the web portal offers customers the opportunity to test out the historical land registration book search and view option only. Customers will still be required to visit a land registry office to print any records. For more information on Historical Books, please click here.

We will provide an update when full search capabilities are available on OnLand in late 2018.

When fully implemented, OnLand will allow users to search historical and current property records, anywhere in the province, from the convenience of your home or office, instead of visiting a land registry office." (Source:
The Ontario Land Registry Search Page

Landing on the search page you see:

Property Titles, Documents and Writs will be added later and for now you can look through the Historical Books.

What is a Historical Book?

From the website:
"Historical books, previously only available for consultation at a Land Registry Office (LRO), contain the original paper property records registered prior to the introduction of Ontario’s electronic land registration system. These records are now available electronically through OnLand’s Historical Books Search or Browse features.

When you search in the Historical Books section, you can view the PDFs of scanned abstracts and parcel registers, a variety of indices, and first registration records. Learn more about the types of records you can obtain through the Historical Books digital library."

Historical Book Categories

These are the types of records that can be viewed by searching or browsing in Historical Books (red highlights and comments beside the records that I will write about in future posts):
  • Abstract/Parcel Register Book: Registry abstracts, land title parcel registers, registry and land titles condominium registers, miscellaneous abstracts containing other title information.
  • Power of Attorney Index
  • Condominium Corporation Index
  • Caution Index
  • General Register Index: The General Register is a Registry System index of all non-land-specific documents maintained by each Land Registry Office, including wills, letters probate, letters patent, etc. For current entries, contact ServiceOntario. The General Register Index is organized alphabetically by surname or company name.
  • Subdivision Plan Index
  • Canada Lands Index: Canada Lands indices contain plans of public lands under the Canada Lands Surveys Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Transfers of Jurisdiction and Control, Indian Reserves and National Parks. For current entries, contact ServiceOntario.
  • Retake: Retakes are rescanned pages of content from an original historical book. Learn how to search Retakes.
  • By-law Index 
  • Reference Plan Index
  • First Registration Book : First Registration books contain a list of first registrations from registry to land titles (e.g. Crown Patent or Crown plan). For current entries, contact ServiceOntario. The First Registration Books are organized by date of registration.

Part I: Historical Books: Abstract/Parcel Register Book

In this Part I, I decided to start exploring this "Abstract/ Parcel Register Book" by looking for records for my 4th great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan (1770-1860)

Matthew is my oldest known Moynahan ancestor in Ontario.  Matthew died on the 3rd of February 1860 on the farm that he had built in Essex county, Ontario.

Below is a map of some of the other early settlers of Essex county, Ontario.

Source: Source: AO RG 1-100-0-0-1368

My 4th great-grandfather Matthew Moynahan was one of several Moynahans who were settled by Col. Thomas Talbot in the late 1820s and early 1830s.

My Moynahan ancestors landholdings granted by Col. Thomas Talbot

Searching by Geographic/Property Description
I know that Matthew was located by Col. Talbot on 296 North Talbot Road, Sandwich, Ontario (to become Maidstone township later) in Essex county.

From the landing page, I selected "ESSEX,

Source: Ontario Land Registry; Historical Books;

Then I selected "Abstract/Parcel Register Book"and I selected "Concession" and then "Lot" and I entered in "296" for Matthews "296 North Talbot Road, Sandwich, Ontario"

Source: Ontario Land Registry; Historical Books;

Now I selected details for 296 North Talbot Road and I went to a 21 page book below
Source: Ontario Land Registry; Historical Books;

What Did I Find?

It was a scan of "electrostatic copies of the entries of all instruments recorded before January 30, 1981 for Lot 296 North Talbot Road, Township of Sandwich South, and that, as of the date hereof, this book is the current abstract index for the above mentioned land"

It had every transaction that had occurred on my 4th great-grandfathers Matthew Moynahan's property Lot 296 North Talbot Road from the initial patent being granted in 1846 to 1981.

Source: Ontario Land Registry; Historical Books;

Source: Ontario Land Registry; Historical Books;

Other Ontario Land Records Links 


  1. Thanks for the very detailed information and instructions but also thank you for recognizing the members of OGS who posted this originally on Social Media.

    Thanks agian

    Steve Fulton UE

  2. Thank you for your kind comments Steve and I am truly grateful for ALL the sharing that happens on social media between the members of the Ontario Genealogical Society and its many branches. I have learned a great deal from this great bunch of folks!

  3. Much appreciated to find such detailed help in using these resources. Fabulous! Thank you so much!

  4. Have you figured out how to save or print the images?

    1. The feature for printing will be available at some point in the future. For now, I have been saving records by doing a screen capture of what I can see in my browser. If you are using Windows on a laptop, you would hold the control (CTRL) key while clicking on the Print Screen (PRISC) key. Then you have to paste this into your photo program ( like Paint) and save it to your computer.

      It’s bothersome but the best we can do for now as OnLand continues to develop the portal.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. Thank you for these step by step explanations...I was able to document our family purchasing land in 1847!

    Note that if you go to the website and your searches seem to be blank, you can only access the records during their business hours.

    Also, because counties and districts have changed over time, townships may not be under the Land Registry office you expect. For example, I was looking for Manvers Township which used to be in Durham County. However, choosing Durghum Land Registry Office didn't work here. Instead, I started typing 'Manvers', and it suggested Manvers, Victoria Land Registry Office, where I did find the records.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to post these very helpful comments on my blog. I am delighted to read that you were able to document your family purchasing land in 1847 !! Thanks so much for sharing

  7. Every sort of genealogical records has been happened so that you can get some more information for the ancestors and you can really make their side more better into the time period with the help of Ontario County Property Records.

  8. Is there any information on the land parcel registry itself? I see two dates .. I assume the first one is when it happened and the second is when it was reported or made official.
    I see the crown assigning land to people on the first record and then "giving" it away to the person .. only for them to sell it immediately. Does that mean that first person listed is the government official? Crown assigns the land to the official who then assigns it out? Or was there loyalists that were acquiring land and then just giving it away ... its kind of unclear..


      Page 24... Establishment of the Land Boards .. Justice of the Peace took oaths and assigned the land.

      So when we see a Deed from the crown to someone and is then "given" away - I wonder if the first record is the crown assigning it to the individual justice of the peace to assign on behalf of the crown?? I don't know - its a stretch .. just trying to make sense of it