How to Obtain Historical Land Title Records by Shirley Dolan

Published June 1, 2022
Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan

On Friday evening, May 4, at the Renfrew Landowners meeting in Cobden, there was a discussion about how we could obtain our historical land registry records, back to the time when the land was deeded by the crown to the first settler. As Donna Burns (OLA Co-VP and President of the Renfrew Landowners) pointed out, many of the crown land patents were issued in the early 1800s.

I promised to provide some information on how to access the online historical land records, so here it is.

On October 13, 2020, the Ontario Government closed all land registry records to the public. Documents are now only available online from OnLand.ca.  There is no charge for looking at and downloading the historical documents. When you find the pages you want, you can have them emailed to you.

Keep in mind that the records are images of the original records, and they are often handwritten and a bit hard to read.

Here’s how to access them:

You will need the name of your Land Registration Office, your Township and your Lot and Concession Numbers. For most of those at the meeting, I suspect your land registry office (LRO) is Renfrew.

Here’s how I found my records in the Abstract Book

  1. Type OnLand.ca into your browser “enter search or web address”.
  2. Select from the LRO list drop down box. This is the name of the Land Registry Office where records for your property are kept. In your case, probably Renfrew.
  3. On the same page, select Historical Books.
  4. Select Browse all Books.
  5. Select Browse Abstract/Parcel Register Book.
  6. Select your Township from the Filter by Township/Municipality menu.
  7. The page displayed is a list of the Abstract Books for your Township. Select your Concession by clicking on View Details.
  8. The book displayed is a digitized version of information on all Lots in the Concession you selected. If the book is displayed sideways, click on the circular arrow (top left-hand side) to get it to display right-side up. You can also display the book in full screen and enlarge the image. Page numbers are listed at the bottom of the image. The Lots are listed starting at 1. To jump ahead, enter a number in the Box beside Previous. For example, if the book has 150 pages and you want to skip to the middle, type in 75 and press return. You can also page through the book by clicking on the Previous and Next buttons.

Getting a copy of the records for your Lot

To have pages from the book emailed to you, fill in your information in the top right-hand corner.

  1. Enter the first page in From and the last page in To then click on Add Range.
  2. If you need certified copies, click on Add Certified Copy for $2.00.
  3. Read the Terms of Service and click on the box for I accept Terms of Service.
  4. Click on Request Selected pages.
  5. Provide your email address and the pages will be emailed to you automatically by the system. (At least, this is how it worked for me. I did not ask for certified copies. There are likely extra steps to submit payment if you choose certified copies.)
  6. There is one last page that asks if you want to download the receipt.

There is a lot more to the system than I have described here but this should get you started on your title search.

Here is the link to the original article I wrote at the time the Land Registry Offices closed to the public www.ontariolandowners.ca/news/land-registry-offices-closing-to-the-public-by-shirley-dolan.

In closing, I want to congratulate Donna Burns and the Renfrew Landowners on an excellent meeting. I counted about 70 people in attendance. The two young gentleman who represented their parties spoke very well and I wish them the best of luck in the upcoming provincial election. They are Kade McWilliams for the Ontario Party and Thomas O’Connor for the New Blue Party. Both are running in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.

The highlight of the evening was Donna’s presentation regarding municipal authority over private property. Donna presented several examples showing how important it is to know the law and to stand up for your rights.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE OLA NEWSLETTER