How to Read Homestead Records to find the location.

Why were Canadian "Last Best West" homesteads created? "Following the enactment of the Dominion Land Acts in 1872, the Dominion Government offered homestead quarter sections—160 acres free to settlers wanting to farm within the boundaries of the Province of Manitoba after 1870, and starting in 1882 within the surveyed areas of the North West Territories. The settlers attended a Dominion Lands Office, where they were assisted by the agent to choose a quarter section, paid a $10.00 registration fee giving them the right of entry on that particular quarter section. After three years of farming this quarter section, the homesteader could apply for title. He had to prove his farming activity, prove he had resided on the land and if he was not born on Canadian soil, or in the British Isles, he had to apply for what was called “Naturalization.” In other words you had to agree to give up your foreign citizenship to become a “British Subject.” The Dominion Land Acts set out provisions and options for lands regarding 'Pre-emption', --an extra quarter section that could be purchased, usually not far from the homestead quarter, so a homesteader could increase his farming operation sooner than later." source Therese Lefebre Prince The "Office of the DOMINION LANDS" which was later named the Provincial Land Titles Office and these homestead forms are currently held at the Archives of Saskatchewan Saskatoon branch with microfilm copies at the Regina branch. that they were British subjects by birth or naturalization. Where were Saskatchewan homesteads located? When were Saskatchewan Homestead Applications Available?

Another route which a settler may persue would be to buy land from one of the many Colonization Companies. Therese Lefebre Prince, Heritage Researcher at the City of Yorkton Archives, mentions that "an example of one of these settlements is Yorkton was founded by the YORK FARMERS COLONIZATION COMPANY of Toronto in 1882. The Company set up a DOMINION LANDS OFFICE in the colony—York City".

For online searches of homesteads, use Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Archivia Net Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930 which is an online database of any homesteader who received their letter of patent for successfully proving their land. The Letter of Patent was granted by the Dominion Government of Canada, and a copy is available from National Archives.

The Saskatchewan Homestead Index Project (SHIP) is a transcription of homestead record holdings at the Provincial Archvies. The Provincial Government of Saskatchewan managed the land titles offices, and the correspondence and forms that transpired between homesteader and the provincial land titles office are available from Saskatchewan Provincial Offices. Provincial Archives may have a file on the homesteader even if the land was not proved successfully and title not granted, or if the land was a pre-emption. The Hudson's Bay Company transferred Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories to the Dominion Goverment in 1868. Even though Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, the lands and natural resources were not transferred to provincial authority until 1930. Another search engine which finds the same records as SHIP is at the Saskatchewan Archives Board > Land Records > Search for a Pre-1930 Homestead File

The ICS Centennial Site provides a database of Original Land Grants ($). "These grants were the original documents that granted Saskatchewan settlers land ownership." As well Saskatchewan Genealogical Society provides HOME (Historical Ownership Mapping Endeavour) ($) provides a CD of names, dates and locations of Dominion Land Grantees.

Any homestead records held by the Provincial Archives are also on microfilm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there are Saskatchewan homestead records, 1870-1930, and index Canada. Department of the Interior. Dominion Lands Branch (Main Author) Notes Microfilm of originals at the Saskatchewan Archives, Saskatoon. The index gives name of homesteader, location of land (section, town- ship and range) and file number. Please go to the online LDS site; "Library", and "Family History Library Catalog" for the microfilm reel numbers. Provincial archives have limited research services, and it is best to start your research at a library or by doing an online search at Archivia Net Dominion Land Grants, or come to Provincial archives in person and receive help from the archivist to direct you in your research.

The aforementioned records are coming online! Saskatchewan Provincial Records, 1879-1987 Images from Saskatchewan Archives such as homesteads, voter lists, pioneer questionnaires, biographies, military and municipal records, teacher registries, township registers, and Henderson Directories. Family History Centre Resources. The Saskatchewan Homestead Index Project (SHIP) resource or the Saskatchewan Archives Board > Land Records > Search for a Pre-1930 Homestead File to search alphabetically by surname, then return to the Family History Centre, and peruse their Saskatchewan Provincial Records, 1879-1987 online by homestead file number and date.

Many early settlers purchased their land. This could be instead of applying for a homestead patent, or it could be in addition to an existing homestead. Land could be purchased from the rail lines, colonization company, a settler who had successfully proved up their land and were now selling it off or from the Hudson Bay Company in the early 1900s. Search Glenbow Archives CPR database which shows the "Sales of agricultural land by the Canadian Pacific Railway to settlers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, 1881-1906. "

There are other web sites and maps which are online which also state the name of the original homesteader. For instance RURAL MUNICIPALITY of TURTLE RIVER No. 469 Original Homesteads Map --Surname Database of original homesteads near Edam, Vawn and St. Hippolyte and Scandinavian Canadian Land Co. Historic map. Map shows the names of settlers of 1904 and 1905 and previous. Townships 32,33,34,35 and Ranges 1,2,3,4,5,6. West of the 2nd Meridian.

Use a local history / family biography book which may have further familial information. The library online databases may help you locate such a book, if you search by subject, and enter the nearest town to the homestead. If you don't find the book at one library - try another. Saskatoon and library regions to the north contain local history books for their areas, and northern Sasktchewan. Regina and library regions to the south of the province contain locatl history books for their areas, and for southern Saskatchewan. The Sask Wheat Pool maps 1924-25, 1947-48, 1950-51, 1952-53, 1984 may help you in determining where the homestead is located, and the nearest town/s. Many of these local history/ family biography books have Cummins maps in them which were drawn in the early 1900's and show who was proving the land at the time the map was drawn up.

Cummins maps are also available from Provincial Archives. Saskatchewan Cummins Rural Directory maps are available for the years of 1917-1918, 1920, 1922, 1926 (this year is only for the area East of the Third Meridian), and 1930 (this year is for the area north of township 21). Saskatchewan Genealogy Society SGS has the Cummins Maps sorted by title and area. Each map encompasses 12 townships (6 miles x 6 miles) which is an area 18 miles East West and 24 miles North South. To see how Saskatchewan is divided into townships use the Sask Wheat Pool Maps (years: 1924-25, 1947-48, 1950-51, 1952-53, or 1984) website. The Saskatchewan maps on this site are divided into townships marked similarly as graph paper grids. These maps will help to determine which township a homestead is located within, and which Cummins maps would best show this township. In a complete legal land description {ie. SW section 24 Tsp 31 Rge 13 West of the 2nd} the {Tsp 31 and Rge 13 West of the 2nd} would define the township. The beginning notation {SW section 24} is used to define the actual farm (1/2 mile x 1/2 mile) quarter-section location within the 6 mile by 6 mile township.

Dominion Land Grant Information

Dominion Lands Policy for settlement
*---Homesteads granted to settlers were 160 acres of land, and required a $10.00 fee for the Letters Patent. Males 18 years or older could apply or a male or female head of the family. Before receiving title to the land, they had to file evidence that they were British subjects by birth or naturalization.
Proving the land
*---Settlers had to live on their homesteads for a three year period, clearing and farming some of the land and making improvements. They had an option to purchase the quarter section next to theirs as a pre-emption, by paying the market price of the time which was about $2.00 acre. Even numbered sections were reserved for homesteads and pre-emptions, while odd-numbered sections were sold.
*--Upon recieving the Dominion Land Grant patent for a quarter section, the homesteader could apply for a pre-emption. This entitled him to purchase an additional 80 acres adjacent to the homestead at the rate of one dollar per acre. [later the rate changed to three dollars per acre]Various Dominion Land Acts
*---The Dominion Government made an agreement with the Hudson Bay Company for land take over. The HBC were to receive 1\20 of fertile land so for every fifth township, all of section 8 and 3/4 of section 26 were set aside as HBC lands. The Dominion Lands Act of 1872 provided that the Company should receive all of section 8 in each township, all of section 26 in each township with a number divisible by 5, and the southern half and the northwest quarter of section 26 in all other townships. In some townships HBC land was in sections other than 8 or 26. This happened if, for example, the Dominion Government required these sections for its own purposes.
*--Provisions were made that Sections 11 and 29 of each township were school sections.
*--Railway grants gave odd numbered sections to the C.P.R. for 24 miles on either side of the railroad. Later the sale of the remaining odd numbered sections were used to build the Hudson Bay Railroad.
*--Grazing Land could be obtained for 1 cent an acre for two years and gave up to 100,000 acres.
*--The Soldier Settlement Act gave a free quarter section to veterans.
160 acres = Quarter Section = Homestead = 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile
1 acre = 4,840 square yards
1 mile = 1,760 yards
1 kilometer = 0.621 mile
6 miles = 9.65606 kilomters almost 10 kilometers (the length of one township or range)

Homestead Records and Information

1900's CNR map of the Prairie Provinces showing townships and ranges

1921 Canada Census: Place of Habitation :: Rural Municipalities

1926 Saskatchewan Souvenir Highway Map

2005 Sask. Centennial

Archivia Net Dominion Land Grants. Library and Archives Canada. Discover the Collection. Land Records. Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930

Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical Vol 1 - Chapter XII Land and Colonization By John Blue, B.A. (1924) Note very relevant for Saskatchewan history as well.

BaseLocDLS by GPS Police - map, convert and share latitude and longitude, domain land survey

Bentek Scada and Telemetry Solutions. Free DLS/LSD, BCNTS, Latitude/longitude, GPS, conversion

Canada at Scale Maps of our History

Canada's Digital Collections The Spirit and the Soil: Humboldt Settlement: Land Companies and Railways
Canada's Digital Collections The Spirit and the Soil: Humboldt Technoloty - Railway

Canadian Genealogy Center - Land
  • Land Petitions
  • Provincial Land Records
  • Land Grants to Veterans

Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, 6(1), 2014, pp 135-162ISSN 1718-9748 © University of Alberta 135
Determined to be homesteaders: A descriptive analysis of the homestead records of single women who purchased volunteer bounty land in Saskatchewan Sandra Rollings-Magnusson

Canadian Life and Scenery, with hints to intending emigrants and settlers 1886

Canadian Maps
  • Historic maps of Saskatchewan showing township, range, meridian, elevators, railways, many previous years to choose from
  • good for finding place names on a map which are not on contemporary maps -
    excellent for locating the ancestral homestead location by township, range and meridian, to see which place name was nearby to locate a local history book!
  • Historic maps of the United States of America and historical world atlas as well
  • historic SK map of "highways on the square"
  • Historic township range maps of Alberta, and Manitoba and British Columbia showing railways.

The Canadian West

Colonial and Indian exhibition, London, 1886:Canada: its history, productions and natural resources ... (Google eBook)Canada. Dept. of Agriculture
-->page 52 The Land of Canada. System of Survey. p. 54 Homesteads and Pre-emptions. p. 56 Wood for Settlers.

Descriptions of townships of the North-west Territories, between the Third and Fourth Initial Meridians. 1886. Dominion of Canada, Dept of the Interior
-->(first entry is for Township 9 Range 1, west of the third meridian. Description of soil and land followed by surveyor's name and date of record

Descriptions of townships of the North-west Territories, between the second and third Initial Meridians. 1886. Dominion of Canada, Dept of the Interior
-->(first entry is for Township 1 Range 1, west of the second meridian. Description of soil and land followed by surveyor's name and date of record

2005 Sask. Centennial - Sask. Agriculture and Food
  • Families who have operated any farm or business, or lived in the same residence, rural or urban, for 80 years or longer are eligible for the Saskatchewan Historical Recognition Registry sponsored by the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society (SHFS).

Documentum ECIS. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) partnered with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to provide a a "Federated Search Engine" Supported by the Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists (CPTA) of Canada, the federated search engine provides a database search of many different sources in one place, such as homestead records, 95 separate directories, marriage and divorce records, military records, &c.

Earthpoint Convert Coordinates Latitude, longitude variety of formats not Dominion Land Survey

Elements of A Field Book These books are searchable online for free. The surveyors field books map and describe the location of the trails, lakes, waterways, the land boundaries, and the geographical features of each measured land area. ISC

Genealogy Resources on the Internet - GENERAL USA MAILING LISTS
--Colonial America/Canadian early history MAILING LIST
--Homesteader ancestors MAILING LIST
--Land/property research and its applications in genealogy MAILING LIST

Guide Book containing information for intending settlers with illustrations ~ Canada Dept of Agriculture

Héritage Portal Dominion Lands Branch registry 480 digitized microfilm reels
"The Minister of the Interior was a cabinet post responsible for federal land management, Indian affairs and natural resources extraction. ... These numerically arranged subject files contain letters addressed to various officials of the department. They bear on every aspect of resource management, and land administration, sales and settlement. They include departmental memoranda and other relevant documents, as well as general ruling and policy files dealing with the Métis scrip commissions, Military Bounty, and North-West Mounted Police land warrants. The collection contains useful material on western settlement in general and on the settlements established by religious groups and colonization companies. ... "

Héritage Portal World War I : Veterans claim cards 9 digitized microfilm reels
"...This collection consists of veterans claims card indexes arranged alphabetically by name of claimants. The information consists of the land location number, file number and the ex-regimental number of claimant. . "

Héritage Portal Department of the Interior, Dominion Lands Branch : Métis and original White settlers affidavits 9 digitized microfilm reels
"...This collection consists of affidavits by Métis children in support of their claim to participate in the special 1.4 million-acre land grant...In each case, the affidavits give the name of the claimant, date of birth, parents' names, parish affiliation, affidavit number, and claim number. The records are filed alphabetically. . . "

History of SLSA- Saskatchewan Land Surveyors' Association

Homestead Grant Registers. nine digitized microfilm reels from the Department of the Interior.

HOME (Historical Ownership Mapping Endeavour) ($)

The Homesteads Act, 1989 Chapter H-5.1 of the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1989-90

Homestead Dominion Land Grant Information at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Map web site

Homestead Forms
--Examples of forms that may be in the provincial archives file at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Map web site

How Did Saskatchewan Pioneers Homestead?

ISC The Township System. Piece by Piece, Saskatchewan’s Land is Divided.
"Each quarter section can be divided into four legal subdivisions.Each legal subdivision is approximately 40 acres in size... A legal subdivision may be divided into four equal parts called quarter legal subdivisions, which are approximately 10 acres in area."

Lands of plenty:British North America for health, sport, and profit. A book for all travellers and settlers (Google eBook) 1879

Land Records Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Pre 1930 homestead file series (S 42)Post 1930 homestead file series (S 43)

Legal Land Description to Latitude and Longitude, GPS, UTM, NTS & MGRS (Scantek Systems Inc..) Find land in Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba) subdivided by the Dominion Land Survey (DLS) and the Alberta Township System (ATS).

Legal Land Survey - The Dominion Land Survey System - Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan

List of Lease holders in the North West Territories - Immigrants to Canada Immigration of 1887 for the west- Ranches in North West Territories

LSD Finder - legal subdivision finder - convert and map one or more -LSD (legal subdivision, also known as dominion land survey, Alberta township system) or quartersections, e.g. 4-29-024-01 W5, SW-28-13-22 W3, 4-32-14-15 W1 etc.

Maybe the Ghosts will rise again! - A look at Saskatchewan's Ghost Towns

New World Atlas 1922 Edition showing provincial electoral districts

On Campus News Prof. Emeritus compiles book on phenomenon of "Eaton's Houses"

Sask Wheat Pool 60 years-1924-25, 1947-48, 1950-51, 1952-53, 1984 maps
--Map from SWP showing ranges, townships and meridians to help locate homestead property

Measuring Land In Saskatchewan (pdf) ISC

Measuring Land in Saskatchewan The Land Survey System ISC

Ops Mobil. GPS to LSD Converter does do Dominion land survey locations if you know the legal subdivision rather than using SW, NW, BE, SE for the coordinates. The township number neads a leading 0. See the SCADALink Locator Mobile converter to see the quarter changed to legal subdivision

Original Land Grants ($).

Past and Current Land Use in Saskatchewan

Prairie Locator - Convert any Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba Legal Land Description to GPS Coordinates for free! - does not do the quarter section.

Rootsweb Message Boards - Boards > Topics > Research Resources
  • Land & Tax Records

RURAL MUNICIPALITY of TURTLE RIVER No. 469 Original Homesteads Map
--Surname Database of original homesteads near Edam, Vawn and St. Hippolyte

Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame

Saskatchewan Archives Board > Land Records > Search for a Pre-1930 Homestead FileHomestead Index

Saskatchewan Archives | Family History Research | Land Records

Saskatchewan Archives | Family History Research | Municipal Records

Saskatchewan Homestead Index Project (SHIP)

Saskatchewan Land and Property Records Family

Saskatchewan Land Titles

Saskatchewan Provincial Offices

Saskatchewan Townships & Ranges in a tutorial quiz!

Scandinavian Canadian Land Co. Historic map. Map shows the names of settlers of 1904 and 1905 and previous. Townships 32,33,34,35 and Ranges 1,2,3,4,5,6. West of the 2nd Meridian. --- in the Kamsack Gen Web Region

Search Glenbow Archives CPR database

SGS Bulletin Vol 42 No 4 December 2011 Page 80 Go West Young Man:Understanding Saskatchewan Homestead Records BY: BONNIE DAHL, Reference Archivist, Saskatchewan Archives Board

Supplement to Homestead Maps of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northern and Sourthern Alberta containing Synopsis of Regulations governing the granting of Homesteads, purchased homesteads, pre-empaions, mineral rights, grazing leases, and timber berths also Statistical information relating to Western Canada 1916.
Department of the Interior. issued from Railway Lands Branch Ottawa, Canada

To Canada and through it:with the British Association (Google eBook). 1886.
-->p. 19 The system of survey. p. 22 Regulations for the sale of C.P.R. Co.s Land Terms of Payment. Rebate

Township Coverter Dominion Land Survey to Latitude and Longitude - NOTE enter your legal land descriptions in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS like so: SE-5-1-19W3 use no spaces. Maps location onto google maps in this case south east quarter of section 5 township 1 range 19 west of the third meridian ends up north of the USA Canada border, west of Saskatchewan highway 37 south west of Climax, SK.

Visiting your Ancestor's Homestead - Planning a summer vacation?

Western Canada's Meridians ISC Measuring Land Saskatchewan

What is the history of the Dominion Land Survey System? Scantek Systems Inc..

Where were Saskatchewan homesteads located?

Why were Canadian "Last Best West" homesteads created?

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Canada's Homestead Act - Dominion Lands Act -- 1872

"...Onehundred and sixty acres of land was offered by the Dominion LandAct of 1872, to each settler who paid a filing fee of $10.00 andwho resided on the land for three years. The settler, during thattime, was required to build a domicile and to break at leastfifteen acres of his land."Source
Blue Moon Early Survey in Western Canada

Farming and Rural Life in Canada

When were Saskatchewan Homestead Applications Available?

Why were Canadian "Last Best West" homesteads created?

Top | Resources | Home

Soldier Settlement Act of 1919

Land Grants were awarded to 25,000 veteran soldier settlers.

Beginnings and Landmarks
The above link is a Handbook giving information regarding land settlement, agricultural training and loans for returned soldiers written by Soldier Settlement Board of Canada Published by Ottawa, Taché, King's Printer, 1919

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