A collaborative genealogy of VanValkenburgh branches in Canada
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LAND PETITIONS of VanValkenburg/Vollick/related families, 1793-1904

A Guide for independent searching, and Links to 40+ petitions for Crown land (full images). Petitions of settlers asking to locate in Canada provide many genealogical details.

Written petitions seeking permission to settle in Canada's newly-opening frontiers, are important family history resources.  Regardless of whether land was granted "free" (as in a grant for military service), or whether a settler paid patent fees, government permission was required to "locate". 

Petitions were legal affidavits, submitted with the aid of a notarial official, with supporting letters and documentation attached.  The petitions described such details as the exact identity of the petitioner (often mentioning the father), make-up and circumstances of the family, reasons for immigration, qualification for free grants, past military service, occupation and skills, oaths of allegiance and character references. 

 Sometimes a petition was sent back for clarification or further evidence - the outer pages of each petition are a running chronology of the process. 

Three primary collections of Land Petitions are:

1) Upper Canada Land Petitions 1793-1867,
2) Lower Canada Land Petitions 1764-1841, and
3) Petitions to the Crown Lands Department 1827-1904

These collections are held either by the Library or Archives Canada or the Archives of Ontario; the petitions have been microfilmed and are available for viewing at either Archives, or through the Ontario Archive's inter-library loan program.  

As of 2012, most UCLP and LCLP's can be consulted online - first by searching a surname index, and then by locating the pdf versions of each microfilm reel.  (Instructions below)

A "Pathfinder to Petitions for Land" produced by the Ontario Archives, describes how to search these records; and further, how to continue into supplementary collections.  A Guide to Crown Land Records produced by the national Archives, describes these record-sets and many more collections in addition to petitions. 

Many petitions have already been located for VanValkenburgh and related families.  If not interested in VV's, the transcriptions show some typical wording.  Click here. 

Searching Upper Canada Land Petitions 1793-1865, RG 1 L1

In the "Pathfinder" Guide, this collection and the Lower Canada Collection, are described on the first page.  Our index of VV's, Vollicks / Follicks (and related families') link to the start pages of each petition's images online.  

To find these petitions yourself online:

1. Indexed by surname, the Upper Canada Land Petition indexes now be searched. 

2. Then, the microfilmed images of the petitions can be consulted as pdf files online - look up the Microfilm reel here.  

An example, searching the database:

Be sure to try all spelling variations and possible mis-spellings.

From each indexed record:

- the Microfilm number
- the Bundle number
- the Petition number

Find the record you wish to look-up.

An example, finding the images of the petitions:

Look up the Microfilm reel number here

Each digitized reel is @ 1000+ pages in pdf format. 

Click on the link to the microfilm and then use the page navigation bar.  Enter a page number and/or use the arrows, as shown below:


Navigate to the correct bundle and petition... in the navigation pane, enter a page number: try 100 as a start.  Click Go.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at the reference tag for the Bundle number.  In this case we have P Bundle 19 and we want P Bundle 21, so must go much further.


Navigate to a later page number, maybe page 1000, and go back and forth using page-number or arrows until you find the correct reference tag. 

Now look at the petition number which will be at the top of the page, hand-written:


In this example the petition number is 45 and we want to go to back to find petition 20.  Change the page number or use the arrows in the navigation area as shown:


Each petition is preceded by a "cover page" such as the lined page, above.  Every once in a while, an errant page is found stuck in the neighbouring petitions, so do check those.  Also, neighbouring petitions may be from members of the same family or group, i.e. sisters under their married names. 

If the reference tag is correct and the petition number is correct, you should have arrived at the record:


The first page is often a chronology of the processing of the petition, resembling an 'outer page wrapper' outlining a schedule of verifications and final decisions.  

Sometimes the final decision -  a simple "recommended" or "not recommended"- is scrawled in an obscure corner.  

If the script is difficult to read, you may consult some transcriptions for the petitions already found for VV's.

Best of luck for a productive search, and remember, we have found start pages (direct links) already for many VanVolkenburgh's, Vollicks and Follicks. 

VV Petitions in Lower Canada (Quebec) Land Petitions 1764-1841, RG 1 L3

In the "Pathfinder" Guide (see intro at top), this collection and the Upper Canada Collection, are described on the first page. In our index of VV's, Vollicks / Follicks (and related families'), the Lower Canada petitions are found at the bottom). 

To find these petitions yourself online:

Indexed by surname, the Lower Canada Land Petitions now be searched at the national archives website:

Be sure to try all spelling variations and possible mis-spellings.

Many of the listings have a "View Image" link to view the petition images online.

VV Petitions in Petitions to the Crown Lands Department 1827-1904, RG 1-54

In the "Pathfinder" Guide (see intro at top), this collection is described on the second page.  Unfortunately this collection is not online, nor is a surname index online.  However, it is possible to locate the specific microfilm that corresponds with a range of surnames, using the guide to RG 1-54 found hereIn this case, all V surnames would be in the "Turton-Walp" range located in MS 691 Reel 65.  

After finding six petitions on this reel for the VanValkenburg name, a return research trip looked at many other surnames (i.e. married names of VV females).  The Petitions to Crown Lands Dept. for VV/related Families are found here.  Please note: the RG-54 collection was known in the past (at the time of microfilming) as RG 1 C-I-1.  No petitions were found in this collection for Follick/Vollick surnames.

Where to look next?  These three collections are not the only land petitions that exist.  Also, the results of these petitions was not always clear - did the petition result in a grant of land?  And if so, did the petitioner end up taking land in the places they were recommended for?  And did the petitioner satisfy all the terms necessary to secure a patent (deed) on the land?  And what records show later sales and purchases of land?  Return to Researching Ontario Land Records for more ideas.

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