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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Guest Genealogist Brenda Dougall Merriman Answers the Question Is a Crown Patent worth Obtaining?

Jill asked
"My question is about crown patents. I have been told that the information on a crown patent is no better than the information available in other sources, and each patent costs over $30 so it's not really worth the money."

Our Guest Genealogist Brenda Dougall Merriman answers:

Applying for a copy of a Crown patent (the Crown Land Registry is an agency of the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources) means you must provide the name of the patentee, the precise location of the property (township, concession, lot) and the date of the patent. Therefore if you already have that information, chances are you won't learn anything "new" in genealogical terms. On the other hand, many family historians want to collect copies of as much relevant material as they can about their ancestors. Patents are usually over-sized papers, issued in the name of the reigning monarch.

In fine print, they describe the rights of the patent-holder and the "conditions, limitations and restrictions" under which it issued, such as the erection of a building in the early patents when land itself was free. Later patents when Crown land was being sold, will show the purchase price---one fact that may be available elsewhere but perhaps not as accessible. In my experience, people like to order this document for its historical value, often to show the official original title. You can see that it would have great significance for properties held in the same family for many generations, or owners of century farms.

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